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About the GOPA team

Our team comprises researchers with a wealth of experience of qualitative research with a focus on people with learning disabilities and their carers, health services research, health inequalities, intervention evaluation, inclusive research methods, resource development, social work practice, carers and self-advocates.

Principal investigators

Sara Ryan

Professor Sara Ryan

Associate Professor, Sociology, Oxford University
Sara Ryan is an Associate Professor, Sociology, at the University of Oxford. She is Co-PI of the project with Louise Wallace and is leading WP3 and WP5. Sara's research has focused on learning disability and autism and she has worked with people with learning disabilities on several projects. Sara is also currently leading NIHR funded projects exploring the experience of loneliness and how to better support people with learning disabilities to lead flourishing lives.

Louise Wallace

Professor Louise Wallace

Professor of Psychology and Health, The Open University
Professor Louise Wallace is a clinical psychologist and health services researcher with many years in NHS management and Non Executive roles in NHS commissioning. She leads on service and commissioning organisational aspects of this research.

Co-investigators

Liz Tilley

Dr Liz Tilley

Senior Lecturer, The Open University
Liz Tilley is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care at the Open University and chairs the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group. She is leading WP1 and is involved in WP3 and WP5. Liz has a longstanding interest in inclusive research, and has collaborated with people with learning disabilities on a number of research projects over the years. Liz's research explores the experiences of people with learning disabilities and their families across the life course.

Irene Tuffrey-Wijne

Professor Irene Tuffrey-Wijne

Professor of Intellectual Disability and Palliative Care, Kingston University
Irene Tuffrey-Wijne will lead WP4. She is Professor of Intellectual Disability & Palliative Care at Kingston & St George’s, University of London. In the 1980s she lived and worked in L’Arche London (a community with people with learning disabilities). In the 1990s she worked as a nurse at Trinity Hospice, London. She has conducted research around bereavement, dying and learning disabilities since 2000.

Chris Hatton

Professor Chris Hatton

Chris Hatton is Professor of Social Care at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Areas of current research interest include examining and working to reduce the health and social inequalities experienced by people with intellectual disabilities. He will contribute to WP2 and assist with dissemination and impact in WP5.

Mary Larkin

Dr Mary Larkin

Senior Lecturer, The Open University
Mary Larkin, is a Senior lecturer in Health and social care at the Open University and is invoved in WP1 and WP5. For many years, much of her research and external engagement activity has been focused on improving outcomes for carers by maximising the value of carer research to enhance policy and practice. She has lead a number of projects and pioneered carer-related knowledge exchange - nationally and globally.

Melanie Chapman

Dr Melanie Chapman

Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Melanie Chapman (Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University) is committed to carrying out inclusive research with people with learning disabilities that will improve their lives, most recently establishing and facilitating the Greater Manchester Growing Older with Learning Disabilities (GM GOLD) research team. She has over twenty years’ research experience within academic and health and social care settings.

Jitka Vseteckova

Dr Jitka Vseteckova

Senior Lecturer, The Open University
Jitka Vseteckova, is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care at the Open University and is involved in WP1 and WP4. Her research and external engagement activity has been focused on improving knowledge and health related outcomes while facilitating self-management of older people and ageing public, including carers, via Ageing Well Public Talks. Jitka is involved and or leading on number of studies relating to carers, physical and mental health and wellbeing and also COVID-19, including knowledge exchange as driver for changing national policy and practice.

Daniel Docherty

Dr Daniel Docherty

Lay Contributor, Future Directions
Dr Daniel Docherty is an Expert by Experience. As part of the SPICE group (Future Directions CIC), he delivers training for a range of audiences, including the public, police, social workers, academics and students at the University of Salford. He works alongside Melanie to support the Greater Manchester Growing Older with Learning Disabilities (GM GOLD) team and aims to make sure that the views and experiences of people with learning disabilities are central to research and service provision. 

 

Mr. Luke Geoghegan

Head of Policy and Research, British Association of Social Workers
Luke Geoghegan is a registered social worker. He is Head of Policy and Research at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) the professional association for social work and social workers. Luke has a career-long interest in using the impact of research to influence social work practice, and for practice to influence to priorities of research.

Angeli Vaid

Ms. Angeli Vaid

Advocate, Oxfordshire Family Support Network
Angeli Vaid works as a Project Worker for the Oxfordshire Family Support Network, a small charity which aims to support family carers of people with learning disabilities. Her role as a co-investigator is to lead public and patient involvement in the research. She has extensive experience of PPI and engagement across the health and social care sector, researching, delivering and co-producing engagement strategies and projects. She is an experienced trainer for family carers and health and social care professionals in person-centred thinking and planning.

