Coordinating centre role and staff
The coordinating centre manages the Mental Health Research Network on behalf of the Department of Health and provides specialist support and guidance to our eight regional offices (hubs). We are accountable to the Department of Health for the MHRN’s performance – recruiting to studies on time and to target – and for the use of resources, particularly finance.
Our role is also to communicate about the MHRN’s activities to both people who are involved in the studies we support and to the public, including people who may like to get involved in research.
We provide specialist support and guidance to industry, about information systems, and about patient and public involvement in research.
The majority of the coordinating centre staff are based at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and some are based at the University of Manchester in Preston.
Joanne Ashcroft, assistant director
Thomas Kabir, service users in research coordinator
Mahesh Kataria, finance manager
Amandeep Singh, IS manager
Megan Rees, carer and public engagement coordinator
Belinda Trengove-Jones, deputy assistant director (non-commercial)
Carly Cooper, deputy assistant director
Saffra Knox, deputy assistant director (commercial)
Jozella Mearhart, workforce development lead
Post currently vacant, portfolio assistant
Rina Frankiel, administrative assistant
Lisa Doughty, executive assistant
Joanne is responsible for the day-to-day running of the MHRN. She is the bridge between the Executive Committee and staff based both within the coordinating centre and at the eight regional offices (hubs). She is also responsible for managing the MHRN’s patient and public involvement activities, which include the work of Service Users in Research and FACTOR.
Joanne joined the MHRN in 2004. She recently completed and submitted an MBA dissertation entitled How clinical researchers plan the recruitment phase of clinical research studies: are there lessons to be learnt? Joanne's background is in nursing: she qualified as a registered nurse in 1984 and held a variety of posts until she specialised in intensive/critical care, where she worked for eight years, first as a staff nurse, then as a sister. In 2001, she was seconded to the Intensive Care Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) and worked on the first UK multi-centre non-commercial study in intensive care. The PAC-Man study examined the use of pulmonary artery catheters in intensive care units and recruited more than1000 participants: the results were published in the Lancet (2005, 366: 472-477).
Dr Thomas Kabir is from London and is a scientist by background. He was a mental health advocate in the capital for three years. He is also involved in the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme for London.
Mahesh is a chartered accountant with more than 20 years of extensive experience in both the private and public sector. He has been finance manager in the MHRN coordinating centre since August 2006. He previously worked as finance manager for the London Business School and has also worked for various NHS Trusts in short-term roles. Before coming to the UK in 2004, he worked in South Africa as finance manager of Big 4 International Accounting and for auditing firms like Ernst & Young and KPMG.
Amandeep Singh has been working for the MHRN for the past 4 years as an E-Science Officer and is now the IS Manager. In his role as an E-Science Officer he provided IT and Information Governance support to various studies. For the North West Hub he created recruitment and RAG rating reports and updated information on the ReDA system as well as providing general IT support. He has also contributed on many national projects and is a member of the NIHR Learning Taskforce. He graduated in 2002 with a BSc Hons in multimedia design.
Megan has been with the MHRN since December 2012 as the PPI Coordinator for the two local MHRN offices in London. Since her appointment to her current role in September 2013, her main responsibility has been to facilitate the involvement of carers and the wider public in mental health research across England.
Belinda Trengove-Jones is the Deputy Assistant Director (non-commercial) at the Coordinating Centre. She was previously covering Liz Hutt’s maternity at South London Hub in 2012. Belinda manages the set-up of all non-commercial studies and is the first point of contact for research teams applying to the MHRN for support. She worked closely with the eight MHRN regional hubs to coordinate all multi-centre studies through the set-up phase, helping study teams navigate the R&D approvals process and access the support they need. Belinda has a graduate Diploma in Psychology and previously worked as a project manager in cancer palliative care and public health research in Australia. She recently completed a Professional Diploma in Management with the Open University.
