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Wound expert appointed professor

Karen Ousey

Tue, 24 May 2016 14:48:00 BST

“…it is all about preventing skin damage in people who may be at risk…”

1st International Conference MEDICAL advances are leading to increases in average life expectancy, but one result of the ageing population is a parallel rise in levels of serious skin damage, caused by conditions such as pressure ulcers.  This is one the developments that has led to the appointment of Karen Ousey as Professor of Skin Integrity at the University of Huddersfield, confirming it as a major centre for research in a field that is of burgeoning importance.

Professor Ousey is an established expert on wound care and tissue viability who began her career in acute care nursing before becoming a lecturer-practitioner.  She arrived at the University of Huddersfield 11 years ago and she heads its multi-disciplinary Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention, which in June hosts a major international conference.

Now, her new appointment will be a boost to research in a field that is of increasing medical significance, said Professor Ousey.  “People will see that professorial title and realise how serious we are about this area.”

Karen Ousey “It is all about preventing skin damage in people who may be at risk and it also about education to staff, patients and relatives and carers on how to look after the skin,” she continued.

Professor Ousey and her fellow researchers are investigating the science behind skin, discovering ways to prevent pressure damage and how to manage wounds effectively.

“One of our biggest priorities is to maintain and improve health-related quality of life outcomes,” she said.  “People who do have a wound or a pressure ulcer are able to manage them and live a normal life.”

Lancashire-born Karen Ousey did her early training at Rochdale School of Nursing and began her career at London’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, acquiring extra qualifications.  When she returned to the North, she worked at hospitals in Manchester, Bury and Salford.  In 1997, her interest in research and teaching led her to become a lecturer-practitioner at Salford University.

She became a full-time lecturer in 2000 and after five years joined the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human and Health Sciences.  Prior to her professorship, Dr Ousey was Reader in Advancing Clinical Practice within the Division of Podiatry and Clinical Sciences.

The author and co-author of many articles, her recent output covers topics such as avoidable pressure ulcers, the importance of hydration in wound healing, the role of the tissue viability nurse and an investigation of staff knowledge of pressure ulcers in care homes.  She is the Clinical Editor of the journal Wounds UK.

Skin “The more we research and publish, the more heightened awareness there is among the general public about skin integrity,” said Professor Ousey.  A key issue, she added, is that the population now is generally living longer, meaning that more and more people must cope with co-morbidities that affect the condition of the skin.

“But skin integrity is an issue for all age groups,” said Professor Ousey.  “For example, very young and pre-term babies are affected as well.  Their skin isn’t well formed and there can be problems with device-related damage, such as tubes that rub against skin.”

Skin integrity and wound management are important elements of nurse education at the University of Huddersfield.  But the topics are of increasing relevance to other disciplines.

“Healthcare is changing so we also teach pharmacy students about wound management,” said Professor Ousey.  “People are finding it harder to get an appointment with their GP, so they tend to go to a pharmacist for advice if they have got cuts and scrapes or leg ulcers.”

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Hudds computer scientist chosen by Microsoft and Google

Raluca Georgescu

Mon, 23 May 2016 13:17:00 BST

‌Romanian Raluca is pick of the crop for Google’s Code U project

Google U Code EVEN before her graduation from the University of Huddersfield, Romanian-born student Raluca Georgescu has enjoyed invaluable opportunities with two of the world’s most powerful software companies.  It has reinforced her ambition to forge a career with a multi-national corporation.  But she is also ambitious to use her computer skills to aid education and development in some of the world’s poorest regions.

Raluca, aged 22, has now completed her BSc degree course in Computing Science and will graduate in July.  She will then relocate to London for a Master’s course before embarking on her career, armed with a CV that already boasts links with Microsoft and Google.

Her University of Huddersfield degree course included a year-long work placement, and Raluca earned an internship at Microsoft’s London site.  She was put to work on Bing, in particular its auto-suggest features, and she made contribution to refinement of the software.

Bing “It is rare that an intern gets to work on a search engine directly,” said Raluca, “I was part of an awesome team, with a great manager supporting me,” she added.

Now Google, seeking high-calibre students from European universities, has picked her to take part in a six-week project named Code U.‌

Raluca has been teamed with four other students, who are at universities in Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK.  There have been regular conferences, advice sessions and assignments via the online platform Google Hangout.

Raluca Georgescu The project culminates in a three-day session at Google’s London HQ, where Raluca will meet her fellow team members face to face and have valuable opportunities to network with Google personnel.  Raluca has also secured a three-month summer internship in London, working as a front-end developer for top cloud computing company Salesforce.

In addition to her career goals, Raluca is active in campaigns to encourage more women to study and work in computing.  She gained a bursary in 2015 to attend a Texas conference on the subject and she founded a Women in Computing circle at the University of Huddersfield, with a membership of female students, researchers and lecturers. 

She also has a passion for innovations that have a social impact.  For the final-year project of her University of Huddersfield degree, Raluca devised technology designed to promote education in Sub-Saharan Africa.  It is an app that aims to optimise video streaming and online courses in countries where internet connections might be slow and where there is widespread reliance on mobile devices.

Raluca is from the Romanian city of Constanta, where she developed her passion for computing when attending a high school that had a focus on mathematics and technology.  She chose the University of Huddersfield for her degree because it offered just the course she wanted, focussing on web technologies. 

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Speaker John Bercow’s public lecture at the Uni – 24 June

John Bercow

Fri, 20 May 2016 13:51:00 BST

The Speaker speaks out!  John Bercow will give a special lecture at the University of Huddersfield – free admission – the day following the EU Referendum

John Bercow HE is the holder of one of the world’s most ancient offices.  But John Bercow, outspoken Speaker of the House of Commons since 2009, is a dedicated moderniser.  His ambitions to update Parliament will be a theme when he comes to the University of Huddersfield to deliver a free public lecture.

It takes place on Friday 24 June (3.30pm) and is titled The Making of a Modern Parliament, the day following the EU Referendum.  

When Mr Bercow became the 157th Speaker of the House, he pledged that he would make reforms, and in addition to procedural changes he has also introduced innovations such as a Parliamentary crèche, equality networks and an Education Centre – opened in 2015 – that aims to inspire and connect young people with Parliament and democracy.

Other modernising touches by Mr Bercow include the fact that he declines to wear the traditional robes of his office when presiding over debates.

Mr Bercow has been a controversial figure in some quarters – and was previously known as a rebellious backbencher – but in May 2015, following the General Election, he was re-elected as Speaker.  In the House, he is a non-political figure, but he has been Conservative MP for Buckingham since 1997.

In November 2014, Mr Bercow delivered the annual J.H. Whitley Lecture, organised by the University of Huddersfield in commemoration of a Halifax MP who was a noted Speaker in the 1920s.

At that lecture – given in Halifax Minster – Mr Bercow spoke about his modernising ambitions.  Now, he returns to the subject on 24 June, the day following the EU Referendum.

When he comes to the University of Huddersfield, Mr Bercow is also due to cover a range of other topics, including human rights and democracy in the United Kingdom, plus an appraisal of the role of Speaker.

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