UHI lecturer recognised for excellence in dementia education

A UHI lecturer with a passion for dementia education has been recognised for her contribution to healthcare and teaching. Dr Leah Macaden from UHI’s nursing and midwifery department has been selected as both a National Teaching Fellow and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

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Dr Leah Macaden

Managed by Advance HE, a charity which works with institutions across the world to improve higher education, the national teaching fellowship scheme celebrates individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession. Dr Macaden, who lives in Lentran near Inverness, is one of only 54 academics and professional services staff across the UK to become a fellow this year.

Dr Macaden’s American Academy of Nursing fellowship, meanwhile, acknowledges her contribution to and impact on health and health care. She will be one of 250 distinguished nurse leaders from 17 countries to receive this honour at a ceremony in Washington DC in October.

As a senior lecturer in nursing, Dr Macaden worked with colleagues to develop a dementia education initiative for students on UHI’s BSc nursing degree. Students are certified as ‘dementia friends’ in the first semester of the programme and progress through the ‘informed’, ‘skilled’ and ‘enhanced’ levels of Scotland’s promoting excellence framework for dementia training over the next three years.

As a Churchill Fellow, Dr Macaden also secured money from the Churchill Fellowship’s COVID-19 Action Fund to develop the first dedicated blended learning resource to promote dementia care excellence in care homes during the pandemic.

Brian Williams, Head of UHI’s School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences, said: “I am delighted that Dr Macaden has been recognised with these prestigious fellowships. They are testament to her dedication to improving dementia care through education. Her innovative approach and leadership has inspired students and colleagues across the care sector and is benefiting those affected by dementia.

“UHI first submitted an entry to the national teaching fellowship scheme last year and Dr Macaden is now the second UHI academic to receive one of these competitive awards. As well as highlighting Dr Macaden’s teaching excellence, the success also highlights the quality of teaching and student support across UHI.”

Speaking about her fellowships, Dr Macaden said: “I believe that high quality nurse education delivered with passion and commitment transforms lives and societies. Education is a vital investment for future workforce development and a critical solution to our rising health and social care challenges, particularly around the care of older adults.

“I am delighted to receive recognition for my contributions in this area of nurse education. I couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support, enthusiasm, meticulous planning and processes put in place by the learning and teaching academy at UHI and the high-quality mentorship that was offered throughout the application process.” 

Alison Johns, Chief Executive, Advance HE, said: “We run the prestigious national teaching fellow and collaborative award for teaching excellence awards for the UK higher education sector with enormous pride. The challenges of offering an outstanding teaching experience in recent years have been very demanding, but the sector has risen to the challenge.”