Dr Elysa Roberts

Dr Elysa Roberts

Senior Lecturer

School of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy)

Career Summary

Biography

I moved to Australia in 2013 from the United States of America (USA) for the unique opportunity to join a team of active educators and researchers in my field of occupational therapy (OT).

Research Expertise
My research expertise tends towards qualitative inquiry. I believe we can learn a great deal from the lived experience.  Qualitative research reveals and acknowledges our human subjectivity, an important element to consider as an occupational therapist specially trained to help people participate in meaningful activity in the face of illness, injury or adversity.

My current research interest spans a few realms:

  1. The lived experience of recovery from eating disorders
  2. Experience of sensory reactivity for persons with eating disorders  
  3. Experiences of occupational justice and injustice
  4. Transformative learning experiences among emerging health professionals

Over the years I’ve been involved in qualitatively exploring experiences associated with:

  • experience of telling one’s eating disorder recovery story,
  • impact of beach access equipment for people with disabilities
  • lifestyle design among well older adult women and individuals with chronic heart failure
  • occupational engagement among those with severe intellectual disabilities
  • impact of a supportive context on older women with low vision
  • perspectives of adolescents with visual impairment on enabling participation
  • occupations of mothering,

You can read more about my take on qualitative research here, just scroll all the way down to the last contribution, The Lived Experience http://www.nedc.com.au/e-bulletin-number-forty-nine

While qualitative research methods are what I’m most drawn to, I also love investigating questions associated with quantitative research. 

The Making Sense of Eating Disorders study is one of my most significant projects that emphasizes quantitative analysis.  We recruited participants with a history of eating disorder around the world to complete surveys of their sensory reactivity, eating disorder experience, anxiety and cognitive flexibility to understand the relationship between sensory reactivity and eating disorder symptoms.  We piloted this project among university students.More details to follow – results are significant. 

Teaching Expertise
I started teaching in 1997 rather unintentionally; however, I’ve continued teaching rather intentionally. Like most educators, I take the privilege, opportunity and challenge to educate emerging and seasoned colleagues seriously.

Currently I teach theoretical and practical content related to:

  • productive occupation,
  • work rehabilitation,
  • advocacy as intervention
  • occupational justice and occupational science in local, national and international communities.

I serve as a research supervisor to Honours Students.

In the USA, I taught entry-level master's to post-baccalaureate occupational therapy students.

  • Classes in entry-level programs addressed: core foundations of occupational therapy and occupational science, evaluation skills, kinesiology and occupational therapy for older adults.
  • Post-baccalaureate classes covered: theoretical and clinical reasoning, applied evidence-based practice, health promotion, gerontology, qualitative inquiry and leadership.

I have experience guiding PhD students through the dissertation process and Clinical Doctorate students through the Capstone Project process.

Clinical and Administrative Expertise
My clinical, clinical education, private practice and leadership positions inform my clinical and administrative expertise.

  • I lead students to create advocacy projects involving call to action presentations to stakeholders to resolve ways our community may be unjustly limiting participation for populations of others.
  • Past occupational therapy clinical experience included: adult/older adult physical rehabilitation, post-op orthopaedic hand therapy and low vision rehabilitation for community-dwelling older adults. 
  • I’ve also worked as a professional coach for individual and corporate clients in the areas of lifestyle design, health promotion and successful aging.
  • My administration expertise is most reflected by my leadership positions, passion for mentoring students and graduates and service to the university and profession.

Prior to moving to Australia, I held a unique leadership position as the Graduate Program Director of the post-baccalaureate Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) in the USA. This position afforded me opportunity to teach, lead and mentor colleagues to apply best available evidence at the point of care in practice and teaching. I was also responsible for the direction of the adjunct faculty, curriculum development and program evaluation in that role.

Collaborations
I am particularly interested in collaborations that could inform:

  • recovery from eating disorders,
  • occupational therapy in emerging areas,
  • occupational science and/or occupational justice
  • innovative service delivery for mental health, lifestyle and productivity


Qualifications

  • PhD (Occupational Therapy), Nova Southeastern University - USA
  • Registered Occupational Therapist, NBCOT - USA
  • Master of Science (Occupational Therapy), Florida International University - USA

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Coaching
  • Eating Disorders
  • Mental Health
  • Occupational Justice
  • Occupational Science
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Productivity
  • Qualitative
  • Recovery
  • Well-being
  • occupational justice

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy) 40
111714 Mental Health 30
160805 Social Change 30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/07/2010 - 1/05/2013 Graduate Program Director Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Utah
Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program
United States
1/02/2009 - 1/12/2010 Assistant Director & Assistant Professor Barry University, Florida
Entry-level Master's & Doctor of Philosopy of Occupational Therapy Program
United States
1/06/1997 - 1/02/2009 Assistant Professor Nova Southeastern University, Florida
Entry-level Master's & Doctor of Philosopy of Occupational Therapy Program
United States

Awards

Award

Year Award
2011 Hartgraves' Award for Teaching Excellence
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
2009 Golden Apple Award
Nova Southeastern University Department of Occupational Therapy
2005 Dr Gail Ann Hills Alumni Award
Florida International University Department of Occupational Therapy
2004 Golden Apple Award
Nova Southeastern University Department of Occupational Therapy
2003 Golden Apple Award
Nova Southeastern University Department of Occupational Therapy

Thesis Examinations

Year Level Discipline Thesis
2000 PHD Health Perceived Experiences of Well Senior Women Engaged in Occupational Lifestyle Redesign
1994 Masters Health An analysis of results of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – 2 of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Sufferers.
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Haracz K, Roberts E, 'Workplace resilience interventions show some evidence of positive effects, particularly on mental health and wellbeing', AUSTRALIAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY JOURNAL, 63 57-58 (2016)
DOI 10.1111/1440-1630.12277
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Kirsti Haracz
2016 Mahoney WJ, Roberts E, Bryze K, Kent JAP, 'Occupational engagement and adults with intellectual disabilities', American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.5014/ajot.2016.016576
2015 Roberts E, Shamus E, 'Increasing medical students understanding of the role of occupational therapists', Journal of Interprofessional Care, 29 522-524 (2015) [C1]

© 2015 © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of different healthcare professionals allows for collaborative care to occur. This ... [more]

© 2015 © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of different healthcare professionals allows for collaborative care to occur. This article describes the evaluation of a student-designed, case-based educational module about the roles and responsibilities of occupational therapists (OTs) designed to increase the knowledge of occupational therapy among medical students. The study used a quasi-experimental, pre-/post-test design. Independent paired t-tests showed medical students mean score on the OT Awareness Education Module at post-test was significantly greater than their mean score at pre-test. Results demonstrated how using an evidence-based approach to design an educational strategy can increase the knowledge of one member of the healthcare team about the role of another within a short period. This study documented an effective approach for educating future physicians about the roles and responsibilities of occupational therapy as they prepare to make decisions affecting patient care outcomes.

DOI 10.3109/13561820.2015.1034848
2014 Roberts E, 'An Interview with William (Bill) Sorrell', Journal of Occupational Science, (2014) [C3]
DOI 10.1080/14427591.2014.985580
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2009 Stav WB, Roberts E, 'Achieving professional development goals for the new year', OT Practice, 14 11-12 (2009)
Citations Scopus - 1
2009 Mahoney W, Roberts E, 'Co-occupation in a day program for adults with developmental disabilities', Journal of Occupational Science, 16 170-179 (2009)

As meaning is an essential component of occupation, this phenomenological study investigated the meaning behind the activities in a day program for 10 staff members and 10 consume... [more]

As meaning is an essential component of occupation, this phenomenological study investigated the meaning behind the activities in a day program for 10 staff members and 10 consumers with moderate to severe developmental disabilities who required assistance to engage in occupation. Methods included interviews with staff members and consumers, and participant observation sessions with consumers. Thematic analysis demonstrated that when the consumers actively engaged in activities and interacted with the staff members in specific ways, both parties found the activities meaningful. The themes were reflective of co-occupation and the importance of a good person-environment-occupation fit. © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1080/14427591.2009.9686659
Citations Scopus - 9
2006 Dunbar SB, Roberts E, 'An exploration of mothers' perceptions regarding mothering occupations and experiences', Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 20 51-73 (2006)

The objective of this phenomenological study was to explore mothers' perceptions related to the occupational experiences of mothering. Seven women between the ages of 24 and ... [more]

The objective of this phenomenological study was to explore mothers' perceptions related to the occupational experiences of mothering. Seven women between the ages of 24 and 42, with children ranging in age from 13 months to 18 years, were interviewed in two separate focus groups. Areas addressed in the semi-structured interviews included mothering role descriptions, experiences as mothers, and feelings about mothering. Data were collected by the use of field notes and audio recording. An inductive method of data analysis was used to code the transcribed narratives. Four major themes emerged that included sociocultural influence, activities and occupations of mothering, range of feelings, and role management. Some differences between older and younger women emerged in the analysis. Perceptions of mothering occupations influence the manner in which mothers participate in their everyday activities. Exploring the perceptions of mothering among women of typical children is valuable for occupational scientists and occupational therapists seeking to understand families better. Increased awareness may lead to more optimal family-centered care. © 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1300/J003v20n02_04
Citations Scopus - 10
2005 Pizzimenti J, Roberts EG, 'The low vision rehabilitation service. Part two: Putting the program into practice', The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 3 1-11 (2005)
2003 Roberts EG, 'Book review: Measurement tools in patient education', The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 1 1 (2003)
2002 Lipschutz EG, 'Perceived experiences of well senior women engaged in occupational life style redesign', Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 22 (2002)

The qualitative study summarized in this article explored the perceived experiences of six well older women engaged in occupational lifestyle redesign. Demographic trends warrant ... [more]

The qualitative study summarized in this article explored the perceived experiences of six well older women engaged in occupational lifestyle redesign. Demographic trends warrant continued exploration of interventions intended to maximize the well-being of older adults. The results of the study help explain how occupational lifestyle redesign enabled participants to explore their occupational habits, experience occupational options, and establish a plan to influence their physical, mental, and social well-being through occupation.

