Four new Fellows inducted into the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy

Four esteemed occupational therapists were inducted today into the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy, in recognition of their distinguished contribution to the research and scholarship of their discipline. The conferment was presented today, Thursday 22 June 2023 as part of our 30th National Conference & Exhibition, held in Cairns, Queensland.  

The Research Academy was established both to recognise outstanding scholarship in the occupational therapy profession and enhance research capacity building. The conferment of a further six Fellowships at this year’s conference reflects the very high quality of research within the Australian profession.

Professor Stacey George

Professor Stacey George is one of the leading occupational therapy clinical researchers nationally. Her research expertise is both the development and translation of evidence, leading to practical changes to improve participation for people with neurological conditions, maximising health and quality of life outcomes. She completed her PhD in 2008, from which one study developed and validated the Adelaide Driving Self-Efficacy Scale, which has been translated into multiple languages and incorporated as an outcome measure in international research projects (Cited 137 times). Her work has been cited in International stroke guidelines (Virtual Reality, Telerehabilitation, Driving and Vision), and informed the National Assessing Fitness to Drive medical standards publication by Austroads and NDIS policies on funding vehicle modifications. She has been awarded over $8 million with competitive grants from the Hospital Research Foundation, Stroke Foundation and Lifetime Support Authority.

Associate Professor Jacki Liddle

A/Prof Jacki Liddle is an occupational therapist and researcher with a focus on quality of life and participation, working with older people, people with neurological conditions, people living with dementia and families. She is motivated by developing understandings and approaches that make meaningful differences in practice and in everyday lives. She promotes inclusive approaches to research – and has a particular interest in researching in partnership in areas of community mobility and participation, life transitions, and technology codesign. She began her research by wanting to improve outcomes for people who struggled with stopping driving. This led to the development of driving cessation intervention and program of research which has been adopted internationally and adapted for different populations. She researches with interdisciplinary teams including lived experience experts, clinicians, health and technology researchers at the University of Queensland and The Princess Alexandra Hospital. She is excited about the future of occupational therapy research.

Professor Kate Laver

Professor Laver’s research develops, tests, and implements interventions which aim to support older people to remain healthy, happy, and in their own homes for longer. She uses a variety of methods to achieve this, including conducting clinical trials, synthesising existing evidence, and applied translational research studies. Her work includes working in partnership with older people to ensure age-friendly housing and implementing new technologies, such as telehealth, which promote good health and social connection and reduce the need for hospitalisation. Professor Laver has expertise in post diagnostic care and rehabilitative approaches for people with dementia and support programs for families and has co-edited a book on this topic.  

Professor Rachael McDonald

Professor Rachael McDonald is a clinical, research, and teaching occupational therapist with an interest in enabling people with lifelong disabilities to participate in life situations and is the Director of the MedTechVIc Hub (the inaugural occupational therapist to do so). The MedTechVic hub is a multidisciplinary research hub which creates innovative enabling technology, products, and services, to enhance lives for people with disability, their families, and the people who support them. Professor McDonald has been well-recognised outside of the occupational therapy field for her research and technology which enables Australians with disability to achieve the goals and life-participation they wish. This has led to her research playing a key role in establishing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including being involved in early consultation meetings for OT Australia. Professor McDonald has consistently demonstrated exceptional research outputs alongside an unwavering dedication, making an enduring impact to the profession of occupational therapy. Her sustained efforts over more than 30 years have yielded impressive results, inspiring others and driving meaningful change in our field.

To learn more about the OTA Research Academy incuding previously inducted Fellows, please visit our website.

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