Leanne Armitage

Leanne Armitage | St George's University of London

At present I am a third-year medical student at St George’s University of London. Between my second and third year of medical school, I took a year out to study a BSc degree in Global Health at King’s College London. During this year, I also set up and piloted a medical outreach programme called ‘Leanne’s Amazing Medics’ (LAM) designed to increase diversity across UK medical schools. Lack of diversity in the field of medicine is a significant issue because less than 5% of medical students come from deprived backgrounds and half of all schools across the UK do not produce a single medical applicant (BMA, The Right Mix 2015). Personally, I believe statistics like these are shocking and the LAM programme is working towards changing them.

As well as increasing diversity across UK medical schools, I am also passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their full potential. As such, in my spare time I engage in various public/ inspirational speaking opportunities which enable me to do this.


Rosie Atkin

Rosie Atkin | Connected Nottinghamshire

Rosie embarked on an events management degree after leaving school with a view of pursuing a career in events and events management post-graduation, however it soon became apparent to her that she wanted to follow a more rewarding path in the health and care sector.

It had always been a passion of Rosie’s to contribute to improving the lives of citizens across Nottinghamshire through improving health and care services, which lead to her taking a position of Business Support Apprentice in Nottinghamshire County Council’s Learning Disability Team. In this role she provided a vital support function supporting venerable adults. This role provided Rosie with valuable skills required and upon successfully completing her NVQ in Business Administration she soon progressed into the health sector.

Rosie has already had a successful and varied career within the NHS whilst working for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest providers of specialist community healthcare in England. She gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in several primary healthcare services, delivering high quality patient care which enriched the lives of local people and communities.

Focusing on her skills obtained through a magnitude of disciplines Rosie blossomed which led to a key support role within NHS Nottingham West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), an NHS body responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services within the Broxtowe district. This role covered numerous different departments within the CCG.
Due to her experience and adaptability across organisational departments and exposure to the cultures and challenges across the wider health and care system, Rosie has quickly risen through the ranks and soon secured a promotion in a Project Support Role working on the Connected Nottinghamshire Programme. This nationally recognised programme, identified as an exemplar site by NHS England, in supporting key transformational change across the whole of Nottinghamshire through delivering improvements in the digital enablement of health, care and patient facing digital services. Rosie is a vital member of the team and in a short space of time has been fundamental in supporting the delivery of improved information sharing between clinicians and social care staff to improve patients experience and outcomes and enhance service quality across health and social care.


Katharine Gale

Katharine Gale | North Bristol NHS Trust

An Nurse Consultant with 21 years experience in Women’s Health. I have a degree in Nursing Studies and a Masters in Clinical Ultrasound. As an Independent Nurse Practitioner I am able to assess, diagnose and implement management plans for gynaecological conditions.

As an independent prescriber I initiate medical management plans when indicated and as a Nurse hysteroscopist can perform outpatient procedures. I've worked in both the primary & secondary care settings as well as in private practice and education.

*Graduate Nurse (BSc) with twenty one years’ experience specialising in Women’s Health

* Experience of working as a Nurse Consultant within a Community Gynaecology service for Bristol CCG

*Ten years working at senior nurse level (Band 8) in an acute teaching hospital

* Qualified ultrasonographer (MSc) in Obstetrics and Gynaecology ultrasound & practiced at reporting

* Qualified Nurse Hysteroscopist working in an abnormal bleeding clinic with a see & treat focus

* An autonomous practitioner with proven experience of managing complex patient caseloads

* Proven advanced clinical skills to physically assess, diagnose & implement management plans

* Proven ability to instruct and manage a team of Nurse practitioners in a Nurse led environment

* Experienced Non Medical Prescriber in women’s health


Thorrun Govind

Thorrun Govind | Sykes Chemist

Having studied at King's College London and undertaking her training in Newark on Trent. Thorrun qualified as a pharmacist in 2016 and has continued to work hard to promote community pharmacy utilising national and local media. This has been alongside her role as a locum pharmacist and her studies undertaking a law conversion course which she aims to use to defend healthcare professionals. Having appeared on the national BBC news talking about the pharmacy cuts she subsequently went on to appear on BBC Newsnight showcasing local pharmacy and highlighting the continued impact of government policies on the sector. This drew attention to the impact of each manifesto on the care pharmacists aim to provide.

She has continued to dispense free pharmaceutical advice to the public as the Resident Pharmacist on BBC Radio Lancashire, which she has been doing for over a year now. This involves speaking to a variety of local listeners of different ages and backgrounds. This has also led to her being approached to do the same since January as the Resident Pharmacist on BBC Radio London.

Actively seeking appearances on Radio 1 discussing illicit drugs and being quoted in national newspapers regularly Thorrun has been able to promote the sector, showcasing the great work pharmacists do in reducing pressure on the rest of the NHS. She has worked hard to advocate for the profession and raise awareness of the great work pharmacy teams do. Having been dubbed a 'one woman pressure group' for relentlessly campaigning for the sector and she is not scared to challenge key figures.

