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Our staff

The team at the McPin Foundation is made up of researchers, public and patient involvement in research experts, policy professionals, and operations and project support staff. Most people work on a range of projects and we often also work alongside peer researchers supporting pieces of work as freelance researchers or peer involvement specialists. The majority of staff are based at our office in London Waterloo.

Dr Vanessa Pinfold

Vanessa has been working in mental health research for 20 years.  She has published studies on stigma and discrimination, families and carers, social inclusion, experiences of the mental health system, wellbeing networks as well as more recently co-production in mental health research.  Much of her previous work has been delivering studies that work with people with severe mental health problems or long term mental health needs.   This included a year-long project in 2012 to provide the secretariat for the Schizophrenia Commission chaired by Professor Sir Robin Murray whilst at Rethink Mental Illness. She is currently prioritising developing peer research roles through collaborative or co-production approaches. Her current studies include developing an intervention to combat loneliness among people with depression and anxiety, developing a collaborative model of care working across primary and secondary care for people with long term mental health needs, and progressing work on wellbeing networks. Vanessa is an experienced health services researcher and leader within the mental health research charity sector. She currently chairs the Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders and at McPin is responsible for overseeing the work of the patient and public involvement team, research team and new policy function. Vanessa is also an associate member of INVOLVE (the national advisory group that supports greater public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research).  She has a PhD from University of Nottingham, Department of Geography.

 

Vanessa Pinfold, Research Director
Vanessa Pinfold, Research Director

Dr Dan Robotham

Dan joined McPin in January 2017 as Head of Research & Evaluation. He has experience of conducting and managing research across NHS, academic and charity settings. Before joining McPin, he was a researcher and coordinator of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre. He worked at the Mental Health Foundation for four years. Before this he was at UCL, where he coordinated a clinical trial to improve learning disabilities services whilst also completing a PhD on the experiences of those who were taking part in the trial.

Dan Robotham, Head of Research and Evaluation

Dr Thomas Kabir

Thomas leads the Public Involvement in Research (PIiR) programme at the McPin Foundation. Thomas has a first degree in physics and a PhD in bioinformatics from University College London. Thomas’s PhD focused on understanding how proteins bind to one another to form complexes. After completing his doctorate he worked as a mental health advocate for Mind in Camden. He also worked with Commissioning Support for London to support the establishment of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services (IAPT) across London. From 2009 until 2014 Thomas was the coordinator of the national service user involvement arm of the NIHR Mental Health Research Network. Thomas has worked on a number of national public and patient involvement (PPI) in research initiatives including the ‘Budgeting for Involvement’ guide together with INVOLVE, and service user focused outcome measures. Thomas has also helped to produce several resources that aim to help people in receipt of welfare benefits receive payments for involvement work.

Thomas Kabit, PIiR Manager

Dr Rose Thompson

Rose has worked as a social scientist for 10 years. She completed her PhD in social psychology at Cardiff University, which explored health related attitude change. Following her PhD she has been involved in producing research in both social and genetic perspectives on intellectual disability, epilepsy and mental health, using quantitative and qualitative perspectives. She has also contributed to teaching of and student supervision in ethical perspectives in genetic counselling. Rose joined The McPin Foundation in 2015 and works on a number of projects that encompass elements of peer support, personalisation and recovery, on which she works with a number of talented peer researchers. She is particularly interested in the impact of interpersonal relationships on mental health, and people may be supported to nurture supportive and positive relationships with the people close to them. She also has an interest in using creative methodologies (visual arts, writing, or theatre) to work with people to achieve a greater understanding of their experiences with mental health, and to produce work that can communicate those experiences to wide audiences.

