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UCLan nursing lecturer honoured for health visiting best practice on global scale

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Journal of Health Visiting presents International Contribution to Health Visiting Award

An Associate Professor from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been recognised for her contribution to health visiting practice on an international scale.

Dr Karen Whittaker, a Reader in Child and Family Health, was honoured at the annual Journal of Health Visiting Awards, which recognises the innovative and inspiring work being carried out by health visitors and teams to improve outcomes for children and families across the UK.

Karen was handed the prestigious International Contribution to Health Visiting Award for her input to healthcare not only in the UK, but also around the world.

Announcing her as the winner, judges said: “This award recognises the contribution a health visitor has made to the profession at a global level.  Karen has made an outstanding contribution to disseminating knowledge about health visiting in the UK and learning from health visitor equivalents in other countries, whether they are plunket nurses in New Zealand, social nurses in Belgium or lady health workers in Pakistan.

“She contributes to the UNICEF Central and Eastern Europe International Technical Advisory Group on Home Visiting. She has also partnered with the International Step by Step Association to develop educational resources for nurse home visitors promoting early child development and has co-delivered nurse home visiting training in Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkmenistan. I think you will agree that Karen richly deserves this recognition tonight and we are very pleased to present her with this award.”

Thank you Journal of Health Visiting for bringing attention to this work and to UCLan for supporting my involvement.

Karen, who has worked at UCLan since 1998, commented: “I’m thrilled that the international work on nurse home visiting for early child development has attracted such attention. Early child development is such an important topic if we are to achieve a fair global society and working with the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and UNICEF ECARO (Europe and Central Asia Regional Office) collaboration has been such a privilege. They are true experts in driving change to improve lives for children, families and the nurses/health visitors working hard to make a difference.

“As a nurse, health visiting is where my heart is. Health visitors take care and support directly to families through home visiting with the intention of helping parents achieve their aspirations for their new babies. I’ve been fortunate to be able to share the ideas and principles of health visiting with nurse home visitors and early child development practitioners in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where there is a strong desire to invest in early life. Thank you Journal of Health Visiting for bringing attention to this work and to UCLan for supporting my involvement.”

The online learning packages for nurse home visitors that Karen has contributed to are available on the ISSA website.

This year marked the third annual Journal of Health Visiting Awards with prizes handed out across seven categories. Finalists and invited guests attended a black-tie ceremony to help celebrate the best in health visiting practice and to reward those who go above and beyond the call of duty to support families and ensure children receive the best start in life.


Karen Whittaker United Nations

Lyndsey Boardman | 16 April 2018