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Global Perspectives on Health and Social Care Conference

10 November 2021
Global Perspectives conference

Academics, assistive technology innovators, healthcare practitioners and managers from both sides of the Atlantic will share best practice at a free two-day virtual conference next week.

Global Perspectives on Health and Social Care, Collaborative Discussions with Northern Ireland and the U.S on November 16 – 17, is organised by North West Regional College, Northern Regional College and Ulster University, in partnership with St Petersburg College in Florida. Among the topics for consideration will be the urgent challenges facing the health and social sector, including providing healthcare for an aging population and integrating technology into healthcare.

There will be two sessions daily, each covering a different topic: November 16, 2 pm, Integrating Health Care Technology with an Aging Population; and at 4 pm, Access to Care and in the Future; November 17, 5.30 pm, Implications of the Covid Pandemic on Long Term Health; and 7.30 pm, What to Expect in Health and Social Care, with contributions from alumni of each of the participating colleges

Dr. Karen McCambridge, Curriculum Area Manager for Health and Social Care at Northern Regional College, and one of two moderators for the event, says the conference should be of interest to anyone already working in, or aspiring to work in the health and social care sector.

Dr McCambridge, who has a research interest in mental health and wellbeing for all age groups, is enthusiastic about encouraging innovative and creative ways for students to learn and progress.

“The calibre of speakers is excellent, so this is a wonderful opportunity to hear first-hand about their specialist expertise and insight. We can all learn from sharing best practice. This is a free event and I would encourage anyone with an interest in health and social care to register.”

The other moderator for the event is Will Baldwin, public health professional at St. Petersburg College who teaches in the Health Services Administration baccalaureate program and performs research on college health and homelessness.

Stephanie McGuinness, Lecturer in Health and Social Care at NWRC

Stephanie McGuinness, Lecturer in Health & Social Care, and Learning and Teaching Champion, North West Regional College added:

“We encourage everyone with an interest and passion in Health & Social Care to register for this global partnership event. The online webinars will offer international expertise from the USA and Northern Ireland on the future of Health and Social Care, and participants will have the opportunity to interact with expert contributors during a live Q&A, and learn about the dynamic areas that are emerging in our professions, particularly with consideration given to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. You can also expect to benefit from the experiences of NI FE College Graduates and Alumni on the realities of studying and working in this rewarding professional area. The event promises to be enriching and innovative for all.”

For further information on how to register for the event, log on to

Conference Speakers

Session 1, November 16 at 2 pm. Integrating Health Care Technology with the Aging Population:

Ryan Williams who is co-founder of Connected Health Ltd, one of the UK and Ireland’s fastest-growing assistive technology homecare companies. He leads the service and product innovation end of the business and has developed a range of services aimed at integrating homecare with better and more efficient hospital discharge;

Kelli Edwards has over 35 years experience working in the ageing, mental health and disability fields in Florida and she spearheaded moves to have Dunedin as the first elder ready city in Florida.

Dr William Kearns, Research Associate Professor at University of South Florida, is a mental health services researcher and inventor of solutions for persons caring for those with mild to moderate dementia.

Vonnie McWilliams, is an experienced occupational therapist who manages Northern Ireland’s first DIAL Centre (Design Innovation and Assisted Living, which is based at North West Regional College and situated in education in Derry/Londonderry – NWRC Strand Road.

Session 2, November 16 at 4 pm. Access to Care in 2021 and into the Future

Julie Darroch is a Social Work Practitioner at the Western Health and Social Care Trust with experience in adult mental health services, children’s residential units, children protection services, community and statutory services.

Jason Dunkel is the President and CEO for AdventHealth North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He previously served as VP of Operations and Business Development, overseeing the hospital’s growth activities and initiatives, as well as daily operations for cardiology, imaging, pharmacy and laboratory services.

Robert “Bob” Neri, is Senior VP and the Chief Program/Service Officer for the WestCare Foundation in Florida. He leads WestCare Foundation’s Professional Services Department, providing technical assistance and support to WestCare-affiliated organisations in the areas of innovation, accreditation, programme improvement, quality, standardisation, risk management, sustainability, and staff/program development.

Dr Sheron Brown, Executive Director of Tampa Bay Health Collaborative (TBHC), has a keen focus on bringing individuals and organisations together to work collaboratively towards health equity. Prior to joining TBHC, Dr Brown founded and operated a private health and wellness practice.

Session 3 , November 17, 5.30 pm. Implications of the COVID Pandemic on Long Term Health

Declan McAllister, Director of Registration and Corporate Services, Northern Ireland Social Care Council has overseen a digital transformation programme that has modernised the public facing register for a social care workforce of over 40,000 in Northern Ireland. He works strategically as part of the Senior Leadership to support the development of the social work and social care sectors in Northern Ireland.

Lisa Bell leads the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Community Benefit work across the 15 hospitals in the BayCare Health System; the largest health system in the Tampa Bay region. She is responsible for fiscal oversight and impact of CHNA Implementation Plans in excess of $41m annually.

Suzanne Martin is Professor of Occupational Therapy at Ulster University. Her areas of interest are innovative, and she has written 144 publications in the field. Suzanne is currently working on research in Dementia, Brain Computer Interfaces, Self Help Devices and Assistive Technology.

Jerome Marley practiced as a nurse in a number of surgical settings before becoming lecturer-practitioner in Urological Nursing. He established an online urology nursing education programmes at Ulster and is now a full time nursing lecturer at the university and is an associate editor of the International Journal of Urological Nursing.

Session 4, November 17 7:30pm. What to Expect in Health & Social Care

Former students from North West Regional College, Northern Regional College and St. Petersburg College will give their personal reflections on their career path to date.

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