Thorrun actively pushes to get pharmacy on the agenda locally and nationally. Appearances discussing pharmacy have enabled her to “myth-bust” a number of common complaints patients raise about pharmacies generally, such as the time taken to process a prescription. It’s not quite as simple as “picking a box off a shelf,'' and this has educated the public and engendered good will towards the profession.


Adama Ibrahim

Adama Ibrahim | Biogen

An innovation award winning operational strategy expert and patient engagement thought leader with over 17 years in the NHS on commission by the DOH and in Industry (Hoffman La-Roche, Amgen, ALMAC, ICON and Biogen). Worked in England and Northern Ireland with temporary assignments in the USA (Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts). Currently part of the DIA Patient Engagement Voluntary Community Leadership team.

Experience across various therapeutic areas such as Neurology, Inflammation, Metabolic Disease, Gastroenterology and Oncology across various phases of trials in drug development include creation and execution of successful strategies for research protocols and CRO oversight, patient and site feasibility, expertise in eClinical tools such as electronic Patient consent technologies, electronic clinical outcomes assessments and interactive response technologies, creation of optimal drug packaging and administration concepts, mapping the patient journey, planning and executing effective global site and patient engagement campaigns using direct to patient methods, leading and coaching remote and complex global teams.

Currently working as one of the Co-Leads for a cross-industry group with 7 other Bio-pharma companies to create an educational white paper on the use of Blockchain technology in clinical trials. Presented findings at Orlando at the Internet and Engineering Standards Forum (IEEE).


Jemma Kehoe

Jemma Kehoe | SuperCarers

Jemma joined SuperCarers last year as Head of Growth. SuperCarers is using technology to transform the quality of care provided and to make care truly person-centred, by matching the needs of families with vetted, local and compassionate caregivers. As is the case with many start-ups, Jemma’s role spans a number of areas including partnership development, business insight and carer recruitment.

Jemma joined SuperCarers from the healthcare team at Oliver Wyman. During her time at Oliver Wyman Jemma loved the variety given by her role. She worked with NHS hospitals, international health systems and was selected to complete a secondment at NHS England.

Jemma joined SuperCarers to combine her passion for healthcare with a role more closely involved with the people of our health and care systems. Jemma has loved being part of the smaller team at SuperCarers, where everyone is working together towards the single goal of helping people live independent lives in their own homes. She has really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved across the organisation, from day-to-day operations to future vision and strategy.

At SuperCarers, Jemma has become an active member of the team, enjoying the pub quiz and games nights! She is currently planning a team fundraiser to support a set of charities linked to SuperCarers’ cause.

Jemma volunteers with the OneHealthTech network, which drives transformation in health tech through championing diversity. Outside of work, Jemma enjoys spending time with friends and family over a tasty meal, loves travelling and attempts to keep up in the latest fitness classes.

Jemma was delighted to receive a nomination for the awards. Thank you!


Vijay Kunadian

Vijay Kunadian | Newcastle University

I am an Academic Consultant Interventional Cardiologist based at Freeman Hospital Newcastle and Newcastle University having completed all my clinical cardiology and interventional cardiology training in the North East of England and an International Academic Fellowship in Cardiology with the TIMI/PERFUSE Study Group, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. I am one of handful of female Interventional Cardiologists in the UK and to my knowledge one of few female interventional cardiologists holding the clinical academic position in the UK in my sub-specialty. I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, European Society of Cardiology and American College of Cardiology. I currently serve as a Steering Committee member of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Intervention Women’s Committee (Since 2013), Young Interventionist’s Committee (Since 2013) and British Cardiovascular Intervention Society Research & Development Committee. I am an invited Speaker and Faculty member of major cardiology scientific sessions. In addition to practising interventional cardiology in one of the busiest cardiac centres, I spend a significant proportion of my time in clinical cardiovascular research with primary focus on strategies to improve cardiovascular outcomes in high-risk patients including older patients and those with co-morbidities. I am a Chief and Principal Investigator in a number of national and international clinical trials. I serve as an Academic Lead in a number Cardiology training programmes including National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) academic foundation programme, NIHR academic clinical fellowship, and DOH Modernising Scientific Careers Master of Cardiac Science programme in Newcastle. I am also lead academic supervisor to a number of students in Newcastle (MBBS, BSc, MSc, Masters for Research, MD, PhD).


Deb Panes

Deb Panes | University Hospitals Bristol

I have been a Gynaecology nurse for 15 years and over this time my passion for caring for young women has developed. For the last 4 ½ years I have been an endometriosis Clinical Nurse Specialist in a specialist centre providing care to women with complex and severe disease. To set up the post I won a U H Bristol nursing scholarship award with enabled me to research the role and identify the key aspects of service provision. From these first steps I have worked alongside my Consultant to develop my skills and knowledge and am now able to provide a fully independent nurse led service to support women through their treatment journey at out hospital.

I have undertaken specialist training and completed professional modules at M level.

I have undertaken patient experience surveys and feedback cards and have identified the role of the CNS is vital in supporting women with this long term chronic condition. It can have a huge impact on a women’s quality of life and their relationships with partners, family and friends. Offering them rapid access to my clinic, phone call and email support enables them to self manage their disease and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.


