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.
Stephanie 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 joined the MHRN in 2008 and previously worked at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust as R&D lead and as programme manager for Taking Care 24/7, a change management programme embracing the whole of the Trust's activities. Prior to that, she worked for 18 years in France in marketing and communications for the graduate business school INSEAD and in the military and paramilitary section of communications company Alcatel-Lucent.
Divya is the first point of contact for any commercial companies looking to set up commercial studies in the UK. She works closely with the companies and the eight regional offices (hubs) to ensure that the studies are set up quickly and go through the feasibility and adoptions process smoothly. Divya has worked with the MHRN for the past four years as a clinical studies officer and assistant hub manager within the Heart of England hub. She comes from a psychology background and is currently completing her PhD from the University of Birmingham focussing on South Asian families and Dementia.
Katie has a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent and trained in project management whilst working for the Strategic Health Authority in Yorkshire. She has previously worked for NHS Yorkshire and the Humber and York Hospital and for a not-for-profit healthcare organisation in marketing.
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.
Lorrain is responsible for organising meetings (including booking venues, catering and AV equipment), taking minutes, updating contact databases, sending out material to members of FACTOR and Service Users in Research, booking rail tickets and hotel accommodation, processing invoices and travel expenses, answering the phone and taking messages.
Emily joined the MHRN in 2010. She graduated from the University of Sussex with an English Literature degree in 2009 and then continued to work for the University for a year, promoting Sussex as a place to study to school and college students. For the MHRN, she is communications lead for the coordinating centre, and ensures that meetings and projects have the support they need.
Belinda Williams manages the set-up of all non-commercial studies and is the first point of contact for research teams applying to the MHRN for adoption and resources, and for teams who are applying for service support. She works 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.
Joanne Ashcroft joined the MHRN in 2004. She oversees the MHRN portfolio and has responsibility for participant recruitment. 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?
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. She also deputises for the assistant director and manages the MHRN office at the University of Manchester.
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).
Sumita Chopra has more than 11 years of information systems project management and administrative experience. She has an MSc in zoology and also holds a postgraduate degree in IT, qualifying as a system analyst. She has achieved further certifications in Microsoft based technologies & RDBMS (relational databases). She has excellent academic background and extensive experience in developing IT solutions for various clients on diverse platforms. She is currently pursuing a diploma in business analysis and has successfully completed three out of four modules and achieved ISEB certifications.
Her role specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the operational management and technical leadership of the e-science officers based in local hubs as well as managing the overall planning, execution and delivery of IS projects.
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.
Kathleen's role is to assist the administrator/database assistant 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.
page last updated 12 December 2011