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Lecturer awarded research grant to lead pioneering project on housing adaptation

A senior lecturer at York St John University has been awarded funding to lead a project which will systematically review and map research relating to housing adaptation for disabled people.

Maria Parks, a senior lecturer in occupational therapy, will manage the three year project called ‘genHOME’ based in the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences at York St John University. She has been awarded a research grant from the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Housing (COTSS), supported by the UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (UKOTRF) and Pressalit Care plc.

Maria will receive £30,000 funding over three years to fund her PhD research. The project aims to review and map existing research in order to develop a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of housing adaptations and solutions for disabled people. These findings will then be used for future researchers and clinicians to use in practice. Maria will be working with occupational therapists working in the clinical area of housing and other stakeholders to create an accessible information database, and evaluate the usability of the project resources and assess their impact in practice settings.

Maria, who is Head of the Centre for Enabling Environments and Assistive Technology (CEEAT) at York St John, commented:

“I am delighted to receive recognition from the College of Occupational Therapists through this award and I am really looking forward to collaborating with experts in the field. Through my PhD this opportunity will allow me to develop a way to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of their housing interventions, something that the profession of occupational therapists has been asking for.”

She added:

“Ultimately, if occupational therapists are better at what they do through evidence based practice, service users will enjoy better outcomes of their services.”

Prior to her academic position at York St John, Maria worked as a senior practitioner in housing adaptation services. She currently leads on the UK’s first specialist housing pathway MSc in Health and Social Care at York St John University. Through CEEAT, Maria has established York St John’s first Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with City of York Council, which is developing an evidence based Re-ablement service within adult social services.

For more information about the genHOME project and to express an interest in contributing to the project, please email genhome@yorksj.ac.uk

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk