OT head Bundy named inaugural fellow of Australian research academy

Anita Bundy, head of Colorado State University’s Department of Occupational Therapy, has been named one of only 15 inaugural fellows of the new Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy.

Bundy was chair of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney in Australia for 13 years beginning in 2002, after spending a decade as an OT faculty member at CSU. She returned to CSU in January 2016 after making a significant impact on the field in Australia.Anita Bundy

“What particularly stands out for me is the enormous shift in research culture that Anita led within the occupational therapy discipline at the University of Sydney,” said Nicola Hancock, one of Bundy’s former Ph.D. students. “Anita created an environment of shared learning, collaboration and support. She has the amazing capacity to steer you just enough to find your own questions, your own voice, your own answers and, ultimately, your own academic and research confidence. How lucky I was to experience and benefit from her supervision and mentorship.”

‘Fitting recognition’

Another of Bundy’s former Ph.D. students agreed.

“Anita helped me to find my scholarly wings, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her,” Kim Bulkeley said. “The receipt of this award is a fitting recognition of the significant contribution Anita has made to occupational therapy research in Australia.”

Occupational Therapy Australia CEO Rachel Norris said the inaugural fellows, who were selected by a group of international assessors, have collectively achieved outstanding results.

“They have written more than 3,000 publications, mentored more than 800 post-graduate research students, and successfully obtained more than 500 grants that collectively equate to obtaining and managing more than $173 million in research funding,” Norris said.

About the academy

The new academy, launched in July at the Occupational Therapy Australia’s (OTA) 27th National Conference and Exhibition, was created to further understanding of how people can improve the state of their health by doing everyday things that give them a sense of achievement, connection and meaning. The academy will support and recognize quality research aimed at further improving the well-being of Australians through the delivery of quality, evidence-based occupational therapy.

“Australian occupational therapists conduct some of the most highly regarded research in the profession worldwide,” Bundy said. “Being inducted as an inaugural member of the Australian Occupational Therapy Research Academy is a tremendous honor.”

OTA Research Foundation Chair Gail Whiteford, who oversaw the creation of the academy, explained that Australia’s world-class occupational therapy researchers have helped increase understanding of the important relationship between doing, meaning and well-being at all stages of life, for people of all backgrounds and ability levels.

“At a time when more and more Australians are living with chronic conditions, when more and more people are living in institutions or are socially isolated, focusing on personally and culturally meaningful activities and occupations is very important,” Whiteford said. “This is because it can be a powerful means of enhancing health and building social connections. That’s why occupational therapists have such an important role to play in our communities.”

The Department of Occupational Therapy is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.