The Academy Team


President, Prof. Brendan Cooper

I have been Consultant Clinical Scientist in Respiratory and Sleep Physiology at University Hospital Birmingham for over 13 years and I also hold an Honorary Professorship in Respiratory & Sleep Physiology with the University of Birmingham. My professional work has spanned over 30 years and involves acting at consultant level as part of the respiratory medicine team and requires my clinical involvement in direct patient care, overseeing one of the largest respiratory physiology departments in Europe and being responsible for teaching and researching in respiratory physiology at both a national and international level.

I have a had a fairly unique role in my profession in that I have been a leader of my professional body for over 25 years, initially as Honorary Chair and more recently President of the Association for Respiratory Technology & Physiology. Furthermore, I have extended my professional leadership profile internationally through the European Respiratory Society as a Group Chair and then as Head of an Assembly (Allied Respiratory Professionals). This in turn has lead to opportunities to be a leader on numerous global respiratory physiology task forces on standards, reference values and international training courses. I have an international reputation as a researcher and clinical specialist in respiratory physiology split between lung function testing and sleep breathing disorders. My work in this area has recently been recognised with my award as a Fellow of the European Respiratory Society. I am the first UK healthcare scientist to be given this prestigious title.

My research career has spanned 34 years and has been varied in respect of; subjects (respiratory physiology, sleep, metabolism and exercise in humans); full-time and part-time research appointments, and my role as a biologist, physiologist, clinician and investigator. I have over 150 peer-reviewed published papers and a further 150 scientific abstracts to my name, and I am actively involved with grant applications (NIHR, BLF, etc.), research trials, and I support both undergraduate and postgraduate research staff at the university. I also lead a modest research programme in the Lung Function & Sleep department at QEHB where we are investigating new technologies for assessing breathing and lung function in the early stages of respiratory disease as well as validating commercial diagnostic equipment. I lead a programme of research looking at the acute effects of E-cigarettes on lung function and analysing breathing patterns in disease.

I am proud to be President of AHCS and endeavour to bring all scientists in healthcare together to express “One Voice” on behalf of all our professions.

Head of Standards, Elaine Jenkins

Elaine has worked in a variety of higher education organisations over the last 25 years, including working at the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Initially, she was part of the team developing and implementing the Major Review of all NHS-funded Healthcare Education in England. This enabled Elaine to work with statutory regulatory bodies such as the NMC and the HPC (as it was known then), as well as a variety of professional bodies and the Department of Health.

Elaine went on to work as an Assistant Director in QAA with responsibility for developing national policy, managing reviews of higher education providers at institutional level both in the UK and overseas, and training those undertaking the reviews. Elaine has also worked as a University Quality Manager and as a consultant with universities and national quality assurance agencies, overseas as well as in the UK.

Elaine has a doctorate from Cardiff University; her thesis explored the relationship between a national regulator and different types of higher education providers. The study presents and analyses the views from ‘both sides of the table’ by considering the perspectives of those in the regulatory body and staff within the providers.

Elaine joins the Academy as an advisor focusing on our role as HCPC Approved Education Provider for the Scientist Training Programme. She welcomes the opportunity to return to working in the regulation of healthcare education and reigniting her particular interest in the link between the regulation of academic standards and quality and protecting the patient.

Head of Registration Services (Healthcare Science), Paul Lawton MSc BSc

Paul Lawton has worked in consultancy and informatics roles for almost 40 years and for the last 30 years exclusively in the health and care sector. His experience embraces the management of high profile consultancy programmes and projects, at both a national level and for individual health and care organisations, working particularly in the field of research, education, training and development for informatics professionals in the NHS.

Paul is also an experienced Company Director and Board member and continues to be involved in the operation of several businesses. From 2003 until 2017, he undertook the role of Secretary for the UK Council for Health Informatics Professions (UKCHIP), first developing and then overseeing the voluntary registration function for health informatics professionals. In 2009 he also became Managing Director of the trading subsidiary, UKCHIP Services Ltd.

Alongside his current part-time commitment as Head of Registration Services for the AHCS, Paul is a director of UK-China Partnerships for Health Limited, a new venture specialising in the transfer of UK expertise and technology in the healthcare & life science sectors, particularly in respect of education, training and standards development to support China’s integrated health and care system programmes.

