Kristy Coxon

Kristy Coxon: Balancing mobility, independence and safety for older drivers

Meet Kristy Coxon, a PhD student at The George Institute working on the project to balance mobility, independence and safety for older drivers.

How long have you been working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

I commenced a PhD with the Injury Division at The George Institute at the beginning of 2012.

What attracted you to working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

It was the project that attracted me to The George Institute.  I was looking to do a PhD in the area of older people, safety and independence.  The older driver project was a perfect match to my interests and fit well with my professional background as an occupational therapist.

What are you currently working on?

I am in the final stages of writing up my PhD. The focus of the research is safe mobility for older people and we are investigating whether an individualised safe-transport program can enhance self regulation, while preserving community participation, among older drivers living in the community. 

What is a recent highlight?  

In January this year I presented a paper at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC.  It was the largest meeting/conference that I have ever attended with other 12,000 delegates from places all around the globe.  Being part of the international conversation on safe mobility for older people was a valuable experience, and excellent networking opportunity.

What is your professional background?

I am an occupational therapist by background.  I have worked in a variety of clinical, management and education positions throughout my career and currently teach on the occupational therapy program at The University of Western Sydney.  I always thought I would work with children when I graduated, but quickly discovered that I loved working in aged care and rehabilitation and have spent most of my career working in these areas.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

Great people to work with, excellent research training opportunities, and I enjoyed working with others who are passionate about advancing health and quality of life through research.

To explain to people what I do I say….

I am researching ways to help keep people safe and independently mobile in later life. 

 I work at The George Institute/ George Clinical because…

I am completing my PhD with The George Institute because students are very well supported, and there are excellent research training opportunities.

To unwind at the end of the day I…

I love to bake, not cook - that’s a chore! I also enjoy boot-camp, swimming and spending time with my children.

My first job was…

I have always enjoyed working with older people.  While I was studying occupational therapy at university, I worked as a personal care assistant and activity co-ordinator in a hostel at a large retirement village.  Being 18 years of age, it was like having 92 grandparents!

My biggest achievement so far…

Apart from my three beautiful children, and managing to juggle life as a mum and PhD student, my biggest achievement so far on this PhD journey would be my publication in the Journal of the American Society of Geriatrics exploring the predictors of driving exposure among older drivers.