Zahra Pedersen

Zahra Pedersen | The Healthy Hijab

My story begins in 2006 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 19. The diagnosis and subsequent treatment meant that several years later, I would suffer from severe anxiety and depression. Because of my medical history, I was not keen on taking medication to treat my mental illness, so instead I started doing research on natural ways to self-heal and that's how my interest in diet and fitness came about.

I set up The Healthy Hijab in 2014 because I wanted other women to find strength and power in maintaining their health. I didn't want to set up a company 'just for profit' but wanted to genuinely help those who needed it. That's why I decided to set up a company targeting Muslim women specifically.

I am a Muslim woman and it was important for me to set up a company that would benefit this powerful yet hugely underrepresented part of the UK population.

My journey so far as a Muslim personal trainer has not been easy and I doubt the future will be either. Being a Muslim woman on social media, doing fitness videos and speaking up draws the attention of many - Muslim or otherwise. Seeing firsthand the naivety and ignorance of some people made me want to break the mould even more by breaking past only doing fitness and diet and helping shed light on subjects that don't get discussed often in the Muslim communities - subject like mental health, not wearing or removing the hijab as a Muslim woman, interfaith discrimination and so much more.

In the short amount of time that The Healthy Hijab has been alive, there have been many great successes also. From recognition on TV, radio, lifestyle magazines and newspapers to being involved with charity work and collaborating with other female Muslim lead startups and even speaking at and hosting women's only events in the UK.

I'm extremely grateful for what The Healthy Hijab has become and hopeful for what the future has in store.


Michelle Sharples

Michelle Sharples | Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Michelle Sharples is a Public Health Nurse Executive who has worked in various health organisations, both private and NHS for over 18 years.

Michelle holds a DipHE Nursing, BSc (hons) Public Health, MSc International Management (MBA), is a NMC registered nurse prescriber and is an accredited member of The Association of MBA’s.

Michelle is an incredibly driven person who strives to make a positive contribution in all her work. Michelle believes that, in all aspects of business, a team abundant in diversity is the key to competitive advantage: “The more diverse that a team is, the richer and more innovative the strategies and ideas offered”.

Michelle is passionate about colleague empowerment, learning and development and has maintained an innate love of ongoing education throughout her working life.

Michelle has enjoyed a great deal of voluntary work throughout her career to enhance and compliment her employment experiences. From peer supporter in local parenting groups to consulting as a Non-Executive Director within a C.I.C. Michelle believes that every experience adds value.

For eleven years Michelle worked in school health and noticed the growing trend of young people’s obsession with image and tried to teach and empower them, especially the girls to value themselves.

In 2014 Michelle returned to university having secured a fully funded secondment with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to complete an honours degree in Public Health. In preparation, Michelle had an assessment for dyslexia, as she always suspected that she had undiagnosed problems. During the assessment it was concluded that Michelle did have dyslexia as well as the sensory elements of dyspraxia and Irlens syndrome.  In addition, Michelle scored highly for ADHD and was referred to the adult ADHD service for further assessment. It was confirmed that Michelle had quite severe, inattentive ADHD.  The diagnosis explained her early struggles in education and previous underachievement.

In September 2015 Michelle graduated as a band 6 'Specialist Community Public Health Nurse' (SCPHN) with a specialism in 'Health Visitng'.  However, Michelle missed working with young people, so she tenaciously wrote to every NHS trust within 50 miles until she eventually secured full secondment and sponsorship through Virgin healthcare. Michelle stayed on at The University of Surrey for another four months to complete an additional field of practice qualification in School Nursing.  On completion Michelle became a dual qualified SCPHN practitioner of Health Visiting and School Nursing.

In January 2016, Michelle then began working at a school and registered care home for children with severe challenges and special needs, as a band 7 school nurse practitioner and health centre manager.

With ambitions to progress her career further Michelle returned to University a third time in September 2017 and commenced a MSc International Management (MBA) at Royal Holloway University of London, full time.

The MSc was the first course of education that Michelle had ever completed whilst in receipt of adjustments and support for the various learning difficulties.  The difference was phenomenal, and for the first time Michelle was able study effectively and with focus.  Michelle is a self-funded MSc student via a SFE loan, working agency nurse shifts at Frimley Health as a bank nurse, between her studies.

During bank shifts, Michelle can be placed anywhere in the hospital. Most staff ask about her background and Michelle is happy to tell them. Michelle always encourages those who cross her path to apply for every opportunity available and Michelle continually seeks to empower female colleagues to not limit themselves.

Coaching and inspiring others (especially fellow women) is a deep rooted passion.  With Michelle’s MSc she is currently working at an average of 73% and is on track to gain a MSc with distinction.

Michelle is currently applying for senior positions and hopes to continue to motivate and role model her tenacity and drive, to other professional women in all that she does. Although it’s not just women; Michelle endeavours to empower anyone who is lacking self-confidence and needs support. Michelle loves helping people, she is a people person through and through, and strongly believes that it just takes one person to smile at another person who is struggling and say ‘I know you can do it’ to make a huge difference!