Rose Thompson, Senior Researcher

Dr Andreja Mesaric

Andreja completed her PhD in anthropology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2011. Since then, she has worked in London as a researcher and project manager in the voluntary sector, primarily on projects supporting refugees and migrants. In 2014-15 she worked on a research project at Middlesex University looking at voluntary sector services available to women experiencing perinatal mental health problems. She has also taught research methodology to undergraduate anthropology students at the University of Ljubljana and a Level 3 Research for Action and Influence course aimed at refugee and migrant community organisations at the Evelyn Oldfield Unit in north London. Andreja joined the McPin Foundation as a researcher in 2015. She has a particular interest in refugee and migrant mental health.

Andreja Mesaric, Senior Researcher

Jennie Parker

Jennie Parker joined the McPin Foundation in 2017 as a Senior Researcher.  She previously worked for Emergence Plus CIC as a lived experience researcher and Project Co-ordinator, focusing on research and evaluation within the NHS and HMPPS.  Jennie has also been a KUF trainer since 2014 and continues to co-facilitate the Knowledge and Understanding Framework training (working effectively with personality disorder).  Her research interests lie primarily in personality disorder, where she is also involved in research with external institutions as co-applicant on RfPB studies.  Co-design and co-production of both research and services underlie her approach to her work and this extends to how services can better help those with both mental and physical health needs.  Jennie has a BA in English and Sociology, a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience.  The impact of diagnosis and how this is both delivered and perceived are also areas that influence much of her current work.

Jennie Parker, Senior Researcher

Johanna Frerichs

Johanna is a Senior Researcher at the McPin Foundation, having joined in April 2016 as a Researcher. Previously, she worked as an analyst at the Care Quality Commission and worked on a research project about mental health crisis care at UCL, during the placement year of her BSc Psychology. She has also had voluntary roles on an acute mental health ward and in an early intervention for psychosis service. Johanna is currently completing a part-time master’s degree in Implementation and Improvement Science at King’s College London and is particularly interested in the scaling up of interventions and good practice in mental health services. She would like to further develop methods for involving those who receive and deliver healthcare in this area.

Johanna is a Senior Researcher at the McPin Foundation, having joined in April 2016 as a Researcher. Previously, she worked as an analyst at the Care Quality Commission and worked on a research project about mental health crisis care at UCL, during the placement year of her BSc Psychology. She has also had voluntary roles on an acute mental health ward and in an early intervention for psychosis service. Johanna is currently completing a part-time master’s degree in Implementation and Improvement Science at King’s College London and is particularly interested in the scaling up of interventions and good practice in mental health services. She would like to further develop methods for involving those who receive and deliver healthcare in this area.

Ruth Sayers

Ruth worked as a lecturer in Sociology and Social Care for 13 years before stress led to depression, unstable moods and being awarded medical retirement. Soon after leaving work she was supported to research the experiences of people who had lost their occupation following mental health problems by the Strategies for Living project at the Mental Health Foundation. She has since worked in mental health research with Bristol Mind, Rethink Mental illness, and within the Mental Health Research Network, as well as contributing a service user perspective to training health and care professionals, especially social workers, and commissioning. She recently worked as a researcher at University of West England (UWE), evaluating the impact of Public Involvement in Research on 8 health research case studies which included substantial contributions from ‘the public’, and is a member of the West of England Joint PPI Strategy Group. These days cycling, gardening and singing help her to manage her moods.

Ruth Sayers, Senior Researcher

Rajvi Kotecha-Hazzard

Rajvi Kotecha Hazzard is a Researcher at the McPin Foundation, joining in April 2015. She has worked in the field of mental health for five years, both in the charity sector and for the NHS. She has spent the last year assisting individuals leaving crisis care as a peer support worker, introducing innovative practices to support recovery. She is an expert by experience public speaker for National Mind, sharing personal stories to challenge stigma and raise awareness of mental health to a range of audiences. She has worked extensively with Mind in Harrow, supporting the setup, delivery and evaluation of projects. She has a passion for using her lived experience of mental health to support others and now has the opportunity to use this experience to inform research being delivered at the McPin Foundation. Rajvi holds a BSc with honours in Psychology and Anthropology from Brunel University, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Nottingham.

