Building sustainable communities of practice in health and social care is the overarching theme which drives my education and research philosophy to advocate for appropriate person-centred service provision as a responsibility of the whole community. My principle research interest is to investigate health and social care system infrastructures through participatory and inclusive methodologies, towards the development of sustainable health and social care policy, implementation and service provision. My work is underpinned by equality, human rights and sustainable development perspectives.
I joined the University of Limerick in 2003 as part of the MSc Occupational Therapy (Professional Qualification) development team and have been commended for innovative approaches to teaching and learning by programme accrediting bodies. I have held a number of administrative roles in co-ordination, course directorships and course board memberships. I am also involved in the development of departmental, interfaculty and post-graduate education and research. Working in partnership with Enable Ireland, I designed and developed the first post-graduate certificate in Postural Seating and Wheelchair Mobility Across the Life Course available in the Republic of Ireland.
In 2008, I was award a Health Research Board Fellowship to complete my doctoral studies, Building a Sustainable Wheelchair and Seating Provision Community Meeting Peoples' Primary Needs Now and in the Future' (2012). The has resulted in continual research impact at both academic and societal levels, gaining national and international media coverage and recognition for research, education, political and advocacy partnership developments.
I have developed and published a sustainable community of practice (SCOP) model which acts a framework to facilitate stakeholder centred action research approaches within health and social care systems towards actionable policies to ensure best practice. Utilising SCOP, I was awarded Clinical Research Associate of the Year 2013 by Irish Medical Times Irish Healthcare Awards for a novel stakeholder-centred approach to develop sustainable healthcare support services for the rare genetic skin condition, EB (epidermolysis bullosa), in partnership with DEBRA Ireland.
I am part of the development team for SOLA Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Quality in the Community & Voluntary Sector in partnership with the Disability Federation of Ireland and Johnson & Johnson, launched November 2015, which is committed to building sustainable communities of practice and service provision with appropriate governance and sustainable quality systems within the changing social, economic and political context.
I serve as an invited member of the, Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE), World Health Organisation: Research Group; International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP): Universities and training sub-committee; European Seating Symposium (ESS) 2016 Scientific Committee and Board of Directors of Mid-West Spina Bifida Association (2015-16) and Association of Irish Powerchair Football (AIPF) (Nov 2016 - present)
Research InterestsBuilding sustainable healthcare communities by developing sustainable infrastructures in health and social care provision underpinned by human rights, sustainable development and occupational science perspectives.
The key is to develop sustainable support service strategies the meet peoples needs now and in the future, through community engagement and decision making.
I utilise mixed methods, organisational ethnography, soft systems methodology, participatory and inclusive methodologies, engaging key stakeholders for example in surveys, participant observation, interviews and workshops.
I have developed a Sustainable Community of Practice Model (SCOP). a framework which can be utilised when developing sustainable infrastructures.
My specialist research interest in the development of sustainable wheelchair and seating assistive technology provision nationally and internationally to ensure appropriate access to services, assessments, wheelchairs, maintenance and repair, education and research.
A wheelchair is a primary need and a basic human right.
- 2017 International Society of Wheelchair Professionals - University of Pittsburgh - Affiliate co-ordinator for wheelchair service provision in less resources countries for International Society of Wheelchair Professionals
- Debra Ireland - UL Researchers Identify Urgent Support Strategies for People Living with Debilitating Skin Condition http://www.ul.ie/news-centre/news/ul-researchers-identify-urgent-support-strategies-for-people-living-with-de
- 2016 Association of Irish Powerchair Football (AIPF) ,
- 2015 Midwest Spina Bifida Association,
- 2004 Education in Sustainable Development Group, Environmental Committee, University of Limerick,
Environmental Committee Subgroup Education for Sustainability: I am part of the interdisciplinary initiative for Education for Sustainable Development module, a development supported by the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). This involves Interdisciplinary teaching delivered by 10 different lecturers with expertise in varying fields across all faculties within the University of Limerick. It is now part of the broadening initiative.
- Irish Posture and Mobility Network,
- 2013 - Clinical Research Associate of the Year Irish Healthcare Awards 2013
- 2008 - Building a Sustainable Wheelchair and Seating Provision Community Meeting Peoples' Primary Needs Now and in the Future
- 2012 University of Limerick - Doctor of Philosophy
- 2000 Trinity College Dublin - M.Sc.
- 1995 Brunel University - B.Sc. (Hon.)
- 1988 Dublin Institute of Technology - Certificate
- Member, Association of Occupational Therapist of Ireland
- Member, Irish Posture and Mobility Network
- Sub committee member, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals
- Research Group member, Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE), World Health Organisation
- Scientific Committee 2016, European Seating Symposium (ESS) 2016
- Member, World Federation of Occupational Therapy.
- Government Presentations and submissions:
UL researcher delivers address at Leinster house to champion wheelchair provision in Ireland http://www.ul.ie/news-centre/news/ul-researcher-delivers-address-at-leinster-house-to-champion-wheelchair-pro
Meeting with Senator John Dolan, Leinster House 4th July 2016 http://www.ul.ie/news-centre/news/ul-research-highlights-need-for-urgent-reform-of-wheelchair-and-seating-pro
Meeting with Minister of Disability Finian McGrath Leinster house 27th October 2016. http://www.ul.ie/news-centre/news/ad-hoc-and-unwieldy-wheelchair-services-raised-with-minister/