Research within the School of Allied Health is organized under two themes – Health Services Research and Population Health Research and is directly aligned with the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences Research themes and the UL Health Research Institute. A cross-cutting feature of our research is its multidisciplinary and inter-professional focus incorporating the disciplines of Nutrition and Dietetics Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy. Collaborations with patient and community groups and allied health professionals' communities of practice enable high-quality, impactful research outputs.
Our research continues to grow. This can be seen in our international reach which now extends to 85 organisations in 21 countries. During 2017 members of the department published over 30 papers (data to Sept 2017), 50% of which were in first quartile peer-reviewed journals. Currently, there are 23 PhD and 4 Masters by research students registered in the Department and a growing number of research staff including 6 post-doctoral research fellows and 4 research assistants contributing to the Department’s growing research profile. We continue to be very successful in achieving funding from national agencies with over €600,000 awarded from national funders including the HRB in 2016.
POPULATION HEALTH RESEARCH
Our Population Health research groups are; Musculoskeletal Health, Acquired Neurological Conditions Integrated Research, Speech, Language and Communication Needs, and Long-Term Conditions. These research groups adopt a patient and public involvement approach, to discover the needs and develop matching interventions for a wide range of populations across primary, secondary and tertiary care.
HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH
Our research in this area is focused in two key groups; Health Service Delivery and Education, and Social Science Informed Analysis of Practice. Working with stakeholders across the health and social care sectors, these groups aim to understand and address the challenges in health service delivery.
Musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs) are the primary cause of work absence in Ireland with an estimated direct cost to the economy of €750 million (Arthritis Ireland 2009). The management of MSCs focuses on keeping people at work and participating in society. Management of MSCs is often hindered by beliefs and practices of healthcare professionals and the public, which are not in line with best evidence. MSC researchers in University of Limerick’s School of Allied Health have had a direct impact on the management of MSCs by influencing (1) healthcare policy, (2) healthcare practice and (3) public perceptions about MSCs. Please click here for further information
Twenty years ago people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) were advised to “take it easy”. Today, there is a growing body of evidence showing that exercise is beneficial for a number of key symptoms like walking and fatigue. The MS research team at University of Limerick is making significant contributions to this U-turn and the team’s research has had direct positive impacts on the health of thousands of people, and on clinical practice and national programmes of care.