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Birkbeck academics win at British Psychological Society awards

Dr Rachel Lewis, Dr Jo Yarker and Dr Kevin Teoh from the Department of Organizational Psychology received Division of Occupational Psychology Excellence Awards at the body’s annual Conference in January.

Kevin Teoh, Rachel Lewis, Jo Yarker and colleagues received awards at the Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference.

Academics from Birkbeck’s Department of Organizational Psychology have received two Excellence Awards from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP).

Dr Rachel Lewis, Dr Jo Yarker and colleagues received the DOP Excellence in Occupational Psychology Research Award and Dr Kevin Teoh received the Excellence in Occupational Psychology Research Award for Early Career Researchers.

Lewis, Yarker and colleagues’ research explores the psychological implications of business travel. Despite the fact that frequent travellers make three times as many claims for psychological treatment and have lower psychological wellbeing than their non-travelling colleagues, prior research into the link between international business travel and health has focused on the physical health risks.

This research addresses this imbalance by supporting organisations in understanding how and why business travel may be psychologically damaging to their travelling employees.

Teoh’s research centres around the demands that healthcare workers, and in particular doctors, are faced with within the NHS. Linking working conditions, staff wellbeing and the quality of care being provided, his findings advocate for the improvement of working conditions for NHS staff and have been important in informing policy and practice to support NHS staff wellbeing and provide better outcomes for patients.

Speaking of the awards, Dr Lewis said: “Jo Yarker and I, in collaboration with colleagues from Affinity Health at Work are delighted to have won this award. The report and related toolkit exploring the psychological implications of business travel, which are free to access, continue to create impact, having been presented to over 90 organisations, at three global conferences and mentioned in over 35 TV, radio and press articles globally with an estimated reach of over 12 million. Our work in this area is continuing with the development of a pre-travel psychometric tool, and a focus on psychological implications of travel for off-shore and FIFO workers.”

Dr Teoh said: “I am very grateful to receive this award and would like to thank those who nominated and believed in me. I’ve been lucky to have so many people encourage and support me along the way and I hope to be able to provide the same support to other Early Career Researchers. My work so far highlights the need for more quality research to not only increase awareness of how a poor working environment influences staff wellbeing and patient care, but to inform evidence-based decision making and to facilitate more systematic changes and improvements that benefit both staff and patients.”

The DOP research awards commend exceptional research which has a significant impact. The awards ceremony takes place annually at the DOP Conference.

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