The project team holds and steers the vision for the Synergi Collaborative Centre and its effective delivery, supported by the Advisory Board and Lankelly Chase Foundation.
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui is also an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the East London NHS Foundation Trust, Co-Founder and Director of Careif, Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry and International Journal of Culture and Mental Health. He has led research and learning programmes on ethnic inequalities in mental illnesses, suicide, self-harm, chronic fatigue, violence and traumatic experiences, homelessness, refugee experiences, drug use and Mental Health Act detentions in hospitals and in the criminal justice system, including prisons. Kamaldeep has been an adviser to the Department of Health and Public Health England, and formerly chaired the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ committees on public health and transcultural psychiatry. He has supported three projects for the National Clinical Director on Mental Health (Consultation and Advice for NHS England, Public Health England, and providing a national public health online resource called Mental Health 4 Life). In 2016, Kamaldeep was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours List for services to mental health care and research.
Joy Francis is an expert in strategic communications, social policy and media relations across all disciplines and platforms. She has worked on national and regional ethnic minority mental health campaigns and policy initiatives for over 20 years. Francis co-authored the UK’s first survey on ethnic minority service users for Mind and has worked with government departments, police forces, NGOs, universities, charities and mental health trusts on national policy initiatives, such as the David ‘Rocky’ Bennett Inquiry and Delivering Race Equality. Words of Colour was appointed by Time to Change, England’s anti stigma mental health campaign, to develop regional media engagement campaigns targeting African and Caribbean communities. Most recently, Francis was the Media Liaison Lead for the Hillsborough Inquests, appointed by Birnberg Peirce law firm, which represented 77 of the 96 families of the deceased, and is the Media Liaison Lead for the Camber Sands Inquests.
Professor James Nazroo has conducted research on inequalities in health for almost 30 years, with a focus on the patterning and drivers of inequalities in later life, and on the inequalities faced by ethnic minority people. This work describes the patterning of differences in health across and within broad ethnic groupings, and assesses the contribution that social and economic disadvantage makes to these differences. Central to this approach has been developing an understanding of the links between ethnicity, racism and inequality, and how this evolves across the life course and over time. His research also covers the role of access to, and quality of health services, including a critical examinaIon of mental health services. Nazroo led the only national population-based surveys assessing ethnic differences in the prevalence of mental illness, and has written extensively on ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness.
Dr Kristoffer Halvorsrud is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London, and is part of the Synergi Collaborative Centre’s project team. Kristoffer previously worked as a Research Associate in the Evidence Synthesis Team in the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. His duties included conducting systematic reviews informing guideline and policy development processes for key stakeholders within health such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). Before taking up a position at Newcastle University, Kristoffer worked as a Research Associate for the Knowledge Centre for Education (part of the Research Council of Norway). His main responsibility was conducting systematic reviews in educational research commissioned by the Norwegian government and informing reports/guidelines at an international level for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Kristoffer has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Nottingham. His thesis was on the topic of migration and ethnic relations through a case study of South African migrants in Britain.
Natalia has 20 years of experience providing and leading services that help to improve, empower and transform lives. She has worked at operational, project and senior management level and has expertise in leading start up and change processes in community-based charities. Her work includes the redesign, development and delivery of projects that provide advocacy, support and access to education for minoritised women and young people. Natalia is committed to ensuring that services are developed, delivered and sustained within a strong equalities framework. She also delivers training, speaks about and writes expert reports that support the cases of women, children and young people who have been trafficked. Natalia holds non-executive roles on the board at Stonewall Housing and the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU). She was awarded an MBE for her work with vulnerable women in London in the Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours List.
Dr Maria Haarmans (CPsychol) is a Research Associate within the Cathie Marsh Institute of Social Research at the University of Manchester. Her 20+ years in the mental health field in Canada, Japan and the UK, specialising in psychosis, both as a therapist and researcher, have sensitised her to inequalities and their role in psychological distress. Maria has used mixed methods and a sex- and gender-based analysis to investigate the impact of intersections of gender, class, ‘race’ and other social categories on the development and expression of psychotic experiences. She is interested in participatory approaches to research and has recently facilitated Participatory Action Research with male prisoners within a medium security prison. She aims to expand the focus from individual to social-structural levels of analysis for understanding severe psychological distress and enhancing practice.
Georgia Mae Webster is currently studying for an MSc in Cultural and Global Perspectives in Mental Health at Queen Mary University of London. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Goldsmith’s, University of London, where she completed research on the effects of different interventions on university students and staff mental wellbeing. Her research interests cover racism and mental health, and she is currently completing her thesis on the impact of institutional racism on psychosis in African and Caribbean populations. Georgia entered the Queen Mary’s Mental Health Academy postgraduate poster competition and won the Cultural and Global Perspectives 2018 poster first prize for her poster on The Effects of Institutional Racism on Schizophrenia in African and Caribbeans. A member of the MQ’s young persons advisory group, the mental health research charity who started the We Swear campaign, she also is a volunteer at Mildmay Hospital and has spent time volunteering with the Inspire Mental Health Consortium as well as the Whitechapel Mission.