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.

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. Nicola is Interim CEO at the AHSN NENC. The team say – Nicola’s forte is communication, she can read people in an instant and is always…

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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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Joe is the founding Director for the Great North Care Record (GNCR) programme and leads it on behalf of the AHSN. Joe graduated in 1985, following a period as a Junior Doctor and quickly moved to specialising in psychiatry; he has been a Consultant Psychiatrist for the last 30 years. Currently Joe is Chief Clinical Information Officer at NTW NHS Trust, England’s largest Mental Health Trust. For 30 years Joe has been campaigning and trying to measure better quality mental health services. He is a clinical engagement specialist with a track record of engaging clinicians in difficult circumstances and projects….

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Mark worked in commercial IT before joining a health informatics research unit within Newcastle University in 1996. In 2004 he joined the NHS and had various programme related roles including with County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority and County Durham and Darlington PCT, mainly involving use of information systems in service improvement initiatives and collaborative working between healthcare providers. Mark continued similar work with his own business from 2011 during which time he was appointed Director of Operations for the Connected Health Cities programme (NENC region), having led on the original proposal for the AHSN, before joining in…

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Joanne is responsible for HR at the AHSN NENC on a day-to-day basis. Since gaining an MA in Human Resource Management and Development at Northumbria University she has worked in HR generalist roles across the North East in various sectors, including education and healthcare. Joanne is commercially focussed and adopts a business partnering approach to her work. She has been the HR Manager at AHSN since joining the organisation in September 2019.

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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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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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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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Stuart joined the AHSN NENC in May 2019 as a communications officer. Having graduated with an MSc in Marketing and Business Management in 2017, Stuart has worked across marketing and communications in a variety of industries, including retail, music and now healthcare. He is particularly interested in exploring new technologies and how they can be used to improve both internal and external communications.

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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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Mark has worked in the media industry for nearly two decades with a background in TV and Radio, working for broadcasters and production companies based in Manchester. Returning home to the North East five years ago, Mark has worked as a Broadcast Journalist, covering news stories across the region, including healthcare innovation and pioneering advancements in medical research. Joining the AHSN NENC, Mark brings his strengths in writing and producing video content, which he has already used in a variety of Communication roles in the charitable and creative sectors, and is keen to showcase the positive stories within the AHSN….

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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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