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Dementia education program recognised nationally

The University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre has been recognised at the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching in Canberra.

A team of eight University of Tasmania academic staff received the Office of Learning and Teaching award for its outstanding work in dementia education, with a particular focus on the centre’s Bachelor of Dementia Care and the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

As part of the accolade the centre also received $25,000 to reinvest in the program.

Associate Professor Alison Canty, who has been instrumental in establishing and running the Bachelor of Dementia Care degree, said the award was recognition of the program’s fantastic achievements in dementia education.

“We’ve already had a huge reach in dementia education with more than 100,000 people registered for our MOOCS across the world and about 4,000 in Australia who have come through the Bachelor of Dementia Care and another 1,200 students currently enrolled,” she said.

Associate Professor Canty said the award was particularly focused on the program’s wide reach and ability to encourage non-traditional students to consider higher education including mature aged students, and those who were first in their family to attend university.

Around 80 per cent of the program’s participants are also women.

Wicking Centre Co-Director James Vickers said the award was a recognition of all those University staff involved in making dementia education more accessible to people.

“Dementia is a health condition that is increasing significantly in its impact on our population, health systems and across our communities,” he said.

“People with dementia, their families and carers, as well as a broad range of health professionals, will all benefit from lifting the standard of dementia literacy.

“The award is also testament to our main partners, our students, who are committed to learning about this condition and making a difference in the lives of people directly and indirectly affected by dementia.”

The Dementia Care Program team comprises Associate Professor Alison Canty, Professor Frances McInerney, Professor James Vickers, Professor Andrew Robinson, Professor Justin Walls, Doctor Carolyn King, Doctor Andrea Carr and Doctor Lynette Goldberg.

The award follows the team’s recent success in winning the University’s 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.

The Wicking Centre is part of the University’s Faculty of Health.

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