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Steering group

Founder and Chair Dr Jenny Douglas

Jenny Douglas

Jenny Douglas

Jenny Douglas is a Senior Lecturer in health promotion in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies at The Open University. She has a PhD in Women’s Studies. She completed her doctoral thesis on cigarette smoking and identity among African-Caribbean young women in contemporary British Society. This research brought together two divergent research traditions: medical public health and health promotion approaches with sociological approaches to researching cigarette smoking. This interdisciplinary research approach brings together sociology, public health and women’s studies. Her commitment to comparative approaches finds expression not only in working across disciplinary and national boundaries, but also across theoretical and methodological traditions. Her research is both varied and wide ranging spanning 30 years on issues of race, health and ethnicity. The key theme unifying her research and activism is intersectionality – exploring how ‘race’, class and gender affect particular aspects of African-Caribbean women’s health.  She is an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health and a Director of the UK Public Health Register as well as a Research Affiliate of the Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Jenny Douglas established and chairs the Black Women’s Health & Wellbeing Research Network.



Nicole Andrews

Dr Nicole Andrews

Nicole Andrews is a sociologist specialising in the study of health and illness. She joined Newman in January 2015 and prior to this, she worked as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Research at University of Birmingham and has contributed to teaching on undergraduate degree programmes at University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University. After obtaining a BSc (Hons) from Aston University and an MA from University of Birmingham, Nicole was awarded her PhD in Applied Health Research in July 2017. Nicole’s research is concerned with developing novel qualitative methods to engage seldom heard communities in health research. Nicole is interested in research that is concerned with health inequalities, healthcare service development and developing qualitative research methodologies.

Geraldine Brown

Dr Geraldine Brown

Geraldine’s background is in Sociology and Social Policy and a key focus of her work is exploring individual’s and group’s experiences of public policy and practice, community engagement and community action. Her work adopts an approach that aims to create space for the production and inclusion of 'oppositional knowledge' and 'counter narratives.' Hence, research that produces knowledge grounded in the lived reality of those whose voices are often ‘missing’ and/or ‘seldom’ heard. As an activist and researcher her ambition is to engage in research that makes a difference through uncovering practical and theoretical insights. This is alongside contributing to the development of knowledge that pushes and/ or challenges academic ways of knowing and moves towards more 'intellectual democracy'. Geraldine has undertaken research with ‘pregnant teenagers and young parents’, African and African Caribbean communities’, 'young carers'  ‘older’ people with a mental health need and ‘prisoners'. 

Geraldine is an experienced qualitative researcher who has developed and delivered a range of training to practitioners, community workers and embeds her research experience in her teaching..

Dawn Edge

Dr Dawn Edge

Dr Edge is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Dawn is also the university’s Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and a Patron of Greater Manchester Law Centre. Previously, she has served as a Non-Executive Director of three NHS Mental Health Trusts and on the Board of Trustees of a number of community organisations that work with marginalised communities. 

Dawn is a qualitative and mixed-methods specialist whose research focuses primarily on theorising and tackling inequalities in mental healthcare – specifically, those experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people and other under-served groups such as prisoners. Dawn is committed to using her research to inform policy and practice and creating more equitable access to effective and accessible care, treatment, and support.  She is currently working to co-produce and trial psychosocial interventions that improve mental health outcomes for marginalised groups by increasing their access to timely, culturally-sensitive care and treatment.

Ann Mitchell

Dr Ann Mitchell

Dr Helena Ann Mitchell is a Lecturer in mental health nursing and a Co-qualification Director for the Pre-registration Nursing Degree programme at The Open University. Following registration as a mental health nurse in 1981, she worked mainly in the community environment and developed strong links with day care and local general practice centres. Helena Ann trained as a nurse teacher in 1987, obtained a BSc Hons and MA in Women’s studies as she embarked on a nurse education career. As a Senior Lecturer at University College Northampton, she designed, managed and led health care undergraduate courses and post graduate modules. Whilst at University College, she supervised one of her Master’s students in health studies who achieved a Mary Seacole award for a study of Black women and menopause. Helena Ann left the University College in 2005 to take up an academic position at The Open University. She commenced her PhD in 2010 at the University of Surrey which was awarded in 2015. Her PhD thesis is a participatory action research study that focuses on Guyanese women living with Type 2 diabetes in England. Helena Ann’s primary research interests include long term conditions among black and minority ethnic groups, women’s mental health and perinatal mental health using action research approaches and feminist methodologies. Other research interests are online learning in nurse education.

Laura Serrant

Prof Laura Serrant

Professor Laura Serrant is Professor of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, one of only six black Professors of Nursing (out of 262) in the UK. She was also one of the first to qualify as a nurse with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has frequently found herself as the sole voice representing nurses and minority communities; a position which she has striven to challenge throughout her career by empowering others to come forward to join her, in a unique call to 'lift as you climb'. She is one of the 2017 BBC Expert women, Chair of the Chief Nursing Officer for England's BME Strategic Advisory group and a 2017 Florence Nightingale Scholar. She is an ambassador of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue and the Equality Challenge Unit Race Equality Charter for Higher Education. Her work has been recognised with numbers awards and prizes, including Queens Nurse status and Fellowship of the Queens Nursing Institute to those who have shown leadership in community nursing. In 2014, she was named as one of the top 50 leaders in the UK by The Health Services Journal in three separate categories: Inspirational Women in Healthcare, BME Pioneers and Clinical Leader awards.

Professor Serrant has an extensive experience in national and international health policy development with particular specialist input on racial and ethnic inequalities and cultural safety. In 2010, she was appointed to the UK Prime Minister’s commission for the review of Nursing and Midwifery by the Department of Health. As a member of the Independent Advisory Group to the UK government on Black and minority ethnic issues, she was a key influencer in the development of the first national strategy for sexual health and HIV for England 2001. In 2015, she lead the work at NHS England, Nursing Directorate as Head of Evidence and Strategy, evaluating the three year national nursing strategy and informing development of the new national approach to work for nurses midwives and care staff in England which was launched in April 2016.

She is visiting professor at The University of the West Indies, The Faculty of Health Sciences at Dominica State College and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil and the Warsaw Medical University, Poland.  She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland. She has also served as a Non-executive Director at Heart of England Foundation Trust and Skills for Health Academy, England.

Naomi Watson

Dr Naomi Anna Watson

Dr Watson works in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) at The Open University, UK, as a Lecturer. Naomi has practiced clinically as a Registered Nurse, Senior Midwife and Specialist Practitioner, Health Visiting. She is also a practice educator and Registered Nurse Tutor.

She has researched, written and published in Primary Care Nursing, Public Health, Diversity, Ethnicity, Cultural Competence, Service User Involvement, Nursing Education and Black Women’s Health and Wellbeing. Her recent monograph is titled ‘here to stay, so deal with it…’ Experiences and Perceptions of Black British African Caribbean People about Nursing Careers.

Her PhD research, on which her monograph is based, explored factors influencing choice of nursing as a career by UK African Caribbean people. She is particularly interested in nursing, health and social care debates about cultural competence, and the extent to which they are understood and experienced by post Windrush African Caribbean Seniors in the UK.

Naomi also has a keen interest in natural health and healing in diverse communities. She supports a number of national and community charities, including Barnados, the children’s charity and Diabetes UK as a community champion for BME communities.