Our Research Review Group

Meet our Research Review Group, who are responsible for peer reviewing our research centre activities.

Trustee members:

Anita Charlesworth – The Health Foundation

Anita is Director of Research and the REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term) at the Health Foundation and an Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham. She is a health economist and has a background in government and public policy.

Prof Vanora Hundley – Bournemouth University

Vanora is Professor of Midwifery at Bournemouth University and is known for her extensive research on pregnancy and midwifery. She conducted one of the first randomised controlled trials of midwife-led care.

Dr Shema Tariq – University College London

Shema is a clinical research fellow at UCL’s Institute for Global Health and an honorary consultant HIV physician. She focuses on women living with HIV and how this affects pregnancy. After her son Altair was stillborn, she received specialist care and support from a Tommy’s research centre and now has 2 young children.

Scientific Advisory Committee members:

Prof Ganesh Acharya – Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Ganesh is Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. He is also a Senior Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine at the Karolinska University Hospital. His research interests include placental imaging, high-risk obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine.

Dr Ria Clarke – NHS Hospital

Ria is an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar in the South of England. Throughout her training, she has dedicated herself to learning how to amplify the voices of the individuals and families she cares for. She also focuses on racial disparities in maternal mortality.

Dr Karen Joash – Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital

Karen is an obstetrician with over 10 years’ experience, known for her expertise in labour ward practice and maternal medicine. She is involved in postgraduate training and education quality assurance. She is also the Lead for Maternity Guidelines at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust.

Dr Fergus McCarthy – Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland

Fergus is an obstetrician, gynaecologist and senior lecturer based in Cork University Maternity Hospital. He is actively involved in teaching and research, with numerous publications and research collaborations. He is an expert in high-risk obstetrics.

Prof Katie Morris – Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Katie is Professor of Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Her research aims to improve care for women with multiple pregnancies, fetal anomalies and growth restriction. She is also Director of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.

Wendy Olayiwola – NHS England and NHS Improvement

Wendy is the National Maternity Lead for Equality at NHS England and NHS Improvement. She is a registered nurse and practising midwife with more than two decades of active service in the community and public health. She has a passion for culturally-sensitive care. 

Prof Lucy Smith – University of Leicester

Lucy is Professor of Perinatal Health at the University of Leicester and is known for her work on early stillbirth. She works closely with bereaved parents and charities to ensure her research impacts on the lives of pregnant women, parents and babies.

Parent Voices Committee members:

Christina Brown

Christina is a mother of 2 and a former HR Manager. She is the founder of The Motivational Mums Club, which provides free mental health sessions to mothers and birthing people, delivered by psychologists. Christina also provides culture intelligence to healthcare professionals, helping to ensure Black and Brown mums receive adequate care that improves their mental health outcomes. She runs a peer support group called 'Mummas Together Group', which is dedicated to supporting Black and Brown mums.

Christina works closely with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, BBC Tiny Happy People, The Fostering Network, East London NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England, King's College London, White Ribbon Alliance, Tommy's and more. 

Rachel Corry

Rachel lives in Manchester and works as an occupational psychologist and human factors specialist. Three years after her first son was born, Rachel gave birth to twin boys at just under 23 weeks who were too small to survive. She later gave birth to another son, this time at 24 weeks. He spent 7 months in NICU before coming home.

Rachel has been an active advocate for the parent voice in neonatal care and research and her eldest son Adam won the Tommy’s “super sibling” award in 2017.

Asiya Dawood

Asiya lives in West London with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. Before the birth of her daughter, she had 4 miscarriages. Under the care of the team at St Thomas’ Hospital, she had a transabdominal cerclage inserted and carried her daughter to term.

Asiya works in education and is also a fertility coach. She is passionate about raising awareness of miscarriage and infertility in the South Asian community and is the founder of the Asian Miscarriage Hub.

Dr Beth Malory

Beth is a lecturer in linguistics at University College London, where she specialises in health communication, diagnostic terminology and the impact of language on patient experience, wellbeing and stigma, especially in relation to reproductive health. She became involved with Tommy’s after losing her son and 2 daughters during pregnancy and, after receiving specialist care from a Tommy’s research centre, now has 2 living children. Beth is currently leading a project, in partnership with Tommy’s, to explore communicative challenges around pregnancy loss.

Implementation and Improvement Committee members:

Prof Aled Jones – University of Plymouth

Aled is Professor of Patient Safety & Healthcare Quality at the University of Plymouth, where he also serves as Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. He is an international expert on patient safety, healthcare quality and implementation science. 

Dr Michelle Peter – North Thames Genomic Laboratory Hub

Michelle is a social scientist and researcher who is passionate about tackling the racial inequalities in maternal health. She is co-author of the landmark Five X More Black Maternity Experiences Survey Report and provides research consultancy to Global Black Maternal Health.

Dr Nigel Simpson – University of Leeds

Nigel is Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and is a senior lecturer at the University of Leeds. His research explores the causes and prevention of premature birth, with a focus on cellular processes in pregnancy.

Prof Justin Waring – University of Birmingham

Justin is Professor of Medical Sociology and Healthcare Organisation at the Health Services Management Centre in Birmingham. His research deals with the changing organisation and management of healthcare systems, and public services more broadly.

Dr Natalie Darko – University of Leicester

Natalie is Associate Professor of Health Inequalities at the University of Leicester and Director of Inclusion at the Leicester National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. She specialises in health research and practice that addresses equality, equity and inclusion of under-represented and minority groups. 

Following agreement from the Co-Chairs, Tommy’s will initiate a search for new members of the Research Review Group. This may be to fill a vacancy/vacancies or to recruit people with different skills to the group. Nominations for new members will be sought from the Co-Chairs, existing members of the group, the Tommy’s CEO and Senior Research Manager, and other external experts. 

Once an initial list has been put together, Tommy’s work with the Co-Chairs of the Research Review Group to decide on a shortlist based on the following criteria recommended by the AMRC: “a fair balance of experience, scientific disciplines, institutions, age, gender, ethnicity and geographical location”. These shortlisted people will be approached and invited to join the Research Review Group. They will be informed of their responsibilities, which include peer reviewing Tommy’s Research Centres and potentially joining the selection panel for any new research centre.

Tommy’s Medical Research Conflicts of Interest Policy relates to all committees and funding panels of the charity, their chairs and other members, including Trustees of the charity.