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Marion Walker

Emeritus Professor in Stroke Rehabilitation / Emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator,

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Biography

Marion Walker is Emeritus Professor in Stroke Rehabilitation at the University of Nottingham. She is an Emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator, a Fellow Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and an AoEC Accredited Executive Coach.

Marion is an occupational therapist by professional background and has played a leading role in developing a research culture within her own profession. She has served as Chair of UK Stroke Forum, President of UK Society for Rehabilitation Research, Associate Director for Rehabilitation of the UK Stroke Research Network (2005-2015) and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham 2015-2018. Marion was a Trustee of the UK Stroke Association for 10 years (2009-2019). Marion was invited to deliver the Stroke Association Keynote Lecture in 2018 and remains the only person to be asked twice to deliver this prestigious lecture. Marion was Chair of the Stroke Association Research Strategy Committee (2011-2014) (2018-2019).

Marion has a strong research portfolio covering a wide area of local, national and international research projects. She is a strong advocate of patient partnership and has co-chaired the Nottingham Stroke Research Partnership Group for 10 years.

She was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Year Honours list 2012 for her service to stroke rehabilitation and stroke survivors. Marion is an international advisor for stroke and stroke rehabilitation research in Sweden, Norway and Australia and holds honorary professorial positions at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Queensland.

Expertise Summary

Marion was one of the first occupational therapists in the UK to be awarded a PhD and received a Royal College of Occupational Therapy Fellowship for pioneering a research culture within my own profession. Her work and leadership has been recognised on many occasions by my own profession, including the recipient of the Casson Memorial Lecture; awarded to inspiring and highly successful members of the profession. Marion's professional body has also cited her as one of the top ten occupational therapists in the UK. Although an occupational therapist by professional background her research expertise includes all areas of stroke rehabilitation and all stages of the stroke pathway. In 2009 she was awarded NIHR Senior Investigator status (renewed in 2012) and remain the only UK occupational therapist to hold one of these prestigious clinical academic awards. Until 2018 she was the only female to hold one of these awards at the University of Nottingham. In March 2018 she was named as Emeritus Senior Investigator. In 2012 Marion was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to stroke rehabilitation and stroke survivors. She was the Head of Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing at the University of Nottingham (2010-2015) and had the privilege of leading the largest number of academic occupational therapists worldwide. She was appointed Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham in 2015 and carried responsibility for that position until July 2018. During this leadership she successfully led the University of Nottingham bid for an Athena SWAN Silver award.

Teaching Summary

In 2020 I achieved accreditation as an AoEC Coach.

I am committed to excellence in teaching and always ensure the student experience is at the centre of all my teaching duties.

I teach on the MSc Rehabilitation Psychology Course and was course convener for the Stroke Rehabilitation module until 2020. This module is always in great demand and includes home and international students. Year on year the course student evaluation metrics demonstrate that the teaching is of the highest quality.

Until 2020 I have taught each year on the European Stroke Masters Programme. Danube University, Krems, Austria.

I helped set up a new Rehabilitation Doctoral Training Centre (the first in the School of Medicine).

Research Summary

My research expertise lies predominantly in the field of randomised controlled trials of stroke rehabilitation. This is my chosen research methodology as I believe it is the most influential in… read more

Current Research

My research expertise lies predominantly in the field of randomised controlled trials of stroke rehabilitation. This is my chosen research methodology as I believe it is the most influential in guiding clinical practice. My PhD was the largest occupational therapy randomised controlled trial of its time, which was later published as a leading article in The Lancet (impact factor 25.800). I have subsequently conducted multiple stroke rehabilitation evaluations which have greatly influenced NHS clinical care, both in the UK and abroad. My research expertise has also extended into the field of implementation research where I have written seminal papers influencing this new and innovative area of research. I have successfully led a £4 million programme of work in stroke rehabilitation implementation research incorporating four studies, bringing them all to successful completion. My research leadership and expertise has also been recognised by NIHR who have awarded me NIHR Senior Investigator status acknowledging me as one of the top 200 clinical academics (all disciplines and fields) in England. I have the highest H Index of any UK Allied Health Professional in stroke rehabilitation.

