Our 5 finalists for the Inaugural Amy Geach Hand Therapy Innovation Award for 2014!

It’s almost time for the inaugural Amy Geach Hand Therapy Innovation Award for 2014.  This award is a celebration of initiatives in the hand therapy industry that contribute to the development of the profession, through enhancement of patient and service management. Innovation is fantastic in allied health and should be encouraged and rewarded. Innovation refers to the renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. This could include implementing new ideas or creating dynamic products to improve or grow existing services. Innovation is something we are always excited about at Maida Learning, as it can be a catalyst for the growth and success of the allied health professionals in Australia. This award will recognise the diverse ways that hand therapists contribute to the ongoing development of hand therapy nationwide.  Who are our finalists?

Last year we called for nominations to be made online for the award process. Five applications were received and due to their contribution to the profession were all considered worthy finalists in this inaugural award.  We thank our three amazing judges this year:

Angela Lockwood, an occupational therapist from Queensland who is herself innovative in the development of her brand angelalockwood.com.au;

Monica McInnes from Jammedia in Wagga Wagga who knows what it takes to launch and nurture new incentives;

and Jane Skeen who heads the communications portfolio for the Australian Hand Therapy Association and is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to others in the hand therapy industry.

With the award being presented to the final winner on Sunday, 12 October 2014 at the National Australian Hand Therapy Association Annual Conference held on the Gold Coast, it is with much excitement that I share with you our current five finalists.  Here are the 2014 finalists in random order:

Julie Condon:

Julie has developed a student learning program that enables her workplace to provide an invaluable placement occupational therapy university students and which also enables the student to be a contributing member of the team. Through this initiative, Helping Hands Clinic in Townsville engages students in the workplace full-time.

Emilie Myers:

Emilie has organised 15 orthopaedic outreach and surgery trips to Fiji which has seen the quality of hand therapy significantly improved in the local hospital providing ongoing mentorship to therapists in Fiji. The outreach program provides a chance for colleagues to experience great rewards that volunteering can bring, and an opportunity to develop hand therapy outside the scope of one’s own clinical services.

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Occupational Therapy Department:

The OT department at the Royal Children’s Hospital has developed an online resource called the Occupational Therapy Hands E-learning Package (OTHELP).  The package aims to provide a new source of education for therapists interested in, or treating paediatric patients with hand and upper limb conditions. Educational PowerPoint presentations and videos aim to capture key aspects of OT intervention.

Ballarat Hand Therapy:

Ballarat Hand Therapy have developed a unique business structure where therapists work under one banner of hand therapy but have their own unique business enterprises. They present themselves to referring communities as a single team and share resources providing an exciting and simple way of people moving into the private practice area of hand therapy.

Carmel Bain:

Carmel developed the Rehab Minder app which is a mobile therapy assistant designed to increase compliance to therapy and provide an additional resource for hand therapists engaging with patients. The Rehab Minder app allows therapists to create an injury profile and select exercises from a least relevant to that injury or from a database of upper limb exercises.

I dearly thank the Australian Hand Therapy Association for their fantastic support of this award including their monetary contribution towards the prize for the final winner. Again, I think our three judges for this year who read through all the applications to decide on the winner. I look forward to announcing the 2014 Inaugural Amy Geach Hand Therapy Innovation Award winner in two weeks! I am very excited!

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Leadership, Innovation


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