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2023 recap: a year of growth and change

Dr Sara da Silva Ramos is Senior Research Fellow, Natalia Masztalerz is Assistant Psychologist (Outcome Measures), and Dr Rudi Coetzer is Director of Clinical Services at Brainkind.

When we said last year that “things have been very busy indeed”, we had no insight of what was to come. 2023 brought with it a lot of positive changes, as well as growth within Brainkind.

Early in the year we were finally able to resume our in-person away day for Assistant Psychologists who work in our neurological centres, rehab centres and residential care centres across the UK! We came together in Birmingham and spent the day learning about the neurobehavioural therapy approach, and how to make research work for practitioners.

In March, a number of colleagues from Brainkind’s Policy and Social Change team participated in what is one of the most important events in the calendar of researchers and practitioners in the field of brain injury: the World Congress of the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA). At the event in Dublin, Sarah Turner, Project Manager, and Stephanie Bechelet, Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury Researcher, presented Brainkind’s research on how brain injury is prevalent and affects people within the criminal justice system, and domestic abuse survivors. Two important lines of work which we continue to pursue. Keep an eye on our website for important updates in 2024.

In June we ran the second edition of Research Month, an initiative aimed at encouraging everyone to get enthusiastic about research and appreciate its value in promoting innovation and improving practice. The month culminated with a presentation to our Brainkind colleagues, where we shared our love for research, but also learned the big change that was to come, as we “rejuvenated” The Disabilities Trust into Brainkind.

After taking part in a few key events over Spring and Summer, including the NR-SIG Conference (Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Special Interest Group), which took place in Glasgow, and the CCD Symposium in Manchester, we saw the return of our flagship conference in York. The Brainkind name was publicly announced, and news of growth shared, as we prepared to welcome three new services into the fold.

From a research perspective, we were pleased to hear the keynote talks by Dr Zoe Fisher from Swansea Bay University Health Board, who shared some of her work on changing the way we approach rehabilitation after brain injury and by Professor David Sharp, from Imperial College, who told us about the most recent advances on TBI (traumatic brain injury) diagnosis and care.

As the year approaches its end, we are coming almost full circle, as we prepare to run a new edition of the Rehab Mantras initiative, make plans for the 2024 Away Day for Assistant Psychologists, eagerly await to learn more about the outcome of our colleagues’ research on domestic abuse and brain injury, and much more.

It was a good year, if a hectic one. We look forward to more growth of our research, and to seeing it become a catalyst for change.

And on that note, we would like to thank all the people we serve at Brainkind, and our colleagues, for supporting, if not sharing, our love for research, and without whom such change would not be possible.

Season’s greetings,

Sara, Natalia, and Rudi.

Dr Sara da Silva Ramos is Senior Research Fellow, Natalia Masztalerz is Assistant Psychologist (Outcome Measures), and Dr Rudi Coetzer is Director of Clinical Services at Brainkind.

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