Natasha A. Lannin, PhD, BSc(OT), GradDip
Dr. Lannin holds a joint research-only position with Alfred Health (Melbourne) and La Trobe University, and is an honorary Research Fellow at the John Walsh Institute for Rehabilitation Research at The University of Sydney, the George Institute for Global Health and the Florey Institute of Neurosciences and Mental Health. Working within the Alfred Health hospital network, she conducts clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions as well as translation research into improving the long-term outcomes for those living with an acquired brain injury from stroke or traumatic causes. Dr. Lannin is a supervisor of higher research degree students (PhD and Master's). She has published widely in leading journals such as Stroke, Journal of Epidemiology, and Clinical Rehabilitation, and has received competitive research grants from federal government (including NHMRC), state government (including the Transport Accident Commission) and philanthropic organizations (including the National Stroke Foundation).
Read more about Dr. Lannin on her webpage.
Q and A
Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Dedicated, honest, passionate.
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
At the heart of my research is the goal to increase the efficacy of what occupational therapists do every day with inpatients in rehabilitation, a belief that every patient deserves to receive the most effective services and treatment; the right treatment at the right time. So, I hope to make a difference by defining best practice, by conducting systematic reviews and running clinical trials; as well as conducting mixed methods and epidemiological studies designed to provide greater understanding of the issues as well as the prevalence of the problems, their impact on being able to perform everyday activities and how to best support independence and quality of life after neurological damage. And, most importantly, from seeing these findings translated across into the clinical rehabilitation of adults after brain injury and stroke.
What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Focus on one area and think carefully about the big issues in that area. You will need to keep coming back to these issues, and try not to sidetracked. Really good ideas translate to good research if they are grounded in real clinical issues, and as a researcher you can make instrumental changes to clinical practice if you remain focused on the issues that you are most passionate about.
Beside your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
Determining the cost-effectiveness of occupational therapy- we have the beginnings of this information in some areas of practice, but our cost-effectiveness is not yet universally known.
Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
The role of advocate. My mentors have not only provided advice and support to me directly, they have advocated for me to others which has led to some amazing opportunities for me. In many ways, they have been just as dedicated to my success, as they have their own.
Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work:
What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most rewarding has been the opportunity to co-design programs and research with consumers, this is what keeps me going. The thought that the work we do is really, really important to the people who I work with.
Lannin, N., Carr, B., Allaous, J., Mackenzie, B., Falcon, A., & Tate, R (2014). A randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of handheld computers for improving everyday memory functioning in patients with memory impairments after acquired brain injury. Clinical Rehabilitation, 28(5), 470–481.
Lannin, N. A., Cusick, A., McCluskey, A., & Herbert, R. D (2007). Effects of Splinting on Wrist Contracture after Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Stroke. 38, 111-116.
Laver, K., Lannin, N. A., Bragge, P., Hunter, P., Holland, A., E., Tavender, E., O’Connor, D., Khan, F., Teasell, R., & Gruen Laver, R et al (2014). Organising health care services for people with an acquired brain injury: an overview of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials. BMC Health Services Research, 14, 397.
Gonçalves-Bradley, D.C., Lannin, N.A., Clemson, L.M., Cameron, I.D., & Shepperd, S (2016). Discharge planning from hospital. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1. Art. No.: CD000313.