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  1. Health Sciences
  2. About the School
  3. Community Engagement Committee
About City

Community Engagement Committee

The Community Engagement Committee (CEC) was set up in 2011 by staff at the School of Health Sciences (SHS) to ensure that health research and education at City, University of London is informed by the lived experiences of people who use health services and those who care for them.

Involving people who use health services and their carers as advisors and partners in health education and research programmes is a gateway to ‘Person-Centred’ care, which expands the basic medical model by including the needs, concerns and choices of service users and carers in care planning and decision making. CEC’s membership includes staff representing each of the divisions within the School and the newly appointed Public Engagement Facilitator. A core element of the committee’s work in 2016 has been the setting up of the Service Users and Carers Advisory Board (SUCAB).

CEC members

Raf Benato (chair)

Rosa BenatoSenior Lecturer in Education Development in the Health Services Research and Management (HSRM) division. Rafs main areas of teaching include the implementation of educational theory into clinical practice, migration and health, public health and primary care policy and LGBTI health. Raf is the divisional Lead for Teaching Excellence and is committed to incorporating the views of service users and carers into educational programmes at all levels.

Professor Amanda Burls

Amanda Burls A public health doctor and Professor of Public Health at City, University of London. Amanda directs a novel internet-based research programme, ThinkWell, which aims to help the public plan and participate in research that addresses their own health questions and to understand health information so they can make informed health decisions.

Jacqueline Davies

Jacqueline Davies Jacqueline Davies relates social sciences to healthy communities in an award winning module for first year undergraduate nurses which was showcased in the first City Community Engagement Seminar.

In forensic mental health research her practice of working with service users was developed in the seminal study by Banongo, Davies, Godin, et al (2006) and continues with the work in developing a serious game with forensic mental health service users and the Streetwise project.

Dr Celia Harding

Dr Celia Harding Celia has involved adults with learning disabilities in her teaching with speech and language therapy students since 2005. This successful collaboration is ongoing, but has led to students being taught about different communication styles using strategies such as signing, multimedia, etc.; the Mental Capacity Act from a service user perspective when accessing healthcare; important themes in the daily lives of people with learning disabilities, and a one day conference led by people who have learning disabilities and those who support them.

Professor Julienne Meyer, CBE

Julienne MeyerProfessor of Nursing: Care for Older People & Executive Director, My Home Life
Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia; Adjunct Professor, Federation University, Australia

Julienne leads Research and Development in ‘Quality of Care for Older People’ at City. Typically, she uses collaborative approaches to bring about whole systems change and reflect on the lessons learnt from attempts to improve practice. Her style of working is evidence-based, relationship-centred, appreciative, and action oriented.

Over the last 20 years, Julienne has worked in a variety of different settings (health, social care, and housing; general and mental health; primary, secondary and tertiary care) and across a number of traditional boundaries (public and private; policy and practice; research, and education). She is also the Director of My Home Life (MHL), a UK-wide initiative to promote quality of life in care homes for older people that is hosted by City, in partnership with Age UK. MHL was initiated by the National Care Forum in 2006 and has the on-going support of the Relatives and Residents’ Association and all the national provider organisations that represent care homes across the UK. Her PhD focused on lay participation in care in a hospital setting and, since then, user and carer involvement has been core to her work. She is passionate about improving the lives of older people, but believes this can only be achieved through addressing the additional needs of relatives and the often forgotten needs of staff providing health and social care.

Ellinor Olander

Ellinor Olander Senior Lecturer in Maternal and Child Health and also the lead for the Advisory Group for the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research. The Advisory Group is made up of parents and parents-to-be who work together with researchers on developing and conducting research projects and disseminating their findings. This input is invaluable for the success of the research. Ellinor also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students about the importance of service user and carer involvement when developing services.

Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson Professor Alan Simpson is a mental health nurse researcher with a special interest in the involvement of and collaboration with service users and carers in mental health practice, education and research. He established and facilitates SUGAR, a Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research; a diverse group of people with lived experience of mental illness and service use who advise and collaborate on a range of research studies. Alan also employs service user researchers to undertake data collection and analysis and to contribute to the writing-up and dissemination of research. He believes strongly that collaboration and partnership working are key to the future of effective mental health care, education and research.

Richard Thorne

Richard Thorne Programme director for the pre-registration therapeutic radiography programmes at City. As a HCPC registered radiographer Richard has a keen interest and commitment to ensure education and training programmes meet the demands of all stakeholders, particularly health service users and carers. He has significant experience in recent developments in service user and carer engagement in the radiography disciplines.


