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Professor Deirdre Connolly

Professor (Occupational Therapy)

Dr. Connolly is Professor in Occupational Therapy. She has been a member of the Discipline in Trinity College for over 20 years. Prior to joining TCD she worked as an occupational therapist in London, Australia, Canada and Ireland mainly with individuals with chronic neurological and rheumatic diseases. She worked across many health care settings including acute care, rehabilitation and primary care settings. She holds a PhD in Higher Education Research from the University of Lancaster. Her current research focuses on the prevention and management of chronic diseases including cancer survivorship. She has led multidisciplinary research teams in developing and testing occupational therapy interventions in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. Her research also includes examining social prescribing and how it can address social determinants of health and reduce health inequalities. She publishes frequently in top-ranking journals in her field, presents her research nationally and internationally, and has supervised many post-graduate students (MSC and PhD) to completion.
  ACTIVITY PREFERENCES   AGE-RELATED IMPAIRMENT   Arts and health   Cancer Survivorship   Chronic Illness self-management   Continuing Professional Development   Education and Work   Health attitudes and behaviour   Health outcomes   Higher Education   PARKINSON'S DISEASE   Primary care
 Examining the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of a Work and Cancer self-management programme to support women with breast cancer to return to work
 Identifying support needs of adolescents and young adult cancer survivors for successful return to education and/or work
 Exploration of suitability and acceptability of social prescribing for men with Prostate Cancer
 Personalised Exercise Rehabilitation in Cancer Survivorship: The PERCS Programme
 Examining the impact of Social Prescribing on health and Well-being of individuals with Chronic Diseases

