Zoë Clark

I was just 14 years old when I decided to become an osteopath, drawn by the opportunity to positively impact patients’ lives and become part of a diverse, welcoming profession. I have always valued and related to the Institute of Osteopathy’s (iO) strategic goals to support, unite, develop and promote the profession for the benefit of the public. I recognise the challenges that currently face the profession, including reduced student numbers and the diverse views qualified osteopaths hold of how the future of osteopathy should progress. I am keen to ensure that the profession progresses as a united community, so that future generations have even more opportunities than I have had. As such, I was driven to undertake the Osteopathic Development Group Leadership Programme in 2019 to enhance my skills and pursue future opportunities to contribute to the advancement of the profession. I can use these techniques in representing the varied views and identities of UK osteopaths, ensuring that iO policy and implementation fairly represents the entire profession.

I am a Masters degree educated osteopath with extensive experience working with patients, clinicians and organisations. Further to my experience in project managing the development of my own osteopathic and education businesses, my ability to communicate clearly and effectively, build stakeholder relationships and work strategically in my role in the charitable sector all lead me to believe I am the ideal candidate for this Council position.

I am highly driven and able to work independently or within a larger team, with significant experience in building and nurturing relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including clinicians within the NHS and private practice, osteopaths, organisations, policy makers and the public. For example, during COVID-19 restrictions I joined a panel of experts to review the iO guidance on clinic infection control procedures prior to publication. Furthermore, as Self-Management Programme Officer for the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) I have collaborated with healthcare professionals and patients on the development of a national axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) Self-Management Programme. An abstract presenting the pilot programme findings has been accepted for me to present at the British Society for Spondyloarthritis Annual Scientific Meeting 2021. Additionally, I collaborated with osteopathic colleagues, a consultant rheumatologist and a physiotherapist to publish an axial SpA Masterclass for the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (IJOM).

My role as NASS Self-Management Programme Officer has further developed my skills in working with other charities and organisations, as well as my knowledge of the UK healthcare system and the challenges the NHS is navigating. This insight and experience is beneficial for understanding where the osteopathic profession sits within the healthcare system and has given me skills to develop relationships with key stakeholders and policy developers. Furthermore, I am comfortable working within regulatory boundaries, achieving strategic goals within the constraints of resource availability, reviewing project progress and managing any potential conflicts of interest.

I pride myself on being able to communicate clearly and effectively across a range of media. Recent examples of this include: speaking at the NASS All-Party Parliamentary Group and being interviewed on Channel 5 News in January 2020; speaking at the iO Convention 2019; presenting live Facebook videos for the NASS self-management resources. Additionally, as Secretary of the Norfolk Osteopathic Society (NOS) I improved communication between members and group leadership, as well as engaged with organisations such as the GOsC and iO. While I can facilitate complex discussions through teleconferencing and other media, I am willing to travel across the UK to represent the iO to osteopaths, the public and other key stakeholders.

I demonstrate my excellent written communication skills in my role creating lectures and managing social media presence for Educate and Advocate Training, and publishing Continued Professional Development articles for Osteopathy Today.

I am very passionate in ensuring osteopathic education and treatment is accessible to all, as such I contributed to the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) consultations on Guidance for Osteopathic Pre-registration Education and Training and Standards for Education and Training (GOPRE) and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy consultations. I have collaborated with colleagues to create a scoping review on inclusivity and accessibility of undergraduate osteopathic education for students with a disability, published in IJOM recently.

Being motivated by managing complex projects, I co-founded Educate and Advocate Training, which creates and delivers Continued Professional Development resources to Allied Health Professionals. I also co-founded the East of England Osteopathic Conference. Through these organisations and as Secretary of NOS, I have demonstrated my administration and project management skills. For example, budget and contingency planning, managing financial risks, seeking and utilising feedback to create protocols for improvement, and maintaining a timeline for resources and event planning. My skills have been further developed in my business as an osteopath, for example managing patient confidentiality, financial record keeping and GDPR processes. I recognise the importance of maintaining the highest professional standards and consistently pursue further training to develop my personal and professional skills.

I appreciate that the successful candidate would find themselves in a crucial role and I feel my considerable experience and personal attributes would make me an asset to the organisation. I would greatly appreciate the chance to join the iO to contribute towards achieving and furthering the vision to ensure a strong, united osteopathic profession to promote public health for all.

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