Meet the Team

The AHSN NENC team is made up of an Executive, a Core Team who provide central support, and Programme Managers who lead on our Health Improvement and Patient Safety Programmes.

Find out more about the members of our team below.

Séamus is the Chief Executive Officer of the AHSN NENC and is Chair of the AHSN Network nationally. He was previously Senior Manager of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear. Formerly a researcher and NHS laboratory scientist in Genetics, he has spent the last 20 years in a variety of managerial roles at the interface between academia and the NHS. The team say – Séamus is above all fair, he runs a tight ship, but we all know what we need to do by when! He is an excellent motivator and gives credit where credit is…

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Nicola ensures the smooth running of the AHSN NENC on a day-to-day basis. Since gaining a PhD in Chemistry from Durham University Nicola has worked in a variety of roles supporting business and industry in the North East. She worked as a Programme Manager and then Head of NHS Innovations North before taking up the position as Innovation Director at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria in 2013. The team say – Nicola’s forte is communication, she can read people in an instant and is always thinking 10 steps ahead, she has an acute…

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In 2017 Julia filled the large shoes of Professor Oliver James who previously occupied this position in the AHSN NENC. Julia graduated from Newcastle University Medical School in 1990. Since then she has worked in a range of roles in the North East of England. She became a Consultant Physician with an interest in Geriatric Medicine in 2000 and Professor of Ageing and Medicine at Newcastle University in 2008. She was Dean of Clinical Medicine in the Faculty of Medical Sciences until 2015 and more recently Director of Newcastle Academic Health Partners. She has a PhD in physiological sciences from…

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Russ is the Commercial Director at the AHSN NENC and oversees the Economic Growth team.  Previously, Russ was Assistant Director of Business Innovation at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he led on innovation and new business.  Russ has held a variety of roles in the healthcare sector throughout the North East.

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Stephanie has been part of the Finance team at the AHSN NENC since early 2014. Stephanie began her career as an NHS Regional Finance Trainee in 1992 in the South Thames Region before working as a Management Accountant for East Surrey Health Authority. Stephanie left the NHS in 1998 to gain wider industry experience and worked for UBS, GE and Dyson, she returned to the NHS in 2007 to take up a role first as a Project Accountant then as Directorate Accountant with The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The team say – ‘Yes we need it, yes…

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Since joining the AHSN in 2013 Beth has led on the management of a range of projects and programmes in the Health Improvement workstream. She has worked in the Life Sciences all of her career, working in an Immunology research department followed by 13 years as a marketing and project manager for a software company developing proteomics and metabolomics data analysis solutions. Beth currently oversees the AHSN’s Health Programmes, working closely with the Project Support Officers, Programme Leads and Medical Director to help ensure the successful delivery and roll out of these initiatives. She is also responsible for the AHSN…

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Working within the Communications team at AHSN NENC Sarah’s focus is on event management. Sarah manages the whole process from the planning stage, right through to running the actual day itself and ensures our events run smoothly and professionally. Sarah also manages the Bright Ideas in Health Awards, a competition to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams working within the NHS, industry and academia, who believe that the services provided to patients can be improved, either through a technical innovation or through better service delivery. The Awards are now celebrating their fifteenth year and are the largest healthcare event…

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Ruth works with the AHSN NENC Communications team to deliver social media campaigns promoting a wide range of programmes, projects and events. She also provides public relations advice and support to the team. Ruth has worked in the media industry for a decade, starting her career as a journalist before moving into PR. She has developed and delivered a wide range of regional and national PR and communications campaigns for clients in sectors including: healthcare, transport, professional services and the public sector.

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Sarah works with the AHSN NENC Communications team focusing on digital communications. On a day-to-day basis Sarah works on the AHSN NENC website, social media and email marketing as well as digital media campaigns to promote specific programmes and projects. Sarah also works with the wider comms team on events, content and branding as required. Sarah joined the AHSN NENC after working in various B2B digital comms roles spanning the public sector and third sector.

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Working within the Communications team at the AHSN NENC Donna’s focus is on branding and content.  As one of 15 AHSNs nationally and a multitude of local member organisations it is essential the core values and brand are communicated consistently and effectively. Donna ensures the outcomes and impact of the projects ran by the AHSN NENC reaches our audience by producing content for our local portal: The Innovation Library as well as the National AHSN Atlas portal. Donna also supports the wider team with events and other comms related activity as required. She joined the AHSN NENC in 2016 after…

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Having graduated from a BSc in Electronic Media and Communications in 2001, Graham started his career developing brochures, promotional items and e-procurement websites for estate agencies across the country. Following an MA in Media and Public Relations, Graham moved onto a two-year project to communicate the launch of the new Civil Service Pension Scheme on behalf of Cabinet Office. In late 2015 Graham’s career took him into clinical research communications with the NIHR CRN and since May 2018 he has been part of the AHSN NENC Communications team. A real ‘comms all-rounder’, Graham has a love of strategic communications campaigns…

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Andy has 30 years’ experience of working with systems and data across the private and public sectors.  He has extensive project management experience for both small and large-scale projects, has been a computer auditor, data analyst, financial planner and information governance manager. He spent several years working in local steel and motor manufacturing industries but more recently worked with Health and Local Authorities where he developed a passion for supporting the Health and Social Care economy. As well as a degree in Electrical Engineering he has British Computer Society qualifications in data protection and information risk management.  He also has…

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Kirstie has held a variety of marketing and communications roles with a variety of companies and organisations including the NIHR Clinical Research Network, Northern England Clinical Networks and NHS Innovations North. She provides strategic leadership at the AHSN NENC to ensure effective engagement with members and stakeholders and achieve the regional and national communications objectives of the Network.

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Stephen is a Business Manager at the AHSN NENC and is responsible for supporting companies wanting to access the NHS. Stephen has a PhD in molecular biology and physiology from Newcastle University and went on to be a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Stanford University where he studied the link between oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. Stephen then moved to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the British Consulate in San Francisco as the Vice-Consul for Science and Innovation where he was involved in policy development as well as trade and investment between the UK and the USA, and was the North…

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Rachel is a Business Manager and is responsible for supporting companies and the economic growth workstream. Prior to working at the AHSN NENC Rachel was a Research Operations Manager for the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) NENC where she helped found the working medical technology group MedConNecT North. MedConNecT North is a regional initiative which supports NHS, Academia and Industry to expedite the launch of new technologies and services to enhance and improve patient care and positively contribute to the regional economy. In this role Rachel worked alongside world leading expert clinicians to offer a…

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