Natasha Spassiani
natasha spassiani

Dr Natasha Spassiani PhD, SEDA, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Honorary Advanced Research Fellow at NHS, Lead of the Knowledge to Action Research Group in Intellectual Disabilities

Lecturer

Biography

Dr. Spassiani received their B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. from York University in Kinesiology and Health Science. Dr. Spassiani received their Ph.D. (2015) in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an internationally renowned institution in the field of Disability Studies. After completing their Ph.D., Dr. Spassiani was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto in the Department of Psychiatry jointly with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where they examined the stigma, discrimination, and social oppression that people with disabilities experience when accessing health systems.

In October 2015, Dr. Spassiani became Assistant Professor in Inclusion and Disability at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in the School of Education. During their time at TCD, they were appointed as the Director of the Trinity Center for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID), formally known as the National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities, a TCD institute dedicated to the advancement of research and education for people with intellectual disabilities.

In November 2016, Dr. Spassiani began a tenure-track appointment at Edinburgh Napier University in the School of Health and Social Care as a Lecturer and Researcher in Intellectual Disabilities, where they were hired due to their Disability Studies background and community-based research approach.

In 2022, Dr. Spassiani was appointed as research lead for The Knowledge to Action Research Group in Intellectual Disabilities, where they lead a team of interdisciplinary researchers and clinicians who study health and disability.

Dr. Spassiani's educational and professional background in Disability Studies and health bring a unique perspective in how they examine and engage in disability and health discourses through a rights and empowerment approach. Dr. Spassiani's research is dedicated to examining the interplay between disability and inclusion as it pertains to health systems, community engagement, and education using a socio-cultural lens to examine disability.

Themes

News

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation (Chicago, USA)

 

Conference Organising Activity

  • Member of the executive planning committee for the Scottish Learning Disability Nurse Conference (Scotland)
  • Member of the excutive planning committee for the Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) II Annual Consensus Conference (USA)
  • Member of the executive planning committee for Rectech's 2nd State of the Science Conference on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities (USA)
  • Member of the executive planning committee for the Eastern Canadian Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium (ECSEPS) (Canada)

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • British Journal of Learning Disabilities Recognition Award
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Supervisor for Research
  • Above & Beyond Award for Inclusive Research, Teaching, and Community Practice (Short Listed)
  • Above & Beyond Award Nominee for Leadership at ENU
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Lecturer
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Academic Support
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK)
  • EMERG10 Conference: First Place for Poster Presentation (UK)
  • Nursing Programme of the Year Award (UK)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Dual Diagnosis at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto, Canada)
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Dissertation Impact Award (USA)
  • PhD Student Achievement Award from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois, USA)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychiatry (Toronto, Canada)
  • PhD Scholarship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois, USA)

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited Speaker at the Reform of Adults with Incapacity Law: Addressing Challenges at the Centre for Mental Health Practice, Policy, and Law Research (Scotland, UK)
  • Invited Speak at the School of Nursing at Ontario Tech University (Toronto, Canada)
  • Invited Speaker at Balgreen Primary School to speak to children about disability and inclusion
  • Invited Speaker at the Manager Care Networks, Physical Activity and Inclusion Workshop (Scotland, UK)
  • Invited Speaker at the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Invited Speaker at the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Invited Speaker at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, USA)

 

Membership of Professional Body

  • International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IASSIDD)
  • The Institute of Mental Health
  • Disability Health Equity Research Network
  • Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG)
  • Midwest Roybal Center of Health Promotion and Translation
  • American Public Health Association (APHA) Disability Section Leadership Team
  • Eastern Canadian Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium (ECSEPS)

 

Non-executive Directorship

  • Board Member of Get2gether (non-profit disability organization) (Scotland)
  • Chair of the Academic Council for Accessible Curriculum Development (Ireland)
  • Midwest Roybal Center of Health Promotion and Translation (USA)

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Lead of the Community Engagement Project: Our Rights, Our Community. A human rights approach to capture the lived experiences of people with learning disabilities as they meaningfully engage in the community (£5000, ENU).
  • Co-Lead of the Community Engagement Project: The Appletree Community: A narrative approach to integrated community living for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (£4250, ENU).
  • Lead of Community Engagement Project: Fitness Centres inclusive or exclusive? Understanding how people with learning disabilities can meaningfully participate at fitness centres: Part 2 (£1500, ENU).
  • Lead of Community Engagement Project: Fitness Centres inclusive or exclusive? Understanding how people with learning disabilities can meaningfully participate at fitness centres (£4800, ENU).
  • Co-Lead of workshop: Likes, dislikes, supports and barriers: The experience of students with disabilities in university in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin.
  • Co-Lead of Public Engagement Project: Helping students with intellectual disabilities engage in STEM. Trinity College Dublin.

 

Reviewing

  • Peer Review for the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities (USA)
  • Internal Course Moderator for The Development of Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Louise Malone. Professionals Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Course Moderator for The Authentic Classroom and the Hidden Curriculum at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Course Moderator for the Early Intervention Masters Programme at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Moderator for the Bachelors of Nursing Programme (Learning Disability) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Peer Reviewer for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Internal Reviewer for Ciara McMakin. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Intenral Reviewer for Ruth Malone. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Stephanie Bowe. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Rosanna Hergueta Rodriquez. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities (USA)
  • Peer Reviewer for Inclusion (USA)
  • Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

 

Visiting Positions

  • Adjunct Professor, School of Health and Human Performance, Faculty of Health Professionals (Halifax, Canada)

 

Date


31 results

Proposal For New Certificate Course: Level 5 Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice

Other
Spassiani, N. Proposal For New Certificate Course: Level 5 Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice

)
Spassiani, N. Proposal For New Certificate Course: Level 5 Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice
Accredited Curriculum Development Spassiani, N.A. & the Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice Co-ordinating Committee. (2016). The Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied P...

