Sharma 200 x 266.jpgProfessor Surinder Sharma

Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Leicester

Professor Surinder Sharma is a key national figure in equality and human rights in the UK. He was appointed as the first National Director for Equality & Human Rights at the Department of Health and the National Health Service in October 2004. He chairs the Leicester Racial Equality Council and was appointed as an Alderman for the City of Leicester in September 2013. He has worked at the BBC Television, the Littlewoods Organisation and Ford Motor Company (Europe), and was a Commissioner at the Equal Opportunities Commission, where he chaired the Legal Committee. He co-chaired of the Conference Board European Work-Life & Diversity Forum, is a Trustee of UNICEF UK and chairs the National Governing Council of the Health & Social Care BME Staff Network.

He is a Member of the Ministry of Defence Diversity Advisory Panel, Member of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Equality Advisory Group, Council Member of Aston University (where he is Chair of the Ethics Sub-Group, a Member of the Audit and Nominations Committee), and was a Member of the Global Advisory Council at Novartis AG in Switzerland, where he was also a consultant to the company on Diversity and Inclusion. Surinder is the Visiting Fellow at the Unit for Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement (DICE) at the University of Leicester

raghavan 200 x 266.jpgProfessor Raghu Raghavan

Professor of Mental Health and Director of Mary Seacole Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester

The Mary Seacole Research Centre is nationally acclaimed for ethnicity and health research. Professor Raghu Raghavan’s expertise lies in participatory research with service users and family carers. He has published widely on cultural diversity and inclusion highlighting the barriers for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in accessing mental health and disability services.

Raghu has experience in working with national charities, Research Councils and European funding bodies. He was a UK partner on a European Commission funded collaborative project for developing web based training programmes for health and social are workers across six countries. He currently leads projects on:

  • Conceptualisation of dementia in minority ethnic communities – funded by NIHR East Midlands CLAHRC.
  • Perceptions of eating disorders in young people from South Asian community – funded by Leicester Partnership Trust.
  • Development of a toolkit for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community participation in research studies – funded by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group.

Raghu was instrumental in organising a conference in Leicester in 2014 to explore better mental health services for people from BAME communities in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. He is research advisor for Mental Health Action Trust in India and chaired a scientific panel which helped to organise an international conference on ‘Mental Health and Cultural Diversity’ at Leicester in June 2016.

thomson 200 x 266.jpgDr Louise Thomson

Head of Research Support and Evaluation, Institute of Mental Health, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and University of Nottingham

Dr Louise Thomson leads a small team of researchers who carry out commissioned evaluations of health and social care interventions and services using mixed methods, including analysis of large data sets, economic analysis, qualitative interviews and focus groups, documentary analysis, and systematic reviews. She project manages all the work. Current and recent projects include:

  • Leicester Ageing Together – local evaluator for Big Lottery funded programme
  • Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – evaluation of Managed Care Network, community-based service for mental health service users
  • Leeds & Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation NHS Trust – evaluation of personality disorder services and psychological therapies for offenders
  • Alzheimer’s Society – evaluation of dementia-friendly GP practice toolkit
  • Notts Healthcare Trust – evaluation of PRISM integrated care teams
  • Patient Safety Collaborative – evaluation of Leicestershire Improvement, Innovation and Patient Safety Unit

oreilly 200 x 266.jpgDr Michelle O’Reilly

Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester; Research Consultant for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Dr Michelle O'Reilly specialises in qualitative research investigating the lived experiences of children and families in the broad area of child mental health. Her dual role with the University of Leicester and the NHS has provided her with a range of opportunities to manage a range of many different projects, undertake various forms of qualitative analysis and examine key aspects of social interaction and communication in the area of child mental health. Specifically Michelle specialises in discourse and conversation analysis, and takes a language-based perspective on mental health. Additionally Michelle has extensive editing experience and has coordinated the publication of several large volumes of materials from international and national scholars. Recent relevant projects include:

  • A project funded in part by the Heart of England Hub and in part by the CLRN managed from inception to dissemination, examining the initial assessments of children presenting to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
  • A qualitative project exploring the lived experiences of unaccompanied refugee minors of outpatient and inpatient mental health services.
  • A mixed methods study with the University of Leicester’s Safety Unit funded by the Health Foundation to examine public sector failure to inform healthcare policy, engaging key stakeholders to learn lessons of quality in an age of austerity.
  • A qualitative study funded by LPT on the mechanisms clinicians use to diagnose co-morbidities in children diagnosed with ASD.

