Catherine O’Keeffe

Catherine O’Keeffe (MPhil Education 2005) – Executive Director of Programmes, Mildmay International

Catherine graduated from The University of Manchester in 1985 with a BNurs, RGN, RHV and DNcert. Shortly after graduating, Catherine went to work in Honduras and Guatemala running primary healthcare programmes for a small charity.  During this time she first became aware of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and was particularly concerned by the plight of those who, due to stigma, were marginalised and unable to receive even basic care.  She worked to help set up hospices in both countries to care for those in need.

On return to the UK Catherine took the opportunity to study for an MEd in Education for Primary Care at Manchester to help her consider the complexities of providing care in resource-limited settings. Further work in Thailand enabled Catherine to apply the theories she had explored on the MEd to developing community based approaches to HIV care.

In 1997, Catherine joined Mildmay International, a pioneering HIV charity, working with teams from the Ministry of Health in Kenya to develop an innovative model of home-based care. Building on her contacts with The University of Manchester, Catherine studied for an MPhil to research approaches to educating healthcare workers on HIV care. She also worked with the Department of Nursing to establish a degree programme now run by Mildmay in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The degree has raised awareness of the importance of educating healthcare professionals effectively in this region in ensuring people living with HIV receive the high standard of care they deserve. Her doctoral work explored how to support healthcare professionals living in Kenya who are themselves living with HIV.

Now working in London, Catherine continues to draw on her international HIV care and education expertise to teach and research in the field of education for healthcare professional through her role as a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Education at the Institute of Education and work with newly formed local education and training boards.

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