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Helen Atkin

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Prior to joining Northumbria University, I practiced as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in neurological rehabilitation in the NHS for 17 years and held the positions of Professional Lead OT and Service User Involvement Lead. I have a particular interest in inclusive practice and have considerable experience in working with service users/ family members and staff to co-produce research, evaluation and service improvement.

I have extended my interest in this area through my doctoral studies which focused on how service users and staff assumptions in neurological rehabilitation influence experiences of inclusion and subsequently outcomes of rehabilitation.  Facilitating critical dialogue and co-production between service users and students/ health care staff is at the heart of my teaching and research.

Recovery Through Care Coordination Research Project

UK Network for Participatory Research Network 

Campus Address

Coach Lane Campus East

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Co-production in research: co-researcher perspectives on its value and challenges, Atkin, H., Wood, O., Thomson, L. Jul 2020, In: British Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • From conference conversation to research impact and practice development, Atkin, H., Otter, P. 17 Jun 2019, RCOT 2019: Inspiring, informing, involving, London, SAGE
  • The ducking stool - the benefit of disruption to practitioner thinking, Atkin, H., Cook, T. 1 Aug 2018, Royal College of Occupational Therapy Conference Book of Abstracts, SAGE
  • Participatory Research Into Inclusive Practice: Improving Services for People With Long Term Neurological Conditions, Cook, T., Atkin, H., Wilcockson, J. 29 Nov 2017, In: Forum: Qualitative Social Research
  • In-depth Analysis of Qualitative Interviews for the Deciding Together Consultation, Brandon, T., Atkin, H. 3 Apr 2016
  • Is There a Pathway to Recovery Through Care Coordination? Early Findings from an emancipatory action research project, Atkin, H., Brandon, T., Thomson, L. Jul 2014, In: The Approach Journal: Care Coordination Association
  • Executive dysfunction, Atkin, H., van Wijck, F., McBean, D. Sep 2012, Applied Neurosciences for the Allied Health Professions, London, Elsevier
  • Towards Inclusive Living: a case study of the impact of inclusive practice in neuro-rehabilitation/neuro-psychiatry services (Department of Health Policy Research Programme LTNC Reference Number 530010), Cook, T., Atkin, H., Carter, L., Mitchell, P., Moore, P., Bell, E., Bond, M., Hutchinson, C., White, A., Piggott, M., Wilson, B., Wilcockson, J., Goodall, D., Birks, E. 2011
  • Research and development capacity building in allied health: rhetoric and reality, Atkin, H., Jones, D., Smith, K., Welch, A., Dawson, P., Hargreaves, G. 2007, In: International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Participative service redesign using appreciative inquiry, Atkin, H., Lawson, S. 1 Mar 2006, In: International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation

Professional Activity

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Hosting an academic visitor: Patricia de Cunha Belchior 2022
  • Other: Service User and Carer Involvement in Occupational Therapy Education – Responding to Fast-Paced Delivery Changes During COVID-19. Occupational Therapy News. May. pp,43-44 2021
  • Other: How are people in social prescribing roles continuing to support engagement in activity for those identified as vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak? a Participatory Action Research Study 2020
  • Other: Patient and public involvement consultation group (Royal College of Occupational Therapy) 2020
  • Other: Peer reviewer British Journal of Occupational Therapy 2020
  • Oral presentation: Can Royal College of Occupational Therapy conference conversations lead to practice development and research impact? RCOT Annual Conference 2019
  • Other: Identifying the influence of involving service users in classroom based simulation activities prior to occupational therapy clinical practice placements: A mixed methods evaluation involving multiple perspectives 2019
  • Examination: PhD Personal Storytelling for Wellbeing: Form, Content and Process 2019
  • Membership of board: Royal College of Occupational Therapists (External organisation) 2019
  • Invited talk: So how do we do this together? Workshop for stroke services. 2019

PGR Supervision

Catherine Neville Coproduction of a toolkit to develop inclusive strategies for stimming by autistic adults in the workplace and education Start Date: 18/01/2021


  • Academic Studies in Education CertHE July 22 2019
  • PhD October 23 2017
  • Occupational Therapy MSc September 02 1996
  • DipCOT July 26 1982
  • Diploma College of Occupational Therapists Dip COT) 1979
  • HCPC registered

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