2014 Highlights in UKZN’s Discipline of Occupational Therapy
* Professor Kitty Uys was appointed as the new Academic Leader for Occupational Therapy (OT).
* OT academics presented a total of 10 papers at seven international conferences in the United States, Finland, Japan, Australia, Spain and South Africa and were also at the National Occupational Therapy Conference in Cape Town where a total of 13 papers were presented by 10 staff members. The Discipline was well represented at a Rural Health Conference in Worcester in the Western Cape titled: “Building Resilience in Facing Rural Health Realities in Worcester”.
* Staff secured several grants, scholarships and were involved in capacity building initiatives. Two academics received Medical Research Council’s National Health Scholarships; one a National Research Foundation Sabbatical and Thuthuka Grants; three are currently on the MEPI-REMETH programme; one secured a Teaching and Learning Grant and another was accepted onto the SAFRI FAIMER programme.
* A total of eight papers were accepted into respected journals, with four published and four in press.
* Seven staff members were involved in writing up of two chapters which are currently under review for an international student textbook. These chapters focus on Caregiving within an African context and Refugee lessons from the field. One chapter on severe disability was also reviewed for a new edition of a textbook.
* The Discipline was visited by Professor Nathan Vytialingam of the School of Occupational Therapy at Perdana University in Malaysia; a group of academics from Virginia Commonwealth University; and Professor Rachel Thiebault of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Discipline. It is also in communication with education authorities in Zambia to assist them develop a curriculum for a new occupational therapy programme.
OT Lecturer Ms Pragashnie Naidoo said: ‘This generation of research is critical in advancing the profession of OT and in ensuring viability of the profession at large. Occupational therapy embraces research across paradigms with lecturers contributing to new theories and philosophy as well as evidence-based practice and in-depth inquiries into the experiences of the clients under our care.
‘The Discipline here at UKZN has embraced the call to become relevant and researchers have begun to contribute to the pool of knowledge both locally and internationally,’ said Naidoo.