Mrs. Pam Bebbington

Lay Contributor, My Life My Choice
Pam Bebbington is a consultant at the self-advocacy charity for people with learning disabilities, My Life My Choice, having previously been chair of the Trustees for 3 years. She is an experienced ‘Power Up’ researcher and trainer, co-facilitates the Oxford group including the Champions group, and works as a MLMC expert by experience. Pam will be involved in all aspects of the project, but in particular the case study work of WP3.

Miss Lisa Davidson

Power Up Officer and Youth Parliament Coordinator, My Life My Choice
Lisa Davidson is a ‘Power Up’ Officer and Youth and Parliament Coordinator at the self-advocacy charity for people with learning disabilities, My Life My Choice. This involves coordinating MLMC Power Up services (training, consultancy, research and inspections) and also coordinating its’ youth projects. She will be providing support for Pam Bebbington.

Project coordinators

Angela Martin

Dr Angela Martin

University of Oxford
Dr. Angela Martin is the Growing Older, Planning Ahead programme coordinator. She joined the Medical Sociology and Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford in 2010 and has now managed the delivery of numerous multi-centre, multi-disciplinary awards. Her wider role straddles both research and operations functions, providing operational guidance for the group’s research activities and also, as a researcher, contributing to the design of studies and co-authoring peer-reviewed articles, monographs, reports to funders and stakeholders including patients and members of the public.

Emmie Morrissey

Emmie Morrissey

Manchester Metropolitan University
Emmie is a research project manager at Manchester Metropolitan University. Emmie has a degree in pharmacology. She has over 11 years’ experience in leading the coordination and management of health-related research studies, working within an academic clinical trials unit for 7 of those years. She is supporting project coordination.

Researchers

Joanne Jordan

Dr Joanne Jordan

Dr Joanne Jordan will be involved in WP1. She is a Research Fellow in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at the Open University, with a background in health services research. Over the past 15 years, her work has focused primarily on mental health, palliative and end-of-life care. Alongside primary research, she has extensive experience of undertaking evidence reviews. She is also interested in methodologies for the development and evaluation of interventions, particularly the use of process evaluations.

Magdalena Mikulak

Dr Magdalena Mikulak

Magdalena Mikulak is a qualitative postdoctoral researcher. She joined the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in February 2019. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her research interests include social and health inequalities, social care, gender and social movements. She tweets at @magmikulak

Sue Ledger

Dr Sue Ledger

Dr Sue Ledger is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Open University and a member of the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group. Sue is involved in WP3. Sue has a background in managing disability services and has co-researched with people with learning disabilities and their families on a number of projects. She is interested in supporting the inclusion of people with more complex disabilities in research to inform practice.

Rebecca Anderson

Dr Becky Anderson

Dr Becky Anderson is a Research Associate at Kingston & St George’s, University of London. Her previous research has focussed on improving outcomes for patients and their families, including completing a PhD on communication with families of people at the end of life. Becky is working on WP4. She will be conducting interviews with people with learning disabilities, parents and siblings, and will work with participants to co-design and test a decision aid to support families with future planning.

Vicky Byrne

Dr Vicky Byrne

Dr Vicky Byrne is a Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University. Vicky's PhD and subsequent research has focussed on the health and social inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities. Prior to this she worked with people with learning disabilities in the social care sector and has created training that will help health and social care practitioners to understand the injustices experienced by people with learning disabilities. Vicky will be working as part of WP3.

Noelle McCormack

Noelle McCormack

Noelle McCormack is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Open University and a member of the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group. She is involved in WP3. Noelle has a background in local authority community disability services and is interested by creative and inclusive research methods and life story work.

Richard Keagan-Bull

Richard Keagan-Bull

Richard is a Research Assistant at Kingston & St George’s, University of London. Richard, who himself has a learning disability, co-interviews people with learning disabilities who still live with their families at the age of 40 or above. Richard will be analysing the data that is collected with the team and will be co-facilitating the co-design group. He is the Co-Chair of The Assembly for people with learning disabilities in Lambeth and a Trustee at Walsingham Support.

Jo Giles

Jo Giles

Jo is a Research Assistant at Kingston & St George’s, University of London. Jo supports Richard Keagan-Bull in his role as Research Assistant and contributes to the team herself as a Research Assistant. Jo has worked with people with a learning disability for many years in a range of different roles. She is also an End-of-Life Doula.