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New institute boon for rehabilitation

16 November 2004

New institute boon for rehabilitation practice and research

The establishment of a National Institute of Rehabilitation Research at Auckland University of Technology’s Akoranga Campus is set to advance the practice and study of rehabilitation in New Zealand.

The official opening of the Institute will be marked in conjunction with a welcome ceremony for the newly appointed Laura Fergusson Trust Chair in Rehabilitation Studies, Professor Kathryn McPherson on Thursday, 18 November 2004 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. The Minister of Health, the Honourable Annette King will speak at the event, which will be held at AUT’s Akoranga campus on the North Shore.

Hon Annette King says she believes Professor McPherson is the appropriate appointment to the Chair.

“In this new role, Professor McPherson will utilise her wide-ranging expertise, experience of working with different cultures, researchers, governmental and non-governmental organisations in this country and abroad to advance the study, practice and profile of the discipline in New Zealand.”

Professor McPherson says she would like to bring a collaborative approach to the position.

“New Zealand is a small country in terms of population and it is important that rehabilitation researchers across academic organisations cooperate with each other as well as governmental and non-governmental groups like the Laura Fergusson Trust to help provide new solutions.” The Laura Fergusson Trust, a transitional rehabilitation service that offers residential and day programmes for clients with serious, complex and long term disabilities is sponsoring the Chair in a partnership that is expected to provide a major boost to research, advancements and services for people with physical disabilities. more

AUT’s Division Head of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies Duncan Reid says the long-standing partnership between the University and the Laura Fergusson Trust will be strengthened by the establishment of the joint Chair and this will benefit the study, research and practice of rehabilitation in New Zealand.

“I anticipate a growing awareness of rehabilitation and disability issues both publicly and politically, more collaborative research into rehabilitation and greater involvement in the community as researchers get alongside providers at the coal face,” he says.

As growth areas within AUT’s Faculty of Health, Rehabilitation and Disability Studies have been identified as top priorities for further development.

Duncan Reid says the appointment of Professor McPherson and development of the National Institute of Rehabilitation Research will help the University as it continues to develop a reputation as a centre of excellence in the field.

“Professor McPherson is a widely respected rehabilitation researcher who is well published in international journals. She has worked in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom on many collaborative research projects. I believe she has the skills and personality to foster collaboration amongst practitioners and will be an advocate for the issues.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Laura Fergusson Trust Paula Polkinghorne says AUT was approached because of its leadership in promoting disability and rehabilitation perspectives in curriculum development, its emphasis on interdisciplinary study, a reputation for research and a genuine commitment to being associated with a service provider.

She says Professor McPherson possesses the right credentials for a position that will be important in raising the profile of the discipline.

“Professor McPherson brings extensive clinical, research, teaching and administrative experience including existing knowledge of the New Zealand context, proven success in stakeholder management and research funding applications, as well as international networks, a commitment to facilitation and collaboration and a preparedness to capacity build at all levels.”


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