I am regarded as a world leader in my research field with my expertise regularly sought from international colleagues. I am an international advisor for stroke and stroke rehabilitation research in Sweden, Norway and Australia. In 2014 I initiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Kebangsaan Malaysia and the University of Nottingham; signed in Feb 2015 by Professor Christine Ennew the Provost of University Nottingham Malaysia Campus at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. This MOU has led to national research now covering mainland Malaysia.

I have been instrumental, and UK lead, for a number of significant international research initiatives. The most recent involved rehabilitation research across India. The ATTEND trial evaluated low-cost family-led rehabilitation across 14 sites in India demonstrating task-shifting, advocated by WHO, was not effective in reducing stroke dependency. It did however pioneer an India-wide stroke research network, gaining further funding (£1.9 million) from NIHR Global Challenge Call to further enhance research expertise.

I am currently the UK lead for rehabilitation in the European Stroke Organisation Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030. I have also shaped the development of a global stroke checklist, endorsed by the World Stroke Organisation, ensuring ongoing problems late after stroke are monitored and treated by community healthcare and rehabilitation teams.

My portfolio of research studies totals in excess of £57 million and I have published in excess of 150 peer reviewed publications.

In the summer of 2020 I was invited by the World Health Organisation to be a key speaker on an international webinar about reducing the impact of Covid-19 on stroke care and how rehabilitation is vital for stroke recovery.

Past Research

My national standing is evidenced by my leadership roles within the UK Stroke Research Network, Chairmanship of the Society for Rehabilitation Research and my appointment as Chairman of the UK Stroke Forum. The latter is particularly pertinent as this role was to lead a forum of UK stroke medical doctors, nurses, therapists and all other allied health professionals with an interest in stroke. This coalition of 22 organisations now engages over 1400 clinicians and researchers at annual conferences. During my chairmanship of UK Stroke Forum, I launched the National Stroke Strategy with the then Minister for Health Mr Alan Johnson and hosted a visit by the Duke of Kent and the Shadow Secretary of State for Health Mr Andrew Lansley. My leadership in research has also been recognised by the invitation to present the Royal Stroke Lecture in 2009 at Kensington Palace in the presence of his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. In 2010 I was invited to give the Princess Margaret Memorial Lecture. I was again asked in 2018 to deliver the UK Keynote Stroke Lecture (formally the Royal Stroke Lecture) at the Guildhall in London and remain the only person to be asked twice to deliver this prestigious lecture.

My research leadership was also sought by the only UK stroke charity (The Stroke Association) in 2013 to lead the development of a new research strategy responsible for an annual budget of £4 million. I was also instrumental in developing a renewed Stroke Association Research Strategy 2019 - 2024.

My international leadership in rehabilitation research is also evidenced by being the first non-medic to be invited to give the opening plenary lecture of the Australasian Stroke Society and in being the only UK rehabilitation representative on the writing committee of the European Stroke Guidelines. I am regularly invited to speak at International Stroke Conferences and serve as an international advisor in Norway, Sweden and Australia. I hold honorary professorial positions at the University of Queensland and the University of Gothenburg. I have initiated a memorandum of understanding between national stroke leaders in Malaysia and the University of Nottingham UK.

I have worked with NHS England and the Stroke Association and led the stroke rehabilitation workstream to deliver a National Stroke Plan in 2018-2019. I continue to Chair a Community Rehabilitation Working Group with NHS England which has developed a UK wide service specification for Community Stroke Rehabilitation. I was also the lead for research priorities in the European Stroke Organisation Action Plan for Europe (2018-2030).

Future Research

Marion is collaborating on an NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) East Midlands Infrastructure £9m funding programme from 2019 to 2024, recently handing over her Theme Lead role: Building community resilience and enabling independence (research).

Marion is leading a Milestone 6 group of stroke experts within the International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance with the key objective to define and develop the criteria for aspirational Centres of Excellence for stroke rehabilitation.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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