Show 7 more journal articles

Conference (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Roberts EG, Skipsey J, 'Lived Experience Insights Informs OT for Persons With Eating Disorders', Lived Experience Insights Informs OT for Persons With Eating Disorders (2017)
2017 Roberts EG, 'Occupational Therapy for Eating Disorders: Integrative Literature Review' (2017)
2016 Hunter S, Johnston CL, Rasiah R, Roberts E, O'Toole G, MacDonald- Wicks L, Newstead C, 'Healthcare students learning together to promote the health of older people' (2016)
Co-authors Lesley Wicks, Gjyn Otoole, Sharyn Hunter, Cath Johnston, Rohan Rasiah
2016 Hunter S, Johnston C, Rasiah, Roberts E, O'Toole G, MacDonald-Wicks L, Newstead C, 'Healthy ageing as a vehicle for interprofessional education: Nursing Students' expereince' (2016)
Co-authors Lesley Wicks, Rohan Rasiah, Sharyn Hunter, Gjyn Otoole, Cath Johnston
2016 Roberts EG, Skipsey J, 'Experiences of Recovery from Bulimia Nervosa: Qualitative Study', Experiences of Recovery from Bulimia Nervosa: Qualitative Study (2016)
2016 Roberts EG, Skipsey J, '¿It Was Also About What I Wasn¿t Doing¿: How Not Doing Occupation Influences Health' (2016)
2015 Hunter SM, Johnston CL, Rasiah R, Roberts E, O'Toole G, MacDonald-Wicks L, et al., 'Using healthy ageing as a vehicle for interprofessional education', 6th International Clinical Skills Conference. Abstracts (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Cath Johnston, Lesley Wicks, Rohan Rasiah, Sharyn Hunter, Gjyn Otoole
2015 Hunter S, Johnston C, Rasiah, Roberts E, O'Toole, MacDonald-Wicks, Newstead C, 'Promoting healthy ageing with interprofessional education' (2015)
Co-authors Cath Johnston, Sharyn Hunter, Lesley Wicks, Rohan Rasiah, Gjyn Otoole
2015 Roberts EG, Wolfenden W, 'Teaching advocacy as intervention to future occupational therapists: A call to action', Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (2015) [E3]
2015 Roberts EG, Wolfenden W, 'Occupational therapy and eating disorders: An integrative literature review', Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (2015) [E3]
2015 Roberts EG, Wolfenden W, 'Occupational Therapy & Eating Disorders: Integrative Literature Review' (2015)
Show 8 more conferences

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Roberts EG, 'The Lived Experience Perspective', National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC) e-Bulletin - Forty-Nine (2017)

Thesis / Dissertation (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2000 Lipschutz EG, Perceived experiences of well senior women engaged in occupational lifestyle redesign, Nova Southeastern University (2000)
1994 Goldstein EG, An analysis of results of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory ¿ 2 of reflex sympathetic dystrophy sufferers, Florida International University (1994)
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 3
Total funding $9,750

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20161 grants / $4,000

Faculty of Health and Medicine Linkage Pilot Grant$4,000

Award for project: Making Sense of Eating Disorders

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine Pilot Grant University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine Pilot Grant University of Newcastle
Project Team

Associate Professor Alison Lane, RA Caitlin Argent-Schutz

Scheme UON Faculty of Health and Medicine Pilot Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20151 grants / $750

26th Occupational Therapy Australia National Conference (2015), Melbourne Australia, 30 June - 3 July 2015$750

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Elysa Roberts
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500739
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20141 grants / $5,000

FHEAM New Staff Grant$5,000

Supported attendance at ANZAED Annual Conference and RA for literature review

Funding body: UON Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body UON Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team

William Wolfendon - RA

Scheme New Staff
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N
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Research Projects

Contributor - NEDC Stories from Experience 2013 - 2014

Contributor

Stories from Experience is a learning resource that introduces the concept of working with life experience as story produced by the The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health.


Research Advisor - Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders - The Insights in Recovery Project 2015 - 2016

Research Advisor - This was a consumer participatory project conducted by The Butterfly Foundation in partnership with The NSW Mental Health Commission with the purpose of translating knowledge from lived experience into a framework of recovery-oriented practice to support people with eating disorders. Outcomes of the project, based on written lived experiences of 104 participants, became guidelines for professionals working with people with eating disorders suitable for use in policy and professional development.


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News

Help Make Sense of Eating Disorders

January 12, 2017

Researchers at the University of Newcastle (UON) are investigating how people with history of an eating disorder experience sensory information (taste, touch, smell).

Dr Elysa Roberts

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Occupational Therapy

Contact Details

Email elysa.roberts@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6663
Fax (02) 4921 7053

Office

Room HA 25
Building Hunter Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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