Otago Polytechnic

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Researcher profile for Mary Butler

Research Outputs

Mary Butler



Professor Mary Butler is passionate about doing research that is relevant and makes a difference to people. Her research interests respond to the needs of people with disability and to the needs of the students who will go on to serve them as occupational therapists.

This means that her research lies within the spectrum of knowledge translation and social innovation. For example, her response to the lack of services for people with vision impairment has led to a whole series of projects developing toolkits that enable clinicians to do simple tasks that can make a difference. Recent examples include lighting, vision screening and vision simulation.

She has a passion for practical ethics and this has formed part of her response to bicultural research and also to enabling students to recognise and respond to ethical dilemmas.

Her favourite activity is supervising research students who are growing their own research profile from a base in a particular clinical passion. She has a particular capacity for helping students to align their personal and professional interests. The list of research students that she has supervised is long and diverse. Recent student work has included work on poverty; palliative care; ethics; self regulation; low vision; mobility scooters; marketing; mental health; self-assessment processes.

Mary obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Edinburgh University and has a Master’s degree in Anthropology and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Otago. She did her postdoctoral research at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.

She is an active member of a number of institutional committees, including the Otago Polytechnic Ethics Committee, Program Approvals Committee, Staff Subcommittee, Internal Evaluation team, School Ethicist for Occupational Therapy and a member of the Research and Postgraduate Committee. Within the wider community, she serves as a Board member of the Vision Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa

You can learn more about Prof Butler at: marybutler.org
ORCID: 0000-0003-3365-8995

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