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Davida Fortinsky award for Postgraduate Dementia Studies July 2013


This years Davida Fortinsky award for outstanding postgraduate Dementia Studies is awarded to Caroline Hampson

Davida Fortinsky was the mother of Richard Fortinsky, a Fulbright Scholar from the United States who spent five months in 2007 with the Bradford Dementia Group learning about how dementia care is organized in primary care and mental health trusts in England. After a full and active life, Davida passed away in February 2007 from complications associated with advanced dementia.

Davida instilled in her sons, Richard and James, and ultimately her three grandchildren, Kyle, Laura and Celia, a deep thirst for knowledge and love for learning from an early age. She was an unwavering source of support and fully engaged in their lives. Thanks primarily to her continuous positive messages about the value of higher education, all of her descendants have completed or are enrolled in university degree programs.

The Davida Fortinsky Award for Outstanding Dementia Studies Student at the University of Bradford celebrates Davida’s life by carrying on the tradition of encouraging the pursuit of knowledge, in this case to help improve the quality of lives of people with dementia and their families, wherever in the world they may live.

This year's award goes to Caroline Hampson who achieved a MSc in Dementia Studies with merit, having had her first child during the second year of the course and completing her final year dissertation whilst expecting her second baby. The School of Health Studies thinks that this is an excellent example of the kind of multi-tasking a lot of our part time students excel in.

Below is a statement from Caroline:

'I have worked in the NHS as an occupational therapist since 1999, and have spent the past 11 years working in the specialism of dementia care. I currently hold the post of Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist in East Lancashire, working with a dedicated team to provide diagnosis and treatment to people with dementia. I began the MSc in Dementia Studies in 2010, enrolling on the distance learning course. I felt that engaging in this programme of study would help me to increase my knowledge of dementia, explore ways of improving dementia services, and to better understand the experience of a person with dementia. In turn, this would inform my practice as an occupational therapist, help me to develop services locally, and to share this knowledge with my colleagues in the dementia setting.

The MSc programme was a challenging but fulfilling experience. The challenge was increased somewhat by the arrival of my daughter during my second year of study, which made finding the time for study much more difficult. However, after a few months break from study, I felt able to return to my study. Support from my family, colleagues, and my project supervisor was essential in enabling me to continue with the MSc, especially when carrying out the final year dissertation project. In addition to this, I had a steely determination to complete the programme before my second daughter was due to be born – just a few months after the submission date! Although studying was made a little more complicated by the arrival of my family, it was certainly a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.

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