Above: Dementia Centre director, Colm Cunningham (front, centre) with the Dementia Centre team visiting HammondCare’s new dementia service, due to be opened in January 2013, in Miranda in Sydney’s south.
By Keryn Curtis
HammondCare has announced that Dementia Centre director, Colm Cunningham, will lead the Centre’s international research and education initiatives in the newly created position of International Dementia Centre Director, based in Scotland.
After two years as Director of the Sydney based research and education centre, Mr Cunningham will take the leadership role in the Centre’s overseas development activities, effective from the first quarter of 2013.
HammondCare Chief Executive, Dr Stephen Judd, said that Mr Cunningham had overseen tremendous growth in the Dementia Centre in his two years as director, based in Australia and would now lead a new phase of overseas growth.
“Colm has embodied our mission to improve quality of life for people in need by championing the needs of people living with dementia, their families, carers and service providers,” Dr Judd said.
“Colm is excited now to be able to focus his energies on sharing this successful model – and the principles of care, design and dignity that it carries – to partnerships and nations globally.
At the same time, Dr Judd said the Dementia Centre based in Australia would continue to grow with the appointment of a new director with whom Mr Cunningham would work closely.
“The Dementia Centre’s work in Australia will go from strength to strength with research, resources, consultancies and training continuing to be delivered across the nation and through significant partnerships,” Dr Judd said.
A logical step
Mr Cunningham said his appointment marked a substantial expansion of the work of the Dementia Centre. He said the Dementia Centre had been building partnerships for some time with other international groups – in the Netherlands, Japan and the UK – and this role was the logical next step.
“There are a number of opportunities to work together on international projects and this role will give me the opportunity to operate between Australia and the the UK and other countries.”
“One of the issues we find here in the Australian context, when we look at the findings of international research, is that it can be easy to say, ‘that’s all very well but that was in that country and we have a different system here’.
“Actually I’m not sure that is always right. While there are always considerations around different systems, the consumer issue can be quite consistent. But if, through these partnerships, we can take into consideration the context of the research, that will really help with that issue of comparison because there will be an inbuilt comparison right from the start.
“We’ve already been talking to potential funders who would be much more interested in research if it could be contextualised by country and financial systems.”
Mr Cunningham said HammondCare was keen to pursue international collaborations in key areas such as dementia care environments and GP care models.
“We know there is some really interesting work in these areas in the Netherlands for example, but picking up on it isn’t as straightforward as people often think.
“We’d like to look solidly at what the Dutch model tells us, rather than just have people come and talk to us about it.”
Mr Cunningham said he will work closely with a new director based in Australia, adding that he will retain some of his current responsibilities, including managing the dementia conference.
“The international role will also enable us to leverage access to international speakers more effectively,” he said.
Mr Cunningham will be based in Edinburgh in Scotland.
HammondCare has appointed international recruitment agency, Futurestep to recruit a new overall director for the Dementia Centre, based in Sydney. The contact for information relating to the role is Rachael Ottaway. Tel: +61 2 9006 3476 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org