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BPS updates

Congratulations to Karen Dodd, winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award

Karen Dodd has been announced as the winner of our Practice Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award for this year.

22 February 2024

Karen retired in October 2023, having spent 39 years working in the NHS with people with learning disabilities, including 33 years at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Her career saw her work as a clinician, in psychology and therapies leadership, and as co-director of the learning disabilities division, working to enhance the lives of, and improve services for, people with learning disabilities.

In recent years, her work has primarily focused on people with Down’s syndrome who are at risk of and who develop dementia, helping to develop a gold standard service within her NHS trust.

She has been a part of international collaborations in this area, and has consulted with other trusts on the development of their dementia services for people with learning disabilities.

Karen also received a grant from the Nurse Technology Fund to develop and evaluate a web-based tool for accurate assessment of mental capacity for people with learning disabilities, which has now been used for more than 3,500 assessments.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she led a major project within the trust to develop videos for people with learning disabilities and their families/carers on different aspects of understanding the pandemic and coping with associated feelings of anxiety.

On receiving the award, Karen said:

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I am deeply honoured to have been nominated for this award by my colleagues in the Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and for the BPS Practice Board in choosing me. Working with, and for, people with learning disabilities has been my passion throughout my career. It has allowed me to use all the skills I have learned in training and since, applying them creatively to develop innovative ways of working to address health inequalities and improve the lives and services for people with learning disabilities. In winning this award, I hope it inspires clinical and other applied psychologists to see what can be achieved and to choose to work with people with learning disabilities.
Karen Dodd

Alongside her work in the NHS, Karen is also a previous chair and secretary of the DCP Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities, as well as a current committee member, and has contributed to publications on topics including dementia in people with learning disabilities, physical health, and good quality services for people with intellectual disability. 

She has also been the co-chair of the National Learning Disabilities Professional Senate, bringing together the voice of professional bodies to advocate for people with learning disabilities.

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