I qualified in clinical psychology in 1977 and, since 1980, have specialised in clinical psychology with older people, and especially dementia, pursuing a combination of clinical and academic work.
My clinical psychology training in Liverpool in the 1970s was focused on radical behaviourism, with a strong emphasis on doctor-patient communication. In my first post-qualification position I worked in primary care, adult mental health, forensic, psychosexual and older adult work. I moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1980 to one of the first 'older adult' clinical psychology posts in the country. Whilst in Newcastle, I gained knowedge and experience of using cognitive behaviour therapy and completed my PhD on cognitive functioning in Parkinson’s Disease. From 1987 to 1998, I was Head of Older Adult Psychology in South Birmingham Psychology Service. I built up the specialty, establishing an innovative multi-skilled team. I had personal experience of work in physical health, mental health, primary care and community settings, conducting individual, family and group-based client work, consultation, training and project work. I pursued CPD in systemic therapy, neuropsychology and solution-focused therapy and completed a postgraduate certificate in NHS management.
Between 1996 and 2001 I split my work between Birmingham University and the NHS, including becoming Director of the multi-specialty South Birmingham Psychology Service.
In November 2001, I took up the position of Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate at the University of Birmingham, running an NHS commissioned programme with an annual intake of 25 professional doctorate trainees . I supervised over 50 doctorate theses on a range of topics connected with old age psychology, in particular on dementia and on continuing bonds following bereavement. I continued to spend 1 day per week in clinical practice and most recently contributed to the work of the Birmingham Memory Assessment and Advisory Service.
Having built up a research track record, I joined the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies as Chair in Dementia Care from January 2013 and focus on how diversity affects the way people with dementia live their lives, in relation especially to cultural diversity, age of onset of dementia and type of dementia and their impacts on coping and well-being.
ResearchMy main interests are in psychological understanding of how people living with dementia cope in the community and the influence on this of diversity, type of dementia, age of onset and culture.
Co-investigator, with Janet Carter (PI) University College London. The Angela Project: Improving diagnosis and post diagnostic support for younger people living with dementia and their caregivers. Alzheimer’s Society. £270,584. 2016 – 2019.
Co-investigator, with Mara Airoldi (PI), Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford and others at LSE. Co-designing dementia care for better value. Health Foundation. £476,254. 2015 – 2020.
Co-investigator, with Analisa Smythe (PI), Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust. Co-Reflection to improve nurse well-being and retention. Burdett Trust. 2017-2019.
Co-Director, with Murna Downs: Doctoral training centre in transition in dementia care.
Co-investigator with Linda Clare (PI), University of Exeter: GREAT-IP, Implementation of Cognitive Rehabilitation in Practice.
Co-investigator, with Penny Wright (PI) Uni of Leeds. Development of a measure of quality of life for carers. MRC. £571,127. 2015 – 2017
Co-investigator: with Claire Surr, Leeds Beckett and others at Bradford. What works in dementia education and training? DoH. £400k approx. 2014 – 2017.
Co-investigator: With Analisa Smythe (PI), Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust and others. An evaluation of a novel research-based training intervention designed to support dignity in dementia care and sustain change in professional practice in nursing homes. £200,000.
2014 – 2016. Co-investigator: With Prof Heather Gage, (PI) University of Surrey and Prof Sube Bannerjee. Support for carers of people with early onset dementia. (RHAPSODY) JPND, ESRC £201,000. 2012 – 2016.
West Midlands PI: With Linda Clare, University of Bangor (CI) and others. Goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation in early-stage dementia: multi-centre single-blind randomised controlled trial (GREAT). Funding from HTA. £1.8m approx. 2014 – 2017
Co-investigator. With Dr Carole Mockford (PI), University of Warwick. Carer and patient-led development of recommendations for people with dementia from hospital discharge to the community: understanding what is important. National Institute for Health Research: Research for Patient Benefit. 2014 – 2016