Evaluating the Implementation of Health Checks for Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Primary Care: The Importance of Organizational Context

Journal Article
Durbin, J., Selick, A., Casson, I., Green, L., Spassiani, N., Perry, A., & Lunsky, Y. (2016)
Evaluating the Implementation of Health Checks for Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Primary Care: The Importance of Organizational Context. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 54(2), 136-150. https://doi.org/10.1352/1934-9556-54.2.136
Compared to other adults, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities have more health issues, yet are less likely to receive preventative care. One strategy that h...

“Teaches People That I'm More Than a Disability”: Using Nominal Group Technique in Patient-Oriented Research for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Sawyer, A. R., Chacra, M. S. A., Koch, K., Muñoz, Y. A., & Lunsky, Y. (2016)
“Teaches People That I'm More Than a Disability”: Using Nominal Group Technique in Patient-Oriented Research for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 54(2), 112-122. https://doi.org/10.1352/1934-9556-54.2.112
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have complex healthcare needs, which are often unmet. Nominal group technique (NGT) uses a mixed-methods app...

An evaluation of the Jacksonville developmental center closure

Report
Vasudevan, V., Lulinski, A., Heller, T., Owen, R., Rizzolo, M. K., Spassiani, N., …Friedman, C. (in press)
An evaluation of the Jacksonville developmental center closure. The Illinois Department of Public Health
In January 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced his rebalancing initiative in an effort to move away from institutionally-based services toward community-based support...

Exploring How Knowledge Translation Can Improve Sustainability of Community-based Health Initiatives for People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Parker Harris, S., & Hammel, J. (2016)
Exploring How Knowledge Translation Can Improve Sustainability of Community-based Health Initiatives for People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 29(5), 433-444. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12202
Community-based health initiatives (CBHI) play an important role in maintaining the health, function and participation of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (...

Stigma: Barriers to Culture and Identity for People With Intellectual Disability

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., & Friedman, C. (2014)
Stigma: Barriers to Culture and Identity for People With Intellectual Disability. Inclusion, 2(4), 329-341. https://doi.org/10.1352/2326-6988-2.4.329
This exploratory article examines disability culture and identity for people with intellectual disability. In doing so, we argue that the stigma around intellectual disability...

Sustaining Community Health Initiatives for People Aging with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Thesis
Spassiani, N. Sustaining Community Health Initiatives for People Aging with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. (Dissertation)
University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/3596286
People with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) are more likely to experience the aging process earlier and at a more rapid rate than individuals without I/DD. Ther...

Understanding Youths’ Experiences in a Holistic Weight Management Program

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Jeffery-Tosoni, S., Fraser-Thomas, J., & Kuk, J. (2012)
Understanding Youths’ Experiences in a Holistic Weight Management Program. Journal of youth development, 7(2), 19-26. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2012.137
Given elevated levels of overweight/obesity among today’s youth (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008), and associated negative physical, emotional, and psychologic...

Gatekeepers of Gerontological Research: A Pilot Study Investigating Factors Influencing Research Compliance

Journal Article
Bailey, K. A., Baker, J., Spassiani, N. A., & Meisner, B. A. (2012)
Gatekeepers of Gerontological Research: A Pilot Study Investigating Factors Influencing Research Compliance. Research on Aging, 34(5), 499-506. https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027512444290
Gerontological studies note research noncompliance as a limitation of their results; however, few investigations focus on ways to minimize noncompliance. Additionally, older a...

Integrating Mental Skills into a Physical Activity Program for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities Intégration des capacités intellectuelles à un programme d'activité physique pour les enfants et les adolescents ayant une déficience intellectuelle

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., & Fraser-Thomas, J. L. (2011)
Integrating Mental Skills into a Physical Activity Program for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities Intégration des capacités intellectuelles à un programme d'activité physique pour les enfants et les adolescents ayant une déficience intellectuelle. Revue phénEPS, 3(3),
Past studies have found physical activity (PA) programs can be effective in promoting mental skills; however, no research has examined a PA program that incorporates mental sk...

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Including university students with intellectual disability in STEM. Trinity College Dublin (€ 1500.00 EUR)
  • Likes, dislikes, supports and barriers: the experience of students with disabilities in university in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin (€1000.00 EUR)
  • Developing a numeracy module for students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. Trinity College Dublin (€ 1500.00 EUR)
  • Sustaining Community Health Initiatives for People Aging with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. Pilot Grant Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation, National Institute on Aging, ($12,500.00 USD).

Current Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Primary Supervisor for Steven Green. Masters in Business (Health Management) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Suzanne Maynard. Masters in Business (Health Management) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Kennisha Powell. Masters in Business at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Brock Clancy. Masters in Business at ENU. (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Caroline Patton. Masters in Nursing at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Internal Reviewer for Clement Ryan. PhD in Education. Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Second Supervisor for Brittany Barbara. Masters of Arts at Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada)