Our Executive Team

Dr Christopher Parker CBE, Managing Director

Dr Parker worked in the NHS for four years before being commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1985.

During 28 years in uniform, his duties took him to Europe, Russia, north and central America, the Middle East, Africa and south Asia.  He accredited as a consultant in occupational medicine and served on operations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Also a graduate of the Army Staff College and the Royal College of Defence Studies, he filled many senior leadership roles. These included Chief of Staff of the Army Medical Directorate, Commandant of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and 12 months in Afghanistan as the medical adviser for the International Security Assistance Force.

Chris was awarded the OBE in 1998 and made a CBE in 2009. From 2010 until his retirement from the army he was a Queen’s Honorary Physician.

Email: christopher.parker@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07789 818900

Tony Davis, Commercial Director

Tony is the Commercial Director for the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN), a partnership bringing together NHS commissioners and providers, academia and industry, uniquely placed to support the NHS in increasing its contribution to both health improvement and the economy. He also leads the wealth creation enabling theme. He was previously Executive Director of the WMAHSN on its establishment.

Before his role at the AHSN, Tony launched Medilink West Midlands Ltd in 2003, with the aims of promoting the life sciences industry to government organisations and helping SMEs in the marketplace to grow their business. In 2005, he was appointed the first chair of Medilink UK.

Email: tony.davis@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07768 991725

Kevin Dunn, Operations Officer

Kevin graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in Business Management, and more recently completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He started his career in the NHS as a Youth Trainee in 1998. Since this time, he has gained experience mainly in the fields of information management, oncology, research and development and innovation management. 

He was one of the initial recruits to the National Cancer Research Network, and he designed one of the first databases for capturing and monitoring clinical trial recruitment data. With a passion for innovation, Kevin set up the first ever national cancer multidisciplinary team  for Ewing’s sarcomas.  He was formerly a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) GCP facilitator, and taught good clinical practice across the region for healthcare professionals and academics involved in clinical research.  In recognition of this, Kevin was invited to become a question setter and adjudicator for the Royal College of Physicians' Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.

As well as supporting strategy for the network, Kevin is responsible for the operational day-to-day management of the WMAHSN.

Email: kevin.dunn@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07827 978954

Lucy Chatwin, Business Manager

Lucy works alongside the clinical leads to drive sustainable service improvement in healthcare by empowering members and partners to collaborate at a regional level on adopting and disseminating research and innovation at pace and scale. 

Prior to joining the WMAHSN, Lucy spent seven years within a West Midlands acute trust in various roles, but predominantly as the Head of Transformation, leading on the service improvement initiatives across the trust and the local health economy. 

Email: lucy.chatwin@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07801 052143

Neil Mortimer, Business Manager

Neil’s role is to identify and support beneficial innovations that can be spread quickly across the region, particularly in the areas of digital and mental health. Working alongside NHS, industry, academic and patient organisations, he fosters collaborative partnerships and helps innovators and adopters to access support and funding to drive health improvement and economic benefits to the region.

Following a 10 year management career in the leisure and hospitality industry, Neil worked in the NHS for 19 years. He was the manager of one of England’s first GP Commissioning Groups, and subsequently CEO of an NHS Primary Care Group in Birmingham.  He went on to establish and lead the Whole Systems Programme for NHS Midlands and East of England, which oversaw a range of innovative IT-enabled service transformations involving primary and secondary care within the NHS and the private sector.

Email: neil.mortimer@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07887 506198

Sarah Appleby, Mental Health Programme Lead

Sarah’s role is to support the development of identified opportunities for innovations and their scale and spread across the West Midlands, primarily in mental health and learning disabilities. She is responsible for the overall programme management of the mental health and learning disabilities innovation portfolio, facilitating partnership working with NHS providers, universities, business and healthcare industry organisations.

Following several positions, primarily in administration, within both the private and public sectors in Australia and in the UK, Sarah commenced working within Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services in the NHS in 2003. Sarah has a strong background in programme and project management of workforce development programmes for the Mental Health Transformation Theme (previously the Mental Health Institute LETC) group of trusts across the West Midlands. In addition, she was involved in the promotion, spread and adoption of apprenticeships and assistant practice, and more recently was involved in the development of healthcare-related apprenticeship job standards.  

Email: sarah.appleby@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07733 310617

Elaine Russell, Prevention and Self Care Lead

Elaine's role is to address the opportunities offered by innovation to address prevention and self care across the range of health services and settings, working in partnership with our stakeholders to build in prevention strategies, while also delivering secondary prevention around self care, particularly for long term conditions.

Having worked in the voluntary sector as a provider, Elaine joined the NHS in 2008 leading on the bWell Birmingham programme, before moving on to develop the West Midlands Fit for Work programme.  Since 2011, Elaine has been based in Coventry, where she has been the commissioner for public health.  

Email: elaine.russell@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07467 337994

Tammy Holmes, Innovation and Adoption Programme Manager

Tammy works as the Innovation and Adoption Programme Manager with the aim of developing and managing an innovation and adoption service and network across the West Midlands.

Prior to the AHSN, she has worked in the NHS for approximately 17 years within a range of NHS roles and organisations. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and Masters in Applied Health Research, both of which had a heavy focus on change and adoption in the NHS. Her roles with the Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland CLAHRC and NHS have enabled her to gain experience in the development of local innovation services and she has always had a keen interest in capacity and capability development. Tammy has developed key skills for working across the NHS, academia and the commercial sector to broker relationships and develop collaborative projects and is always keen to develop her skills and share her passion with others. 

Email: tammy.holmes@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07921 567076

Amy Boulton, Opportunities and Programmes Co-Ordinator

Amy supports the delivery of WMAHSN programmes through to implementation. Her previous role was as Innovation Facilitator at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, where she helped build and support a large portfolio of innovation projects. Prior to beginning a career in the NHS, Amy travelled and worked in Australia for two years after leaving her previous role in the manufacturing industry to go travelling. She has a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, which provided the basis for her interest in working with the NHS to help challenge traditional ways of working and encourage the adoption of innovative solutions. 

Email: amy.boulton@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07553 544637

Peter Jeffries, Patient Safety Programme Manager

Peter joined WMAHSN after working at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Trust as the Chief Medical Officer’s Senior Projects Manager. He was part of the team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital working on safety in clinical handover as part of the Health Foundation’s Safer Clinical System Programme.

He has worked in acute trusts in the West Midlands since 1997 in a number of roles, including in operational management, strategy and service improvement. Peter has programme and project managed a number of significant service improvement, quality and safety projects. As well as leading on patient safety for WMAHSN, he is also one of the first cohort of 250 Q Fellows, who will be working on the co-design of the Q Initiative.

Email: peter.jeffries@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07866 589235

Helen Hunt, Assistant Patient Safety Programme Manager

Helen has worked in the NHS acute care setting for 16 years in various roles. During her tenure, she has undertaken multiple roles, starting with front line patient-facing positions right up to senior management positions overseeing large departments. These positions have covered a large cross section of NHS landscape including cancer services, operational management, health informatics and R&D. Helen is a trained as Prince 2 practitioner and has also trained in human factors. 

Email: helen.hunt@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07554 117139

Ann Abbassi, Quality Improvement and Human Factors Facilitator

Ann has a clinical background in perioperative care which spans more than 20 years. Her roles have included theatre practitioner, clinical nurse specialist and various operating theatre management roles within the NHS and private sector. Over the past decade, Ann has focused her interests specifically towards patient safety, quality improvement and human factors. More recent roles have included a secondment with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and TeamSTEPPS programme lead and she is a member of the founding cohort of the Q Initiative. Ann is a committed lifelong learner and over the past year has completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Systems Improvement, as well as the TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer course.

Email: ann.abbassi@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07917 828147

Sarah Millard, Head of Communications and Engagement

Sarah gained an honours degree from the University of Manchester and completed a Masters degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Following several years in the public and academic library field, Sarah had a change of career when she became a journalist on a local weekly newspaper in her twenties. She made the move to communications in 2005, joining Sandwell Primary Care Trust, before moving to local government as Communications Manager. She then took up communications and engagement roles with NHS Birmingham East and North, eventually heading up the communications function as Senior Communications Manager, while undertaking occasional freelance journalism. Following a spell leading a business development and marketing team in the private medical sector, she moved to interim communications and marketing roles at a local acute trust and with two Staffordshire CCGs, before taking up her position with the WMAHSN in the summer of 2014. 

Email: sarah.millard@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07847 778112

Manish Patel, Communications Officer

Manish joined WMAHSN from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), spending three and a half years working as a Communications and Social Media Assistant. He was part of the communications team at the trust with responsibilities including monitoring and producing content for HEFT's social media channels, as well as producing external and internal content. He is now providing communications support for the West Midlands Patient Safety Collaborative, part of WMAHSN. .  

Manish has a bachelor's degree in journalism and graduated from Birmingham City University in 2011. During his time at university, Manish worked at BBC WM, Sky News, Watford Football Club and Warwickshire County Cricket Club in media roles. 

Email: manish.patel@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07825 060588

Farana Akhtar, Membership Co-ordinator

Farana previously worked for Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as an administrator for the Forward Thinking Birmingham Service. She has worked in the NHS for approximately 10 years within a range of NHS roles and organisations. Farana has an honours degree in Business Management and a Prince 2 practitioner certificate. She has also worked in the private sector as a Project Manager, managing a number of European projects and partnerships. Farana has been involved in the entire project lifecycle from assessing the application stage, to contracting, allocating budget, monitoring projects and supporting them right through to the end reporting in the final stage.    

Email: farana.akhtar@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Laura Boddy, Office Supervisor

Laura previously worked for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, as both a secretary and an office manager for the Clinical Genetics Department. Prior to that, she worked as a medical PA for the West London Mental Health NHS Trust and has approximately eight years’ experience of working with the NHS. During her time at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Laura obtained an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration. She also completed a part-time degree in Japanese and History at Birkbeck, University of London, with a dissertation focusing on mental health in Japan during the Edo period.

Email: laura.boddy@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Dr Paddie Murphy, EIT Health KIC Co-ordinator

Paddie leads involvement with the EIT Health Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), a large international consortium of industry, academic and public sector organisations across Europe which works together to develop innovative products and services to promote and enable healthy living and active ageing for the European citizen. Paddie has worked closely with these partners since 2013 and supported the development the proposal for funding, which was awarded through a competitive process in December 2014, as well as the setup phase in 2015. The programme of work is now underway and Paddie’s role is to ensure that the West Midlands makes the most of participation in this elite partnership.   

Paddie is the owner and director of PLMCS Limited, a small consultancy business established in 2004 and based in Warwickshire. She is a zoologist by training and has a background in research management and technology transfer, gained at the universities of Warwick and Birmingham. She has worked in the West Midlands for more than 20 years and takes great pride in representing the region at national and international level.

Email: paddie.murphy@wmahsn.org 

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07775 557032

Karen Morrey, EIT Health KIC Programme Manager 

Karen works as Programme Manager for EIT Health, which has the objectives of promoting healthy living, supporting active ageing and improving healthcare systems. This is a pan-European initiative, of which the UK and Ireland form one of the seven Co-location Centres.  Karen is taking a lead on GoGlobal, Business Plan Aggregator, Bootcamp and Local Training initiatives within the programme.

Prior to joining WMAHSN, Karen had a long history of working in the NHS in the West Midlands in a variety of operational, performance management, business development and planning functions.

Email: karen.morrey@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07811 261543

Diptyka Hart, West Midlands Regional Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist

Medicines optimisation forms the central theme in Lord Carter’s NHS review of Procurement and Efficiency Programme and until Diptyka's appointment, the West Midlands lacked a regional lead in procurement and as such, the region has failed to influence national procurement awards to regional needs. Diptyka's evolving role is to facilitate best value of medicines within the West Midlands, working cross-sector to effect change, recognising communication failures that lead to poor adherence and improving adherence to prescribed medicines.

Diptyka has been a qualified pharmacist for more than 25 years and has worked in a range of hospital pharmacy specialities, including medicines information, pharmacy governance and pharmacy clinical services management.  She has worked in many clinical fields including cardiology, critical care, infectious diseases, transplantation and paediatrics to name a few.  Most of her career has been based in London, but she has practised in the West Midlands for the last eight years. This is a challenging new role which she looks forward to developing, and will bring her clinical background to assist change in a new era of medicines.

Email: diptyka.hart@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Richard Devereaux Phillips, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Strategist

Richard joined the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) in June 2015 as Healthcare Policy Director, and has over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, most recently as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for North West Europe with Becton Dickinson.

Richard served from 2003 until 2013 as a member of the Technology Appraisal Advisory Committee of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and also on the Programme Advisory Group of the Healthcare Quality and Information Authority in Ireland. In November 2013, Richard was appointed as a non-Executive Director of South West AHSN and took over as its Chair in May 2015. He is a longstanding member of the Institute of Healthcare Management. 

Email: richard.phillips@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07711 046848

Ravi Kumar, Project and Partnership Manager for Innovative Health

Seconded from the Black Country Consortium, Ravi works two days a week on Innovative Health Working Group activities, including signposting, sharing information with members and identifying new collaboration and funding opportunities for activities that drive health innovation. 

Ravi joined the consortium in August 2014 as an Economic Development Co-ordinator, supporting collaborative partnership approaches across the Black Country, working with designated projects and identifying and bringing together capacity from within stakeholders. He is also the lead on Smart Specialisation, Horizon 2020 and ERDF. Ravi is also the Project Manager for the Black Country Local Broadband Plan, which involves working with a range of stakeholders, local authorities, BT and Broadband Delivery UK to ensure the successful implementation of super-fast broadband across the Black Country.

Previously, Ravi worked within the publishing, energy solutions and community banking industries. He’s an active volunteer and a qualified life coach, and enjoying helping others reach their potential.

Email: ravi.kumar@wmahsn.org

Office: 0121 371 8061

Mobile: 07824 415253

Dr Christopher Clowes, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands North)

As a student and member of staff, Chris previously worked in academic science at the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences. Here, Chris completed qualifications including BSc (Hons) Genetics, MRes Biological Sciences and a PhD in Genetics as well as being a Research Technician, Research Assistant and later a Postdoctoral Research Associate. During this time, Chris's research interests included investigating genetic mutations which cause cardiovascular developmental defects and helping to promote and accelerate both acute and chronic wound healing, where the latter also included helping to set up a phase I clinical trial.

Chris then moved into clinical research as a Clinical Trial Co-ordinator at the Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham. Chris then moved to the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust in the Research and Development Department as an Academic Development Officer, where he helped researchers in the trust to apply for grants and qualifications. Chris is now the Genomics Ambassador for the north of the West Midlands region, covering Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Email: Christopher.Clowes@uhnm.nhs.uk

Office: 01782 671939

Sean James, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands South) 

Sean is the West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre Ambassador for the south of the West Midlands region, covering Herefordshire, Warwickshire and Coventry. He shares information across all of the NHS trusts taking part in the programme, facilitating the recruitment of patients and enabling the networking between recruiting staff. 

He is a state registered Biomedical Scientist, with thirty years' experience in cellular pathology within the NHS. In 2009, he set up the biorepository at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and is currently responsible for the operational management of the now ethically approved biobank at the trust. The biobank now holds some 300,000 human tissue samples, and is the host and co-ordination centre for a major study into Barrett's oesophagus and its treatment.  

Sean has co-authored 20 peer-reviewed publications, stemming from his cellular pathology technical support of a diverse range of research groups at the University of Warwick. 

Email: sean.james@uhcw.nhs.uk

Office:  02476 968687 or 02476 965428

Charlotte Hitchcock, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands Central)

After varied careers in recruitment and in marketing, Charlotte entered nursing as a mature student, qualifying in 1995. She worked in theatres as a scrub nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and was involved in the establishment of the Liver Transplant team. Charlotte then moved to Norfolk, spending six years working as a senior theatre practitioner in the emergency theatres and during which she qualified as an operating department practitioner to achieve dual qualification.

Charlotte then moved to North Wales for two years as Assistant Lead Nurse, followed by a final move back to the midlands to become Theatre Manager at The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. Charlotte started work at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton in 2012, working in Clinical Informatics, prior to starting the exciting role as Genomics Ambassador covering Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Worcestershire.

Email: c.hitchcock@nhs.net

Office: 01902 447146

Mobile: 07342 074651