Rajvi Kotecha-Hazzard, Researcher

Humma Andleeb

Humma is a Researcher at McPin, having joined the team in September 2017. She has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and Neuroscience and has previously been involved in volunteer roles empowering communities by raising mental health awareness. She is a keen blog writer and book reader and has previously spoken publically at events about her lived experience as a South Asian woman. Humma is passionate about improving diversity within mental health research and making opportunities accessible for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and marginalised communities. She is particularly interested in bridging the gap and building relationships between researchers/academics and groups who are overrepresented in mental health services but underrepresented in mental health research. Humma hopes to impact and progress mental health research by combining and applying her academic knowledge, research interests and lived experience to current and future research at McPin.

Humma Andleeb, Researcher

Tillie Cryer

Tillie joined The McPin Foundation in March 2018 and supports the Public Involvement in Research (PIiR) programme. Tillie works on a portfolio of studies ensuring that the people who McPin work with experience high-quality public involvement and engagement. Tillie has a Master of Research (MRes) degree in Veterinary Microbiology and Bachelor of Science degree in Bioveterinary Science, both from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. Tillie’s Masters focused on the invasive properties of avian pathogenic E. coli. Tillie previously worked in science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) publishing and has volunteered at science public engagement events. Tillie is passionate about making science and medical research accessible to all by using public involvement projects to bridge gaps between researchers and the public.

Tillie Cryer, Public Involvement in Research Officer

Rachel Temple

Rachel is a Public Involvement in Research Officer and Researcher at the McPin Foundation. She previously worked for organisations such as Priory Group and MCCH, supporting young people with mental health difficulties and learning disabilities. She currently helps manage an online peer support group for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Rachel graduated in 2016 with a BSc with honours in Psychology from the University of Kent. During her studies, she investigated the relationship between physical exercise and anxiety-related difficulties. She hopes to challenge current perceptions of mental health difficulties within young people, with a special interest in Social Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and self-harm. Rachel aims to combine her practical and personal experiences of mental health in order to promote quality research. She supports the Public Involvement in Research (PIiR) programme, by coordinating McPin’s Young People Advisory Group and promoting public involvement and engagement in a range of projects. She is currently involved in the ‘Right People, Right Questions’ project for young people, as well as ‘Open Space’- an evaluation of a library-based mental health programme.

Rachel Temple, Public Involvement in Research Officer and Researcher

Kat Berry

Kat joined the McPin foundation as Operations Manager in March 2017. Her main role is office management and HR. She comes from a professional background in administration, having previously worked in the art world at Christie’s Auction House and as Gallery Manager at Philip Mould & Company. She has a BSc (Hons) Anatomical Sciences with Mandarin Chinese degree from the University of Manchester. As part of her degree she spent a year working as a researcher in Beijing, focusing on the genetic structure of Adenovirus. Kat is interested in how involvement work can be applied to basic science research.

Kat Berry, Operations Manager

Amy Peabody

Amy joined the McPin Foundation as Senior Communications and Policy Officer in August 2017. Amy’s role involves communicating McPin’s policy positions and research to a range of stakeholders through a variety of channels. This also includes scoping and influencing the national policy agenda. Amy has worked in the third sector for 10 years in a variety of communication, policy and public affairs roles in the fields of children’s rights, peacebuilding and the environment, before moving into her passion: working in the mental health sector.

Amy Peabody, Senior Communications and Policy Officer

Odette Gardiner

Odette joined the McPin foundation as Administrator in February 2018. Her role involves general administrative duties and office support to ensure smooth running of the office. Odette has completed a two year PA course which has provided her with the relevant skills to support the whole team. Before joining McPin Odette has worked for Greenpeace and volunteered in an Indonesia wildlife rescue centre. After experiencing mental health through personal experiences Odette wanted to join McPin to gain a better understanding of the research that is being developed for mental health and the different ways it can be tackled.

Odette Gardiner, Administrator