Anglia Ruskin Professor receives OBE honour

Published: 4 January 2016 at 16:25

Professor Helen Odell Miller

Helen Odell-Miller recognised in New Year’s Honours for services to music therapy

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Professor Helen Odell-Miller has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to music therapy.

Professor Odell-Miller is Professor of Music Therapy and Director of the Music for Health Research Centre at Anglia Ruskin University, which was the first UK university to offer a Masters course on the subject.

Her research and clinical work has contributed to establishing music therapy as a profession.  She has published and lectured widely, and has been a keynote speaker at many national and international conferences.  

Professor Odell-Miller has always maintained her identity as a practising music therapist, whilst at the same time continuing to oversee the development of a pioneering research department that has achieved worldwide impact. 

As well as delivering the first randomised control feasibility trial in music therapy for people with dementia in the UK, she has also conducted significant research in the area of music therapy and adult mental health, most recently with people with personality disorders.   

Professor Odell-Miller said:

“I am honoured to receive this award and hope through it I can continue to work with colleagues to further music therapy clinical research and access to it, where needs are greatest. 

“I have always worked with excellent colleagues and thank them all for their innovation, enthusiasm and motivation.  Most especially, I thank patients and clients with whom I have worked, at Anglia Ruskin University, in the NHS and in the Music Therapy and other Allied Health Professions generally. 

“I would also like to thank my family and friends; these strong relationships have enabled me to do all the work recognised through this award.”

Professor Michael Thorne, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“Helen’s honour is richly deserved.  She has been instrumental in establishing Anglia Ruskin’s world-leading music therapy department, and her research and teaching have been an inspiration for so many music therapists now working across the UK and further afield.”

Ben Saul, Chair of the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT), said:

“Helen has always spoken with great fervour about the value and potential of music therapy and her energies have encouraged many people from diverse backgrounds to become engaged with music therapy.” 

Throughout her career Professor Odell-Miller has made valuable contributions to a variety of national strategies, and held many roles such as Advisor to the Department of Health.  She is currently leading BAMT’s conversations with government and other national stakeholders, to raise awareness of the benefits of music therapy with people with dementia. 

Meanwhile Professor Peter Matthews, a Visiting Fellow at Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, has been awarded a CBE for services to environmental management.  Professor Matthews, who is chairman of Natural Resources Wales, received an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin in 1995.