A 'Hub' is created where a number of individuals from one institution, establishment or patient group wish to link together to act as #WhyWeDoResearch Ambassadors. If you would like to create a #WhyWeDoResearch hub, please contact @ClaireW_UK or @keeling_michael
The hub consists of four colleagues, Deborah Harrison, Dr Niamh Kennedy, Dr Nicola Handcock and Dr Kath Mares. You can read about our interests and passions in the individual blogs. All of us want to make a difference to global health challenges in various ways; doing research, publishing findings, creating new treatments and interventions and inspiring new generations of healthcare professionals to love research as much as we do.
We will involve more colleagues and PhD students over the next few weeks and months, look out for us on Twitter @UEA_Health
Happy birthday #whywedoresearch!
Lecturer in Physiotherapy, Acquired Brain injury Rehabilitation Alliance, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia
I finished my PhD in 2013 (Yes, you can do it. You should do it. I did it. Contact me…..), having fulfilled my other ambition to become a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at UEA in 2012. It isn’t always easy to balance the demands of a busy Faculty, the research activity, writing papers and grants and teaching and supporting students (that’s the “understatement of the year” section complete) but I would not change my career pathway for anything. To have had the privilege of working hands-on with people with stroke every day, progressing from junior physiotherapist to team leader, then to use that knowledge as a platform for working with one of the next (nay, the best!) stroke rehabilitation research teams in the world has been fantastic, as well as an enormous responsibility which drives my ambition to help enhance lives even more.
….(and I do have a personal life, promise….I love living in rural Norfolk; walking, running, reading, being with my lovely family and generally trying to embody a healthy lifestyle, another responsibility we health professionals have!)
Follow me on Twitter @NicolaJHancock
Lecturer in Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia
I am now involved in a project with the clinical therapy stroke team in Norfolk to develop and app (a mobile application for a phone or table for those who are unsure what this is). The app is designed so that the therapists prescribing the exercises can upload these to and so provide better demonstration and instruction of an individual’s exercise programme. This trial is in its early stages and we will only be testing it with people in hospital and under the care of the Early Supported Discharge team now but we have great hopes of developing a much bigger resource that will allow two-way communication between the therapist and their patient. In the long term this may prevent some of the travel that service users have to carry out to see their therapists.
I have also been involved in other projects where we are trying to develop innovative devices to help facilitate movement recovery and make it fun! One of these projects was again a fantastic experience bringing together service users, clinicians, software developers and researchers. We started with an idea and a blank canvas and ended up with a prototype ankle rehabilitation device which uses ankle movement to play games on a TV screen. We are now in the process of seeking funding for prototype 2. It’s been a steep but exciting learning curve using my research knowledge to help shape the development of new and innovative rehabilitation devices and the sky is the limit!
Follow me on Twitter @Kath1872
Dr Niamh Kennedy
Lecturer in Rehabilitation Neuroscience, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia
I work as part of the ABIRA– Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Alliance team. ABIRA works to enhance the benefits of rehabilitation by (a) facilitating implementation of research findings into practice and (b) undertaking primary research to add new knowledge. Members of ABIRA are drawn from academic, NHS and independent sector settings around Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. ABIRA’s purpose is to link research and clinical practice to optimise the benefits of rehabilitation for people who have sustained a brain injury through disease or trauma. I am involved in research to better help us understand the brain and its impact on recovery.
See more on ABIRAs work at http://www.abira.ac.uk/ or @ABIRAgroup
Follow me on Twitter @dr_niamh
Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia
I teach qualitative research to students who are studying on our pre-registration programmes in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy at both undergraduate and Masters level. I enjoy facilitating their curiosity about what helps people and what doesn’t. I like to push them to be really critical about what they read in research papers. I also supervise student dissertations in my main areas of interest, mental health, combat injury and occupational science. I often remind students that although we might observe that certain interventions have benefit, what we don’t know is whether people would have improved anyway over time, or whether something else would have worked more effectively. We can’t spend vital public funding on interventions just because we think they help.
In 2015 I received a UEA Community Engagement Award for my voluntary work with military charities providing free consultancy on digital media and occupational therapy. I currently work with The Baton; supporting the military family - www.thebaton.co.uk and Surf Action; providing evidence-based interventions for people who have served in the Armed Forces and their families - www.surfaction.co.uk. We need much more research to help us to understand what really works to support people who have served in the Armed Forces, particularly people living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There’s a lot of charities and organisations that mean well and they are providing opportunities for people to participate in wonderful activities, but we don’t really know, especially in the long term, if this funding is being spent wisely.
Why I teach research; to inspire the next generation of healthcare professions to be the very best evidence-based practitioners.
Why I do research; to ensure that people who have served their country get the very best help and support to have a good life free from the trauma of combat.
Follow me on Twitter @DebbiiHarrison