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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 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 current research is on 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 27 post-graduate students to completion (7 PhD and 20 MSc.)
  ACTIVITY PREFERENCES   AGE-RELATED IMPAIRMENT   Arts and health   Cancer Survivorship   Chronic Illness self-management   Continuing Professional Development   Education and Work   FALLS   Health attitudes and behaviour   Health outcomes   Higher Education   PARKINSON'S DISEASE   Primary care
 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
 Examining the impact of a social prescribing service on health and well-being of individuals living with and beyond cancer

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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
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
Poole J, Connolly D, Carandang K., Self-Management Principles Applied to Fatigue Management for a Rare Chronic Disease, Systemic Sclerosis , American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Kansas, Missouri, April 20-23, 2023, Poster, PUBLISHED
Carandang K, Poole J, Connolly D., Fatigue and activity management education for individuals with systemic sclerosis: Adaptation and feasibility study of an intervention for a rare disease, Musculoskeletal Care, 2022, p1 - 9, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Gillespie P, Hobbins A, O'Toole L, Connolly D, Boland F, Smith, S, Cost-effectiveness of an occupational therapy-led self-management support programme for multimorbidity in primary care, Family Practice, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL  Handle
Algeo N, O'Gorman A, Connolly D., Cancer Survivorship and Reintegration into Employment in Ireland, Cancer Professional, 16, (1), 2022, p32 - 35, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  Handle
Brennan, L., Sadeghi, F., O'Neill, L., Guinan, E., Smyth, L. Sheill, G., Smyth, E., Doyle, S.L., Timon, C., Connolly, D., O'Sullivan, J., Reynolds, J.V., and Hussey, J., Telehealth Delivery of a Multi-Disciplinary Rehabilitation Programme for Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancer: ReStOre@Home Feasibility Study, Cancers, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Algeo N, Bennett K, Connolly, D., Cancer Survivorship and Employment in Ireland: Legislative Systems and the Return to Work of Women with Breast Cancer', WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 71, (4), 2022, p927 - 939, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Grady M, Barrett E, Broderick J, Connolly D., The role of intermediaries in connecting community-dwelling adults to local physical activity and exercise: A scoping review protocol [version 2; peer review: 2 approved], HRB Open Research, 5, (29), 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Kiely B, Croke A, O'Shea M, Boland F, O'Shea E, Connolly D, Smith S, Effect of social prescribing link workers on health outcomes and costs for adults in primary care and community settings: a systematic review, BMJ Open, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL

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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.