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Karen Sage

Professor Karen Eleanor Gracey Sage PhD

Professor for Allied Health Professions (Research)


Karen Sage worked as an NHS speech and language therapist for 12 years in Burnley, Liverpool and Northumberland, before moving to the University of Manchester. She completed her Psychology PhD part-time at the University of York. After two years as the Director of the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit (Southmead hospital), she moved to Sheffield Hallam University to take up a new post promoting and enabling allied health professions research. Her primary research interests are based around adults with acquired communication disorders (including aphasia) and she has experience of experimental, case series, qualitative and large trial study methods.

  • About

    After completing a BA in languages (French and Spanish), I trained as a speech and language therapist at City University, London, after which I took up my first NHS post in Burnley, Lancashire, followed by specialist neurology work at the Royal Liverpool Hospital before moving to Northumberland where I had a mixed adult caseload, including people with Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, dementia, voice and cancer of the head and neck. In 1996, I moved to the University of Manchester providing teaching and learning on aphasia, language processing, neuropsychology, research methods and clinical practice.

    Since completing my PhD in psychology at the University of York, my aim has been to encourage other clinical therapists to undertake research so that allied health professionals can build a ground-swell of qualified, competent clinical researchers who investigate their area of practice to improve the health and wellbeing of their clients. My publications and research funding reflect my aim to recruit and publish with therapists. Clinically applied research (like its partner clinical practice) requires the therapist researcher to understand and use a variety of research methods and I encourage the use of whatever methods fit the research (quantitative as well as qualitative). AHP research also benefits from engaging in big data set studies as well as longitudinal cohort studies.

    I am keen to assist therapists in obtaining grant income to provide the space to undertake their research (and if they wish, to acquire a higher degree). To that end, I have been successful in gaining funding from the Stroke Association, the Health Foundation, National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the Dunhill Medical Trust as well as MRC and ESRC.

    Additionally, I work, in Spanish, alongside colleagues in Spain (Malaga, Oviedo, Valencia and Madrid) and Chile (Talca and Santiago de Chile).

    Orchid Profile

    Google Scholar

    Specialist areas of interest

    treatment and long term adjustment, stroke, rehabilitation, learning and behaviour change after acquired neurological damage
    dementia, particularly those affecting language and communication (eg semantic dementia, primary progressive aphasia)

  • Teaching

    Allied Health Professions

    Health And Wellbeing

  • Research

    • Centre for Health and Social Care Research
  • Publications

  • Other activities

    Honorary clinical contract with Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust

    Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Research advisor and research champion

    Co-Chair: RCSLT Clinical Excellence Network (CEN): North West Aphasia

    COST EU Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CAT) Working group 3 Predictors and prognosis

    Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) : member of the professoriate

    External examiner: City, University of London - External Examiner for MRes Clinical Research and MSc in Health Services Research

  • Postgraduate supervision

    2013 - 2018: Stroke Association Junior Fellowship: 'Evaluating the impact of therapeutic alliance between the rehabilitation clinician and stroke survivor; focus on the speech and language therapist and the person with aphasia'

    2015 - 2018: Stroke Association Junior Fellowship: 'The Cognitive and Neurobiological Mechanisms Underpinning Jargon Aphasia and Perseveration'

    Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development and the Rotterdam Neurorehabilitation Research (RoNeRes) consortium: Exploratory study into the effects of conversation training on all stakeholders when the partners of people with aphasia have received the training

    ESRC: Applying therapies and technologies to the treatment of dysgraphia: combining neuropsychological techniques and compensatory devices to enhance use of writing via the internet

    NIHR: Extending and evaluating conversation-focused therapy: Optimizing the ability of couples where one partner has aphasia to cope with conversation.

    Stroke Association Junior Fellowship: Improving the talk of speakers with non-fluent aphasia: Evaluating the combination of impairment-focused therapy and interaction therapy

    Stroke Association Junior Fellowship: Revealing the neural basis of semantic memory: its breakdown in Wernicke’s aphasia

    Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) Re-learning in semantic dementia

    Gatsby Foundation: Charting the recovery of reading in CVA

    MRC: Testing and applying contemporary models of language to relearning in stroke aphasia

    Stroke Association Junior Fellowship. Errorless learning as a treatment applied to verb and sentence production in aphasia

    Health Foundation studentship: An investigation into errorless learning as a therapy for anomia

    ESRC: An investigation into lexical therapy for anomia

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