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Professor Mary Larkin

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Professional biography

I am Professor of Care, carers and caring. My research interests are primarily: carers and carng, adult social care, knowledge exchange, and the life course approach to health and well-being. I regularly lead on funded projects and undertake (national and international), consultancies, mentoring, Advisory posts, Research Fellowships and Commission Panel memberships around these areas; publish widely; am a member of. a number of national and international (professional, government and public) bodies; have extensive networks; carry out PhD supervision and examination; and am often invited to give presentations about my work. Over the past few years I has been committed to maximising the potential of the existing carer-related knowledge and evidence base to inform policy, services and interventions to support carers. To this end I set up an international carers research collaborative network; co-founded the International Journal of Care and Caring (IJCC) (for which I am also Reviews Editor); co-produced the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) ‘Carers’ hub’. ( https://www.scie.org.uk/carers/knowledge-review)and set up a Carer-related knowledge Exchange Network (CAREN) (www.open.ac.uk/caren)).

Within the OU, I have established and chair the Care and Caring network @OU (http://intranet6.open.ac.uk/staff/ou-caring-network/). Through this network, I have spearheaded significant institutional changes for student carer and staff support.  Notable achievements are  the first ever Carer scholarship scheme to mark the OU’s 50th anniversary (http://business-school.open.ac.uk/news/open-university-launches-scholarship-fund-to-support-carers); Student carers packs;a Sutdent carer policy;  the OU’s Carer Positive employer award;  the  OU’s membership of Employers for Carers; and an OU Dependants and Carers policy. These all contributed to the OU being a runner up in the Guardian University Awards 2020. The network’s Carer research group, that I also established and lead, uniquely enhances the OU’s research portfolio, enables the OU to respond to carer’s prioritisation within policy and research and undertakes scholarship that informs support and retention of student carers.  

My current teaching responsibilities include  Deputy Module Chair for Introducing Health and Social care (K102) and authoring on Leadership and management in health and social care (K318).

Research interests

My research interests are: carers, caring, knowledge exchange, student carers, adult social care, former carers,  personalisation, carer and service user empowerment, the third sector and the life course approach to health and well-being. Current activities include:

  • Chairing the Care and Caring Network@OU : this network is the first of its kind in a UK HEI. Membership is open to anyone employed by the OU. Comprising 3 groups (each with their own chair) this network encourages knowledge exchange around care; carer research; provision of information, advice and guidance in carer-related policy; and promotes carers rights and carer-related policy development within the OU. 

  • Reviews Editor and Associate Editor Board for the International Journal of Care and Caring

  • Principal Investigator for a series of Scholarship Studies informing further developments in the support and retention of students who are carers. The current one is entitled '“Developing ‘good’ support for student carers: a cross university study”.

  • Management and development (in consultation with its international management team) of the Carer–related research and evidence exchange network’ (CAREN)(www.open.ac.uk/caren): a freely accessible network based on an independent, searchable database of carer-related research and evidence for use by stakeholders across the world. This network has significant implications in terms of improving the lives of the ever-increasing number of carers across the world by utilising existing information much more effectively

  • PhD supervisor for a student on the "The lived experiences and psychosocial needs of carers of people with type 2 diabetes”

  • Member of the NICE Guideline Committee – Provision of support for adult carers

  • Member of NHS England Commitment to Carers Oversight Group

  • Book proposal, book, research proposal and journal paper reviewer

Teaching interests

K102: Introducing Health and Social care

K313: Leadership and management in health and social care

K242: Ageing Societies and Global Health

K101: Introduction to Health and Social care

K323: Investigating health and social care

K313: Leadership and management in health and social care

K217: Adult health, social care and wellbeing

K219: Critical issues in health and wellbeing

K213: Health and illness

Caring counts in the workplace

Impact and engagement

Membership or offices held in learned societies and professional bodies

2016-18: National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research

2011-14: Honorary Research Fellow – Third Sector Research Centre

 

Membership of Government or other public committees

2020 - Appointed as Member of the Ministerial COVID-19 Adult Social Care Taskforce (to implement the Government’s COVID-19 Adult Social Care Plan

2019 - Appointed as Member of the Ministerial Carers Action Plan Oversight Group

2017- 20 Appointed as Member NICE Guideline Committee – Provision of support for adult carers

2017-  Appointed as Member of NHS England Commitment to Carers Oversight Group

2016-17: Appointed as Member of the cross-Government Independent Advisory Group on Carers

2016: Chair, Research and Evidence Task and Finish Group, Standing Commission on Carers

2016: Commission Panel member - Carers Trust ‘Care Act 2014 for Carers One Year On’