Head of Registration Services (Life Science Industry), Clive Powell

Having graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in psychology, Clive joined the Association of British HealthTech Industries in 1989 to work on regulatory affairs and the forthcoming Medical Device Directives.  During his time with the association Clive was responsible for setting up and running numerous working groups and committees covering regulatory matters, standards, clinical investigations, UK market issues, sterilisation and microbiology, decontamination and legal affairs amongst others.  He was also an active member of a number of MedTech Europe groups over the years, particularly on regulatory and ethical compliance matters.

He was actively involved in setting up and running ABHI’s long-running regulatory conference, probably the premier such event in the UK, as well as several other such events over the years.  In addition, he researched, wrote and edited various ABHI publications, the last of which was the ABHI Regulatory Bulletin which ran for a number of years until his departure from the association.

Clive was also responsible for overseeing publication and implementation of ABHI’s Code of Ethical Business Practice.  He also led ABHI’s work setting up the industry-sponsored credentialing system, MIA, and subsequently was an active member of the LSI Education, Training and Standards Advisory Group and the LSI Regulation Council.

Clive joined LSI in April 2020.

Advisor (Clinical Research Practitioners), Fiona O’Neill 

Early experiences as a psychiatric nurse in inner city Manchester shaped a career long interest in the politics of health. I was struck by the rampant inequalities and lack of effective service provision that limited the opportunities for recovery of those most in need. Curiosity and desire to make a difference led me to complete doctoral studies at the University of Birmingham examining the politics of nursing.  I got involved in teaching the politics of healthcare, helping practitioners to explore and understand the concept of power and how to make change happen.

As part of the team at the Centre for the Development of Health Care Policy and Practice at Leeds University, I designed and delivered large scale leadership and practice development initiatives in the NHS. I also became part of a team with patients and carers to establish the Patient and Carer community providing teaching input and expertise into the medical curriculum.

For the last 13 years of my formal career I worked as Head of Workforce Development at the NIHR Clinical Research Network. Here I helped to develop communities of practice and educational opportunities for the research delivery workforce.  This included the design of an approach to the delivery of Good Clinical Practice learning that continues to be accessed by many thousands of people, the design and implementation of a network leadership programme and work to develop and support the professional identity and standards for Clinical Research Practitioners. This has been achieved working in partnership with the Academy for Healthcare Science using right touch regulation as the model for innovation.

Walking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim route started my journey into a new phase. I am an active volunteer working with asylum seekers in my local community, contributing as an advisor to Nurse Uganda a grass roots organisation supporting healthcare in Uganda and Bright Sparks a Theatre Arts company for Learning Disabled Adults. I joined the Academy for Healthcare Science in April 2020 to support the continuing development of Clinical Research Practitioners.

Quality Assurance Advisor, Paul Garrud

Paul has worked in quality assurance in a variety of roles: as a subject reviewer in medicine and in psychology for HEFCW and QAA, as an Education Associate for the GMC, and as an external examiner for many different universities and programmes. His consultancy work has included medical schools in several different countries, organisations such as ACER, and others. Since 2015 he has chaired the Medical Schools Selection Alliance, the national group charged with widening participation in medical schools.

Academically, he took a degree in philosophy and psychology at Oxford, followed by a DPhil and several post-doctoral research posts, before starting work teaching medical students in St Andrews for ten years and then Nottingham for thirty. He has published widely in neuropsychology, health psychology, and medical education, winning prizes for a variety of e-learning and multimedia packages.

HCS Registration Council Chair, Professor Barry Hirst

Barry is a Professor of Physiology at Newcastle University with research interests in gastrointestinal and epithelial physiology. He was Dean of Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Medical Sciences for ten years to 2014. Barry has a well-established commitment to Healthcare Scientist education, leading Newcastle University’s successful bids for Scientist Training Programmes (STP) in Medical Physics and Physiological Sciences. He has supported the National School of Healthcare Science through chairing accreditation panels. Barry championed Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) in Healthcare Scientist courses, leading the development of guidance for educational providers on embedding PPI in courses. From 2017 to 2020, Barry chaired the Education, Training and Professional Standards Committee of AHCS and in 2020 joined the HCS Registration Council as a lay member. As of 2021, Barry chairs the Academy’s Education Standing Panel that reports to the Regulation Board.

Leadership Ambassador – Ruth Thomsen

Ruth is the Scientific Director, NHSE London and works with the Academy to promote leadership within the Healthcare Science Community.  Ruth instigated the Practical Skills in Education and Leadership course, which has been delivered to over 200 healthcare scientists since implementation.

