Karen Adams-leask

Karen Adams-leask

Senior Lecturer

School of Allied Health Science and Practice

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

My Research

Karen Adams-Leask has a strong interests in clinical research especially in regards to building on evidence and translating theory into mental health. This is evident in her recent research project focusing on the use of sensory modulation in managing mental health distress. Karen Adams-Leask is committed to multi-disciplinary approaches to improving health care and promoting least restrictive practices (ie the reliance on seclusion and restrain, and medication, to manage mental health distress).  Her clinical experience extends into the UK where Karen Adams-Leask worked in a high secure forensic hospital while undertaken her Masters Thesis on exploring the use of meaningful time in a forensic addictive behaviour unit.  This resulted in subsequent conference presentations and publications.  She has been recognised for her developments in occupational therapy mental health and was rewarded with a Significant Contribution to the Profession Award by the professional association Occupational Therapy Australia in 2015.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 - ongoing Lecturer Occupational Therapy University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2020 Visiting Lecturer, workshop facilitator & assessor University of South Australia
    2010 - ongoing Principal Occupational Therapist (AHP4) Central Adelaide Local Health Network
    2005 - 2009 Principal Occupational Therapist/Team Leader (PO4) Central Northern Adelaide Health Service
    2003 - 2005 Practice Development Occupational Therapist (Head 3) BROADMOOR HOSPITAL
    2002 - 2003 Acting Head 3 Occupational Therapist Broadmoor Hospital
    2000 - 2002 Senior 1 Occupational Therapist Farnham Hospital
    2000 - 2000 Senior Occupational Therapist Farnham Hospital
    1999 - 1999 Senior Occupational Therapist Westways Resource Centre
    1997 - 1999 Senior Occupational Therapist Royal Adelaide Hospital
    1995 - 1997 Occupational Therapist / Case Manager Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service
    1995 - 1995 Occupational Therapist / Case Manager Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2015 Award 2015 OT Aus Back Centre Significant Contribution to the Profession Award. OT Aus Back Centre Australia
    2008 Award 2008 SA Health Contribution to the Workforce Health and Well-being. Allied Health Graduate Program. SA Health Australia
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2000 - 2003 Brunel University London United Kingdom Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (with distinction)
    1991 - 1994 University of South Australia Australia Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2018 Adams-Leask, K., Varona, L., Dua, C., Baldock, M., Gerace, A., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2018). The benefits of sensory modulation on levels of distress for consumers in a mental health emergency setting. Australasian Psychiatry, 26(5), 514-519.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS5 Europe PMC1
    2003 Helbig, K., & McKay, E. (2003). An Exploration of Addictive Behaviours from an Occupational Perspective. Journal of Occupational Science, 10(3), 140-145.
Research and Grants

2019 QI Briefing. Office of the Chief Psychiatrist. $40,000. Development of a blended training package on Sensory Approaches (MDT) and Sensory Modulation (OT). 

2015 Business Case & RAH Ethics Committee. CALHN funded 1FTE OT for 12 months. Pilot Study of the benefits of sensory modulation in the reduction of seclusion and restraint and challenging behaviours within a mental health assessment unit.  

2003 Research grant AOTMH, UK (800 pounds). Broadmoor Hospital Ethics Committee. The relationship between participation in activities, quality of life and health amongst male patients in a high secure forensic addictive behaviours unit.

  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2015 - ongoing Member Australian Association of Occupational Therapists Australia
    2010 - ongoing Member Australian Association of Occupational Therapists Australia
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83133699
  • Email: karen.adams-leask@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Engineering & Maths Sciences, floor 4
  • Org Unit: Occupational Therapy

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