2015-16: Appointed as Member of the cross-Government Standing Commission on Carers

2015-16: Member of the Department of Health’s National Carers Strategy Reference Group

 Consultancies

2020: Advisor to the Cabinet office on post COVID-19 interventions for carers

2018: Advisor to Behavioural Science team in the Department for Work and Pensions on the Carers Employment Digital Discovery project

2018: Department of Health and Social care - forthcoming Green Paper on Care and Support for Older People

2017: Government Office for Science - Informal care expert group

2017: Development of the ‘business case’ for enhanced carer support - NHS England 

2013-14 : Development of a ‘Carers Hub’ - Royal College of General Practitioners

2012-8: Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) Co-production Network

2011-14: Advisor to the Finnish Government on the development of a Finnish National Carers Strategy - Finnish Association of Caregiving Relatives and Friends

2008-09: Devising one of the seven modules in the Department of Health’s “Caring with confidence” programme (2008-2011)

 

Membership of Project Advisory Groups

2014-16: Department of Education’s “The lives of young carers” project

2012-3: 2 SCIE Guides - GP services for older people: A guide for care home managers” and “Dying well at home: the case for integrated working

2008-10: European Social Fund project “Driving change in welfare services for the  

 aged”

 

Academic editorial work

2016: Associate Editor and Editorial Board member, International Journal of Care and Caring

2016 - Reviews Editor, International Journal of Care and Caring  

On-going: Book proposal reviewer for Sage Publications, McGraw-Hill, OUP, Routledge and Pearsons Textbooks

Reviewer for: Ageing and Society, British Journal of Social Work, British Medical Journal, Health and Social Care in the Community (awarded Reviewer certificate in 2018), Journal of Health Services Research and Policy. Journal of Public Policy, Journal of Social Policy and Society, People, Journal of Social Work in Health Care, Place and Policy, Quality in Ageing and Older Adults (2016 Outstanding Reviewer Award), Sage Open, European Journal of Social Work, Community Work and Family

Book reviewer for Journal of Social Policy and Policy Press

Proposal Reviewer for Economic and Social Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, School for Social Care Research, the Irish Research Council, Dunhill Medical Trust and HRB Open Research

Social Care Elf and Mental Elf blogger/contributor

 

External examining

2020: PhD Examiner, University of London

2020: PhD Examiner, University of East Anglia 

2017: PhD Examiner, Nottingham University

2015: PhD Examiner, Nottingham University

2015: PhD Examiner, Kingston University (Chair)

2014: PhD Examiner, St George’s, University of London

2013-5: Undergraduate External Examiner, The Open University

2008-12: Undergraduate External Examiner, Birmingham City University

July 2007: External member of validation panel for BSc Health and Well-being, Birmingham City University

External collaborations

Carers MK Diabetes UK

Carers Trust

Carers UK

Carers MK

CLASP (Leicester)

Department of Health and Social care

Employers for carers

NHS England

NHS Commitment to Carers programme.

National Institute for Health and Care Evidence

Social Care Institute for Excellence

The University of Newcastle (UON) New South Wales, Australia

Carers New South Wales, Australia

Southern Services Reform Group, Adelaide, Australia

Care Alliance (Ireland)

Family Carers Ireland

Family Carers Research Forum

Laurea University, Finland

Eurocarers

Swedish Family Care Competence Centre, Sweden

Canadian Home Care Association

Careum Foundation, Switzerland

Carers Japan

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, UC Davis USA

American Association of Retired Persons AARP

 

Externally funded projects

Exemplar models identification and support of older Carers and Carers of people with dementia
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 May 201731 Jan 2018NHS (National Health Service)

The project will work with system and voluntary sector partners to identify exemplar models identification and support of older Carers and Carers of people with dementia.

Carers Knowledge Exchange Resource
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Mar 201630 Jun 2017SSCR NIHR School for Social Care Research

The primary focus of this timely 16 month project is a comprehensive scoping review of carer-related knowledge. The review will have two complementary purposes. One is to provide a unique mapping of carer-related evidence and knowledge, extending understanding about the nature of ‘what is known’ and building on existing foundations for research and knowledge exchange. The scoping review will be academically robust and detailed; its findings will be widely disseminated and offered in a number of formats. It will also contribute to the identification of future research priorities relating to carers and inform social care practice. The second purpose of the scoping review is that it will underpin a freely available digitalised resource developed in partnership with, and hosted and updated by, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). This sustainable resource will be for use by commissioners, care workers, social workers, carers’ organisations, carers support workers, carers and service users. It will play an essential role in meeting the Care Act 2014 information and knowledge exchange requirements and support quality social care practice with carers and those for whom they care.