Business Manager, Keisha Asamoah

Keisha is responsible for business planning and delivery; supporting policy development and implementation. She was part of the Modernising Scientific Careers Programme team since April 2012. She joined the MSC Programme after supporting the delivery of the Department of Health’s Cross Government Obesity Programme. In 2013 she successfully transitioned the business of the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer from the Department of Health to NHS England and Health Education England.

Head of Administration, Fiona Fiorentino

Fiona joined the Academy in November 2015 as Executive Assistant, providing administrative support to the Academy Team, Professional Council and Board.

Fiona worked as a Legal Executive for many years, dealing with Probate and Residential/Commercial Conveyancing before moving into the Insurance industry and working as a Senior Claims Handler for the NFU Mutual. More recent roles have been Executive PA/Administration Manager for a UK and International Children’s charity and Executive PA to the Directors of a large Cruise/Travel company.

Executive Assistant, Kirsty Clark

Kirsty is the Academy’s Executive Assistant, providing administrative support to the Professional Bodies Council and LSI Registration Council. Kirsty also administers the AHCS and LSI Registers, as well as providing support to Senior Team members when required and deputising for the Head of Administration. Kirsty takes a keen interest in wellbeing and mental health in the workplace and has supported the NHS in promoting their Wellbeing campaign.

Administration Assistant, Carly Allen

Carly has worked in Education and Training in various roles, starting her career in the Utilities industry. More recently, Carly has been providing administrative support to a busy Residential Conveyancing team before joining the Academy.

Administration Assistant, Marcia Owen

Marcia also joins the Academy to support the administrative team following her house move to the Midlands.  Marcia has worked as a secretary within the banking sector before moving into a university setting as a Placements Officer.

Project Administrator, Milly Brittain

Milly graduated the University of Worcester with a Psychology degree alongside volunteering as a peer mentor for first year Psychology students and since 2020, she has volunteered for The Princes Trust as a peer mentor. She has worked in various of retail positions before graduating in 2019 and moving to a one-year graduate scheme within Health Education England. Now, Milly has joined the Academy to support the administration team and the National Institute for Health Research.

Registrant Ambassador, Natalia McLackland,

Natalia started her career as a Biomedical Support Worker and after pursuing her life-long dream, became and fully qualified Anatomical Pathology Technologist thanks to Salford Royal Mortuary. Trained to diploma level and about to do a Level 3 top up Anatomical Pathology Program with the AHCS, Natalia continues her work with pride as a registered Healthcare Science Practitioner.

Recently Natalia has changed Hospitals to work as a Cadaveric Theatre Technician with the N.S.T.C- Newcastle Surgical Training Centre for Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals. Natalia views this as an enhancement of her skills and helps the education of medical students, doctors, consultants and GPs’ with advanced cadaveric courses, research programs and the best Robotic Surgical work available with the new Da Vinci Robot.

Lead for Wales, Dee Ripley

Dee is the Academy for Healthcare Science Lead for Wales, and is also Senior Lecturer at the Cardiff School of Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Prior to this, Dee was Specialist Biomedical Scientist in the disciplines of Clinical Haematology and Blood Transfusion, at the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, South Wales.

Dee’s most recent roles at the Cardiff School of Health Sciences include Programme Director for the BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science programme, Training Facilitator for practise placement educators, and leading the implementation of the Modernising Scientific Careers BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Life Sciences) programme at the Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Lead for Scotland, Healthcare Science Programme Director – Rob Farley
NHS Education for Scotland

Rob is Programme Director for Healthcare Science at NHS Education for Scotland (NES). He is responsible for resource allocation and commissioning of national postgraduate scientist training, NES CPD programmes for scientists, national events and UK-level engagements on behalf of NHS Scotland’s training interests His remit at NES includes training programme management and quality monitoring of specialty training in Healthcare Science, working closely with UK colleagues.
Rob is also a member of the Academy for Healthcare Science Registration Council – a board of eight – overseeing public protection for elements of this NHS workforce.

Website, Comms & Marketing Advisor – Square Media, Matthew Rigby-White

Matthew Rigby is the principal Website, Communications and Marketing Advisor to the Academy. Working alongside the Academy, Matthew aims to deliver transformative change to the Academies Marketing & Comms strategy including developing the identity and awareness of the brand across the Healthcare Science industry, improving the performance of digital media and ensuring the Academy is effectively communicating its work and role within the industry to all stakeholders.

Matthew is the lead marketing consultant at Square Media, a Digital Marketing Agency. Matthew has worked in the marketing industry for more than 10 years, working with clients and employers across a variety of sectors including Public, Construction, Technology, Retail and Service.