Michelle works across two departments in the university: the Department of Sociology and the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.

karim 200 x 266.jpgDr Khalid Karim

Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Leicester; Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Dr Khalid Karim is the lead on ASD at Leicestershire Trust and works clinically with children with the condition. He has published a book for parents and professionals on autism and mental health with Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Khalid has a general research interest in child mental health, particularly ASD, and is currently involved in a child psychiatry project, which is using CA to explore initial child mental health assessments in CAMHS.

Additionally, Khalid is currently working on a project funded by the Carlton Hayes charity, developing and evaluating information videos on autism in a range of languages, including Bengali, Gujurati, Urdu, Polish, Punjabi and English.

macintosh 200 x 266.jpgDr Nicola Macintosh

Associate Professor in Social Science Applied to Health at the University of Leicester

Dr Nicola Macintosh has a background in critical care nursing, and is a graduate of King’s College London. Since 2005 she has been a patient safety researcher working across maternity, emergency and acute care. Between 2008 and 2012 she worked in the NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality (PSSQ) Research Centre, leading ethnographic research exploring the management of complications in maternity and acute care including the role of safety tools and rapid response systems. During this time she also completed her PhD which examined the construct of ‘rescue’ and relationships between organisational systems, department and individual level processes in managing acute illness.

She led a process evaluation of an ICU telemedicine programme and then started a three-year post-doctoral fellowship within King’s Centre for Improvement Science, NIHR CLAHRC South London, to explore the implementation of health technologies to improve patient and family contributions to safety (specifically patient and family initiated escalation of emergency care). She has a particular interest in issues of voice, legitimacy and power in care delivery, and relationships between culture, ethnicity, language and patient safety. Her research also focuses on changing patient-provider relationships, use of technologies for self-diagnosis and self-monitoring, and digital inclusion / inequalities in maternal health.

williams 200 x 266.jpgDr Oliver Williams

Research Associate at the University of Leicester

After completing undergraduate and master’s degrees at Loughborough University, in 2010 Dr Oliver Williams undertook a PhD in the University of Leicester’s Department of Sociology. His doctoral research was an ethnography of health promotion (particularly the promotion of physical activity) in a deprived neighbourhood. He graduated in July 2015 at which point he was already working at the University of Abertay Dundee as a Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health. He subsequently secured a NIHR CLAHRC West Dan Hill Fellowship in Health Equity hosted by the University of Bath between 2016-2017. He returned to the University of Leicester in 2017 to join the SAPPHIRE Group to conduct ethnographic research centrally concerned with the roles of PPI and research evidence in the design and delivery of local health services.

His research more generally focuses on health inequalities. He engages with the disparity in opportunity and possibility presented to people throughout British society. He is particularly interested in the experiences of those living in deprived areas and is critical of the current conceptualisation of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ and its promotion as a set of individual choices. He is committed to using research for social change which promotes equitable outcomes. As part of this endeavour he co-founded the art collective Act With Love (AWL). AWL work collaboratively to produce work that challenges inequality and injustice.


Professor Martin Halliwell 

Head of the School of Arts and Professor of American Studies

University of Nottingham

Martin is Head of the School of Arts at the University of Leicester, a School that combines the former departments of English, Modern Languages and History of Art & Film. As Professor of American Studies his research focuses primarily on the history and culture of mental health in the United States, but he is also interested in transatlantic crosscurrents in the health sciences, global health and community health. Among his books are two volumes in a trilogy with Rutgers University Press: Therapeutic Revolutions: Medicine, Psychiatry, and American Culture, 1945–1970 (2013) and Voices of Mental Health: Medicine, Politics, and American Culture, 1970–2000 (2017). The third volume in this trilogy will focus on biotechnology and mental health, but currently he is working on a book project on health crises. He is a member of the Cross-Research Council Mental Health Experts Group and Co-lead for New Health Agendas in the Social Sciences and Humanities strand of the University of Leicester’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund. He is also Chair of the English Association, Co-Chair of the Arts and Humanities Alliance, and European Ambassador for the British Association for American Studies.

More information about Martin can be found at:

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