Dr Jenny Ceolta-Smith

Dr Jenny Ceolta-Smith, PhD, MBA, BHSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy, PGCAP, PVRA, MRCOT

Jenny has been an occupational therapist for 27 years and her area of specialism is vocational rehabilitation. She has worked in UK public and private sectors in roles covering practice, management, research, policy analysis, education, and training and worked for a year teaching occupational therapy in Bangladesh. Jenny’s PhD was sponsored by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire. Her study centred on the way in which claimants’ health-related needs are understood and addressed within UK welfare-to-work provision. More recently she has been a lecturer teaching undergraduate and post graduate programs in occupational therapy and occupational and vocational rehabilitation. Jenny returned to practice part time in 2019 and undertook a temporary role as an occupational health professional in the Jobcentre to support people with long term conditions back into work.

Whilst working in a university Jenny had an active research role, for example, in conducting research for the evaluation of the Working Well Early Help programme, which is a health-led employment support programme, to provide early intervention for people who have recently become unemployed or taken sickness absence from their job. She also undertook a small-scale study to explore the role of UK healthcare professionals in welfare-to-work provision.

Jenny describes herself as disabled. She has personal experience of NHS job termination following a work-related injury and completed her PhD whilst recovering from a second head injury. She became ill with Covid-19 in March 2020 and has not recovered. Whilst recovering she has been an active member of the Long Covid Employment Group. Jenny recently left her employment as an occupational therapy lecturer to continue her recovery and seek work that is home based and flexible.  Outputs from her work in the Long Covid Support Employment Group include co-producing a series of short educational podcasts to support people with Long Covid to return to work for Queen Margaret University. Jenny has also led on the group’s written evidence submission for the UK Parliamentary inquiry on Employment support and response to the Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper. 

Jenny is a professional member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Vocational Rehabilitation Association and has previously been a Trustee. While a Trustee Jenny took an active role in planning and running study days with key stakeholders including The Society of Occupational Medicine and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section Work. She is also a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and has been a peer reviewer for WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.    

Royal College of Occupational Therapists: BT0207618. 

Health and Care Professions Council: OT23489.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: PR129098. 

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