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Carly Cooper, deputy assistant director
Carly Cooper is on secondment to the MHRN coordinating centre as Deputy Assistant Director. Carly has worked within the MHRN as Heart of England Hub Manager since 2007. Carly’s role is assisting the Assistant Director and two other MHRN Deputy Assistant Directors for non-commercial and commercial by offering a hub perspective to the coordinating centre work as well as act as a direct link between the hubs and the Co-ordinating Centre in effectively inputting in to the many NIHR working groups. The aim is to take a lead on continuous improvement within the MHRN and feeding upwards, in to the processes of the NIHR. Carly graduated from university with a BSc in Applied Psychology and has worked within mental health since then. This has mainly been within clinical and academic research as a research assistant, project co-ordinator and research fellow but later focusing more on management and organizational development. Carly has an MSC in Occupational Psychology and is currently in the final stage of her MBA.
Saffra is the MHRN coordinating centre Deputy Assistant Director (commercial). Saffra worked in a variety of mental health settings before registering as a nurse (RNMH) in 2005. As a qualified nurse, Saffra worked on an adult acute admissions ward, also providing emergency short stay inpatient facilities for child and adolescent mental health services, and then as a substance misuse nurse in a supervised injecting clinic on RIOTT (Randomised Injectable Opioid Treatment Trial), a research study supported by the MHRN. Saffra joined the MHRN North East Hub in 2008 undertaking various roles; Clinical Studies Officer, Senior Clinical Studies Officer and Hub Manager whilst completing a BSc in Promoting Practice Effectiveness. She completes an MSc in Transformational Leadership in Health and Social Care this academic year.
Since completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2001 and a masters degree in applied social research in 2002, Jozella has worked as a social researcher in the areas of homelessness, regeneration, addiction, mental health and health services research in local government and academia. She has worked for the MHRN North London Hub for the last 7 years as a CSO and then a Senior CSO while also undertaking a PhD in ethnic differences in the prevalence and correlates of comorbid psychosis and substance use disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry. Jozella has just submitted her thesis and has also joined the MHRN Co-ordinating Centre as our new part time Workforce Development Lead. Jozella will be helping with network workforce development as well as transition to our new structures
Rina is the administrative assistant for the MHRN’s Coordinating Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry. Her role is to optimise communication between the coordinating centers and hubs and maintain organisation in the office which specifically allows her to enjoy stationery catalogues. Rina served in similar roles at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California in Los Angeles before completing her MA in European History at UCL.
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Lisa is the executive assistant for the MHRN’s Coordinating Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry. Lisa’s role is to support staff and the management team within the co-ordinating centre. Lisa also looks after internal communications for the network and will be rolling out the productive leader programme. Following graduating with an education degree, Lisa has worked in various administrative roles across the public and private sectors, most recently in local government for the last 8 years. Lisa is also currently undertaking further studies in Psychology through the Open University.
Kathleen's role is to assist the administrator/database coordinator entering data onto the Portfolio Database and Reda, providing support to researchers and sending out reminders about studies that are behind with recruitment. She also provides general administrative support with processing travelling expenses, electronic filing and ordering stationery.
Kathleen previously worked as a local government administrative officer and prior to that a branch manager for an estate agency.
Diane’s duties include entering data onto the Portfolio Database and ReDA, and she helps studies upload their recruitment data. She records monthly clinical studies officer activity on the CSO database and sets up teleconferences for studies. She also books travel, orders goods and manages the petty cash for the Preston office.
Prior to joining the MHRN in November 2009, she had worked for 20 years at a further education college in the student records department, collecting and inputting data to provide information for the college management team and government bodies.
Sophie’s role is to enter data onto the Portfolio Database and ReDA. Provide support to researchers and send out reminders about studies that are behind with recruitment. Help studies upload their recruitment data and set up teleconferences for studies, also to order goods.
Previously Sophie worked in administrative roles, most recently as a support agent providing administrative support to a large communications company. She graduated from university in 2008.
page last updated 17 October 2013