The Service Users and Carers Advisory Board (SUCAB) was set up in 2016 to help promote the involvement of people who use health services and those who care for them in the education of health professionals at the School of Health Sciences (SHS).

The members of SUCAB are service users and carers who have lived experience of the health conditions and services associated with the School’s educational programmes. SUCAB advises those who design, lead and deliver health-care related courses on service user and carer involvement at every stage of the educational journey, from the interviewing of students, production of teaching materials and delivery of teaching sessions, right through to student evaluation.

SUCAB works with the School’s Public Engagement Facilitator, creating guidance and resources to further support service user and carer involvement across the School.

Raf Benato (chair)

Rosa BenatoSenior Lecturer in Education Development in the Health Services Research and Management (HSRM) division. Rafs main areas of teaching include the implementation of educational theory into clinical practice, migration and health, public health and primary care policy and LGBTI health. Raf is the divisional Lead for Teaching Excellence and is committed to incorporating the views of service users and carers into educational programmes at all levels.

Naj Abououf

Naj AbououfNaj gained a Health and Social Care qualification in 2012 and works as a support worker in the health and social care sector. She has one child; what she found difficult when she was going through her pregnancy was there was not enough midwife support and now her son is 3½ with a speech delay and she is liaising with her GP and Speech Therapist. She enjoys SUCAB very much and hopes to contribute a lot in the near future. She also enjoy the discussion and coming up with ideas and projects.

John Rawlings-Anderson

John Rawlings-Anderson John is a stroke survivor, having had several strokes and transient ischaemic attacks. He has been in hospital many times over several years and accumulated extensive experience of both the NHS and overseas hospitals.

Following his most recent stroke, John was without physiotherapist or speech and language therapist for around eight weeks – “community care was very slow to be organised.”

He had been working, managing a youth and community centre, but his workplace was not supportive and John no longer works.

Sue Barnes

Sue Barnes Sue suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) following a cycling accident in 2011. She completely lost the ability to speak, lost the use of her right arm and partially lost the use of her right leg. She was also on oxygen as her body had forgotten how to breathe.

Gaining support for rehabilitation within the NHS was extremely difficult for Sue. She was offered minimal support and for a period of only six weeks. She would not have regained her current level of speech had it not been for three years of private speech therapy.

For this reason, Sue is passionate about providing the right kind of support within the NHS for victims of TBI – “every TBI is different, and every victim's needs post TBI will be different.”

Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke Patrick has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and uses a mobility scooter or rollator because he can only walk a few steps even with a walking stick. A former IT professional, he took medical retirement in 2012.

He now runs Aid4disabled, a website featuring a weekly blog about his journey and reviews of disability aids for people with long term physical conditions.

Patrick also gives talks to trainee nurses about his experiences of disability and helps to interview prospective nursing students for selection - “I want to see the quality of life for people with a progressive neurological conditions improve so they can be a part of everyday society.”

Eva King

Eva King Eva is a carer to her husband and a user of health services, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management and the Archives and Records Association.  

She retired after a career of more than 40 years working in various roles for statutory bodies regulating nursing, midwifery and health visiting education and practice, including a six months' secondment at the Department of Health.  She is eager to contribute to the work of SUCAB and promote Person-Centred Care.

Eva is convinced that when healthcare is personalised and properly coordinated, and when people are treated with dignity, respect and compassion, we get better health outcomes.

Sarah Reed

Sarah Reed Sarah is a passionate advocate for communicating better with people living with dementia, to improve their care. As a result of caring for her mother who had dementia, in 2008 she founded Many Happy Returns, publishing 1940s and 1950s Chatterbox conversation trigger cards which connect the generations through stories from life.

Her REAL Communication workshops help care-givers develop their communication skills. She is an associate trainer for the Social Care Institute for Excellence and a Learning and Performance Institute 2014 Gold Award winner. She created and produced the 2012 Big Care Home Conversation for My Home Life, which celebrated and promoted the work of the organisation.

An Age UK Expert-by-Experience, Sarah serves on the CQC professional Co-production Group. She is an active volunteer and trustee of national older people’s charity Contact the Elderly.

Annette Stevens

Annette Stevens Annette has over 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS, starting as a trainee chef and working her way up to Directorate Manager in General Medicine, followed by six years as a GP's Practice Manager.

Three years ago, she was diagnosed with aggressive, stage-3 breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and ten months of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. The lumpectomy lead to her spending time in intensive care after suffering anaphylactic shock and pulmonary embolism.

Annette joined a working group looking at breast care services provided by her local hospital, later worked with the University of London interviewing prospective radiotherapy students and speaking to students prior to their clinical placements - “I am passionate that I can help to ensure that service users’ needs are met and reflected as a whole.”