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Details Date
Editorial Board Member:Annals of International Occupational Therapy 2017
Editorial Board Member: Occupational Therapy International 2009
Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland. 1996
Occupational Therapy Primary Care Advisory Group 2009
Facilitate: All Ireland network of Enquiry and Problem-Based Learning. 2008
AISHE: All Ireland Society of Higher Education 2007
Connolly H, Delimata N, Galway K, Kiely Lawler M, Mulholland J, O'Grady M, Connolly D., Exploration of Evaluation Practices in Social Prescribing Services in Ireland: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study, Healthcare, 12, (2), 2024, p219 - 229, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  Other  Other
Stapleton T., Norris L., Clancy K., O Gorman A., Bannan C., Kent B., Conlon P., Nadajaran P., Kerr C., Connolly D., Outcomes of a fatigue management intervention for people with post COVID-19 condition., American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation., 103, (5), 2024, p410 - 417, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Poole JL, Carandang K, Connolly D, Increased Confidence and Deeper Understanding of Fatigue Following Participation in Fatigue Education and Management Education in Systemic Sclerosis: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Virtual Intervention, ACR Open Rheumatology, 2024, p1 - 10, Journal Article, IN_PRESS  DOI  Other
Dures E,Farisogullari B, Santos E, Moltó A, Feldthusen c, Harris C, Elling-Audersch c, Connolly d et al., Recommendations For The Management Of Fatigue In People With Inflammatory Rheumatic And Musculoskeletal Diseases, Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, 2023, p8 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Boland L, Bennett KE, Cuffe S, Grant C, Kennedy MJ, Connolly D., Feasibility Randomised Control Trial of OptiMal: A Self-Management Intervention for Cancer Survivors, Current Oncology, 30, (12), 2023, p10195 - 10210, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Forcino RC, Rotenberg S, Morrissette KJ, Godzik CM, Lichtenstein JD, Schiffelbein JE, Stevens CJ, Sundar V, Brucker DL, Connolly D, Keysor J, Lyons KD, Exploring Acceptability of Employment Interventions to Support People Living With Cancer: Qualitative Study of Cancer Survivors, Health Care Providers, and Employers, JMIR Formative Research, 7, ( e47263), 2023, p1 - 14, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  Other  Other
King E, Algeo N, Connolly D., Feasibility of OptiMaL, a Self-Management Programme for Oesophageal Cancer Survivors, Cancer Control, 30, 2023, p1 - 13, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Sinclair, D., Savage, E., Carberry, C., Flaherty, S., Flood, B., Han, S., Conlon Heaney, C., Hussey, P., Larkin, L., Mullaney, C., O' Brien, M., & Connolly, D., Developing a standardized national undergraduate curriculum for future healthcare professionals on self-management support for chronic conditions, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 2023, p156 - 159, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Karkon S, O'Shea F, Doran M, McCormack H, Connolly D, Testing the feasibility and acceptability of an online 'Fatigue and Activity Management Education for Work (FAME-W) programme' for individuals with inflammatory arthritis, Musculoskeletal Care, 2023, p1 - 12, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Brien, A., Brennan, L., O'Neill, L, Guinan, E., Connolly, D., Reynolds, JV., and Hussey, J., Patient Experiences of a Telehealth Multidisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation Programme: Qualitative Findings from the ReStOre@Home Feasibility Study, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Connolly H, Delimata N, Galway K, Mulholland J, O'Grady M, Connolly D., Measuring Successes of Social Prescribing , Trinity College Dublin, March, 2024, p1 - 18, Notes: [Social prescribing services are expanding rapidly in Ireland. Due to the variety of services delivered in local communities for individuals with a variety of health and social needs, a range of evaluation methods are used across services. However, some uniformity across services is required. This report provides recommendations from key stakeholders involved in the delivery and funding of social prescribing services. These recommendations will guide development of a national evaluation framework for social prescribing in Ireland. ], Report, RELEASED
Connolly D, Irish Association for Cancer Research Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 24-26 March, 2021, Irish Association for Cancer Research, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Connolly D., Optmising physical and psychological health during and after cancer treatment, Oesophageal Cancer Fund Patient Education day, Dublin, Ireland, 6.10.2018, 2018, Oesophageal Cancer Fund, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Connolly D., Managing physical and psychological health during and after cancer treatment, OVARIAN CANCER PATIENT DAY , Ireland, 26th May, 2018, OvaCare, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Connolly D, O'Toole L, Boland L, Cooney C, , Impact of Well-Dance on physical and mental health of older adults in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown borough, 2016, p1 - 15, Report, PRODUCED
Connolly D., Troy M., Mannion L., Reilly E., Ryder R., Review of the Rialto Community Health Project, Dublin, 2013, 40, Notes: [The Dolphin and Fatima Community Health Projects were established in 2003, as part of the Social Regeneration Plan (Whyte, 2005) with support from the HSE Health Promotion Department and Combat Poverty Agency 'Building Healthy Communities' programme. The health projects aim to 'tackle the high rates of ill-health within the Fatima Mansions and Dolphin House estates and improve the holistic wellbeing and spirit of the community'. This project align with core goals of the Healthy Ireland National Strategy to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.], Report, COMPLETED


Award Date
Provost Teaching Excellence Award 2009
As occupational therapy focuses on how chronic diseases interfere with people's abilities to perform everyday activities, Dr Connolly's research programme is focused on developing and testing the impact of primary care-based occupational therapy interventions for people with single chronic conditions and multimorbidity. To this end, she has developed OPTIMAL, a self-management, group-based intervention aimed at increasing activity participation for people with physical and mental health-related chronic conditions. OPTIMAL, has been tested in different healthcare contexts using different methodologies, including RCT, and has shown significant changes in activity participation and symptoms of illness burden including quality of life and depression. She is now evaluating OPTIMAL for cancer survivors using an RCT design. This research is carried in an inter-institutional, cross-disciplinary capacity with national and international collaborators. Dr Connolly has also designed, delivered and evaluated FAME (Fatigue and Activity Management), a six-week programme for people with chronic inflammatory/autoimmune diseases who experience significant fatigue. FAME has been delivered and evaluated with people with rheumatic diseases with positive outcomes. Dr. Connolly's research on self-management for chronic diseases and multimorbidity is internationally relevant and highly sustainable given the rising ageing demographic and the increasing incidence of chronic disease and multimorbidity globally. Developing evidence-based interventions for chronic diseases and multimorbidity is a priority for all health services. She has presented her research at occupational therapy-specific, multidisciplinary, national and international conferences, including invited key note addresses. She supervises PhD and MSc students.