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key Dr Derek Roger

drderekrogerDr Derek Roger qualified originally in Clinical Psychology. He completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Exeter in England, and was appointed to the Psychology Department at the University of York in 1977. The Department of Psychology at the University of York is internationally recognised as a highly prestigious centre of research excellence, and the Stress Research Unit which Derek directed there was one of the foremost specialised stress research centres in the UK.

Derek initiated an innovative programme of research on stress and health at York in 1980, drawing on his expertise in personality and psychometrics as well as his clinical experience. The research was funded over the years by grants totalling 240,000 (NZ$700,000), awarded by a range of European funding bodies. The findings have been published in over 120 journal articles, books and conference papers, including a number of invited keynote presentations and a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Stress (2000 - Academic Press). The Stress Research Unit funded programmes for a number of Research Fellows as well as attracting visiting researchers from the USA, Canada, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Russia. Derek has supervised more than 25 Ph.D. students, and was Visiting Professor in Psychology at the University of Palma in 2000.

Derek left the University of York as Reader in Psychology in 2003, when he and his wife moved to New Zealand. The research programme is ongoing, and he currently holds an Adjunct Associate Professorship at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch as well as a Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of York in England.

Derek's research findings contradicted much of the received wisdom about stress and stress management, and in the early 1980s he began to work with the Police Force in the North of England to develop a practical training programme based on his work. This resulted in a unique and revolutionary system for managing stress entitled the The Challenge of Change. Having a research programme running in parallel meant that the effectiveness of the new training could be rigorously tested, and evidence from carefully controlled studies have shown significant changes in health, performance and sickness-absence that have been sustained over 18-month follow-ups.

In 1992 the Work Skills Centre (WSC) consultancy was established to provide a vehicle for marketing the training. The Centre operates as a partnership, and has a number of accredited associates. The WSC quickly established itself as a major provider of stress management expertise in the UK, and the training has been implemented in a wide range of public and private sector companies there. For example, the WSC is a Preferred Provider of training to the BBC across the UK, and forms part of core training in the National Health Service in the Yorkshire region, where it is given to all newly-appointed medical consultants. Derek's work on stress and stress management has been reported on in all of the major UK news media, and featured prominently in the BBC's Radio 4 'Patient Progress' series on stress and health.

The Work Skills Centre continues to operate in the UK under a European license granted to a group of associates. It has also now been established in New Zealand, and the Challenge of Change has been implemented in a range of New Zealand companies, including Meridian Energy, Caltex, Bridgestone NZ and Ravensdown Fertilizers.

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