Friday, 16 May 2014

Gail and Mark head to California to visit Florence Clark and colleagues

Gail Mountain has just returned to Sheffield from a week long trip to the USA. Gail together with Mark Hawley from University of Sheffield and Gill Windle from the University of Bangor were invited to visit the University of Southern California, Los Angeles at the invitation of Professor Florence Clark. This invitation followed the successful visit to Sheffield by Dr Clark and her colleague Dr Stacey Schepens in 2012. The purpose of the US visit was to share work with the Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science at USC and in particular the progress made with the MRC funded Lifestyle Matters programme of research, which is modeled on the well reported Lifestyle Redesign studies led by Dr Clark for two decades. Gail and Gill gave a presentation to faculty staff on Lifestyle Matters.  Mark and Gail were also asked to talk about their research into assistive technologies and Mark was able to visit another research department in USC which specialises in innovative technology development.  

 It was fascinating to visit such a well resourced and well motivated department where there are excellent links with practice and where there is a significant group of research occupational therapists at various stages in their careers. The Lifestyle Redesign ‘incubator’, situated in the adjacent hospital where new programmes are designed and tested in practice and then, if successful delivered, was a great insight into how this intervention has been allowed to flourish. The two day visit was very beneficial and hopefully the collaboration will continue.  

Distant view of the Hollywood sign
After the two day visit Gail took a day off to visit the Los Angeles sights including the Avenue of the Stars, Hollywood and Sunset Strip before moving on to Philadelphia to take part in the annual Occupational Therapy summit of Scholars at Jefferson University.  This opportunity was also at the invitation of Dr Clark who is one of the organising committee. This conference has been introduced to enable research occupational therapists to share their work in a focused event was a great opportunity to hear about the research being conducted across the US and for Gail to present the Lifestyle Matters and NIHR funded Valuing Active Life in Dementia (VALID) studies to this audience. It was a great opportunity to personally meet much quoted academics from the US and also hear about the challenges of working in this country –interesting to consider how the issues of obtaining funding for research into participation and the other interests of a small professional are global!

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