Travel Grants

Dr Diana Dorstyn

Dr Diana Dorstyn and her research group were awarded a 2020 SCI Collaboration Grant to attend ISCoS 2020:Virtual. The group comprises:

  • Dr Diana Dorstyn, Senior Lecturer and Registered Psychologist, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Associate Professor Rachel Roberts, Registered Psychologist, Interim Head of the School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Professor Anna Chur-Hansen, Registered Psychologist, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Ms Wendy Fraser, Director of Lifestyle, Paraquad SA, Adelaide, Australia
  • Ms Sarah Kuberek, Senior Occupational Therapist, Paraquad SA, Adelaide, Australia

This research group, which includes rehabilitation psychologists, occupational therapists and a local disability service provider – the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia, has developed and pilot-tested a vocational counseling service to help job-seekers living with a spinal cord injury (SCI), access timely and targeted employment supports. They have published several papers based on their work and are keen to build on their evidence-based service model by connecting with, and learning from experienced researchers.

L-R: Diana Dorstyn, Rachel Roberts, Anna Chur-Hansen, Wendy Fraser, Sarah Kuberek

The research group share their experiences from the conference.

“Our team is grateful to the SRI for providing us the opportunity to attend the 59th International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) Annual Scientific Meeting, held as a virtual event this year. Having the pre-recorded sessions made available for 1 month after the conference was a huge advantage as this allowed us to listen to concurrent talks by leading experts in spinal rehabilitation – and there were ample to choose from!  Several instructional courses and workshops were standouts: Dr. Stanley Ducharme’s “Overcoming Adversity after Spinal Cord Injury” where discussion focused on the critical role of peer support throughout the care continuum; an Editor’s tips on “Getting Published in Spinal Cord” (note: be kind to reviewers!); the “Cochrane Rehabilitation Strategy” – their planned e-book will be invaluable to clinicians, researchers and students; and the impressive International SCI Survey with over 12,000 participants.

It was also pleasing to see local research by “In-Voc,” an early intervention vocational rehabilitation service dedicated to clients with spinal cord injury. This presentation was very relevant to our team as we are currently working on several exploratory studies examining the importance of timely, targeted counselling for job-seekers with a physical disability. Our preliminary findings are consistent with the evidence-based principles flagged at ISCoS, particularly the need to tailor employment supports to individuals’ intentions and readiness to seek work. We will certainly incorporate the lessons learnt at ISCoS in our own research and practice and are planning to present at a future meeting.”

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