NIHR CLAHRC East of England Board


Stephen Thornton

Stephen Thornton CBE

Stephen Thornton is a senior healthcare executive and non executive with many years board level experience. He is a leader with a proven track record of achieving change and continuous improvement in a number of major public and third sector organisations. He has an acknowledged reputation as an expert in system-wide improvement in the quality of the delivery of healthcare.

His nonexecutive director experience is mainly in the field of regulation. He sat on the Board of the Healthcare Commission and was Deputy Chair of Monitor. He presently sits on the Nursing and Midwifery Council; and the United Kingdom Board for Hospital Chaplaincy. He was also previously a non-executive director of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network; and The Pathology Partnership, bringing five pathology services together across East Anglia

Until 2014 he headed the Health Foundation, an independent healthcare charitable foundation, with an endowment of +£750m and an annual expenditure of c£26m. He transformed it from a traditional grant making charity to be the foremost independent exponent of quality and safety improvement in healthcare in the UK.

As the CEO of The NHS Confederation he negotiated directly with Ministers and senior officials and was the ‘public face’ of NHS management where he handled some of the most challenging media environments. He was described by The Guardian newspaper in 2000 as being amongst the 15 most influential people instrumental in setting the direction for the then Labour Government’s Plan for the NHS in England. He was also a member of the Department of Health’s National Quality Board.

Board members


 AlikoAliko Ahmed

Professor Aliko Ahmed is Director of Public Health England for East of England, and previously the Director of Public Health for Staffordshire NHS and County Council. He qualified in medicine, and trained in epidemiology and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, and at the University of Cambridge.
He oversees the development and implementation of Public Health England programmes and activities in the East of England including the provision of technical advice and support to local governments and the NHS. He has over 24 years’ experience working as a clinician, academic and public health practitioner in health systems across low and high income countries.

johnbradley_stillJohn Bradley CBE

Dr John Bradley is Director of the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. He is also Renal Physician and Director of Research and Development at Cambridge University Hospitals. He completed undergraduate medical training at Nottingham University and trained in renal medicine in Cambridge, before completing research fellowships at Harvard, Yale and Cambridge Universities. Dr Bradley is Regional Specialty Adviser in Renal Medicine, Programme Director for Renal Medicine in the Eastern Deanery, member of the Joint Committee on Renal Disease and the Department of Health’s Renal Advisory Group, Special Adviser to Kidney Research UK and President of the Nephrology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. He leads the NIHR BioResource, and is co-Chair of the NIHR Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration, and co-Director of the Cambridge-Yale research collaboration. He is Director of Studies in Medicine at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, and has written five textbooks on pre-clinical and clinical medicine. He is Editor of the British Journal of Renal Medicine.


Julie Cave

Julie Cave is Chief Executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Julie has nearly 30 years’ experience in the NHS, having begun her career in the south east working as a regional finance trainee and financial accountant before relocating to East Anglia in 1991. After spending four years at East Suffolk Health Authority, Julie moved into acute services and held senior positions at both Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) and James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Julie joined NSFT from NNUH, where she spent six years as Director of Resources with responsibility for estates, IT, contracting, finance and performance. During this time she was also the accountable officer for the Eastern Clinical Research Network and executive lead for cancer.


Dr_Caroline_DolleryCaroline Dollery

Dr Caroline Dollery has been a GP in Danbury Medical Centre for 18 years. Her clinical interests include mental health, learning disabilities, cardiology and paediatrics. Caroline was previously the GP Board Member for Governance. Caroline is also Chair of MECCG board and elected GP board member Chair of Clinical Comissioning committee Quality and Governance committee member Remuneration and Terms of Service committee member.


Tracey Dowling

Tracy Dowling is the Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and joined CPFT in 2017 from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group where she was Chief Officer. Tracy has more than 30 years’ experience with the NHS, including 12 years at boardroom level, after beginning her career as a radiographer. Before joining the Cambridge and Peterborough CCG, she was previously Director of Operations and Delivery with NHS England, working in the East Anglia Area Team and establishing systems of assurance for clinical commissioning. Prior to that, she was Director of Strategic Commissioning with NHS Suffolk for four years, both with the Primary Care Trust and subsequent CCGs.


iGetImage-420x372Dylan Edwards

Professor Dylan Edwards has been Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at UEA since February 2016.  In 2015-16 he was also interim Director of The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), a BBSRC-supported centre for bioinformatics and genome sequencing on the Norwich Research Park.The principal focus of his research is cancer, investigating the roles of extracellular metalloproteinases in angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) and tumour cell migration, invasion and metastasis. From 2004-9 Dylan co-ordinated the EU Framework Programme 6 “Cancer Degradome” project which involved 41 laboratories in 13 countries.



Professor Steve Feast is the Managing Director of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network. Prior to this Steve was Executive Medical Director at North East London Foundation Trust. In this role Steve was a member of NCEL Health Education England board and held several prominent roles within the UCL Partners CLARHC and AHSN. As an experienced clinician qualified both as a GP and psychiatrist Steve worked for 16 years in GP practice and was one of the founder members of the National Primary and Care Trust Development team (NatPaCT), lead PEC Chair for the East of England as well as Professional Executive Committee Chair of Bedfordshire Heartlands PCT. Steve is a Visiting Professor at University College London.


Patrick Maxwell

Professor Patrick Maxwell undertook postgraduate clinical and research training in nephrology and general medicine at Guy’s Hospital and in Oxford. He was appointed as University Lecturer and then Reader at the University of Oxford. In 2002 he moved to the Professorship of Nephrology at Imperial College, followed by the Chair of Medicine at University College London in 2008. He was appointed Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine of the University of Cambridge in 2012. Professor Maxwell has served on a number of national grant committees and holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005, and was its Registrar from 2006 to 2012.

John Senior

Professor John Senior, is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Hertfordshire.  He joined as Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences in 1998 moving from the post of Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has substantial experience over 25 years of research in optical communications and networking including pioneering activities concerned with optical fibre local area networks (LANs) and passive optical networks (PONs). John has lead research in a range of aspects including device and subsystem technology together with system and network development at both physical and medium access control levels (i.e. novel protocol development and analysis). John has also published widely the results of his research with now over 260 refereed journal and conference papers, being awarded a DSc degree for these research outputs in 2001. In addition, John served on the EPSRC Peer Review College from 1995 to 2011, was on the editorial board of Photonic Network Communications from 2001 to 2012, remains on the editorial board of the European Transactions in Telecommunications and is a co-opted member of the Engineering Professors Council Committee.

Board Members representing patients and the public (PPI)


mary_ledgardMary Ledgard

Mary Ledgard is a Board member of Healthwatch Norfolk. Her interest is in improving health and social care stems from the experiences of my family and friends, particularly with regard to the provision of adequate information. Mary’s professional background includes work on regeneration projects throughout Norfolk, and she is a volunteer with organisations that champion and support older people.


AlexMendozaAlex Mendoza

Alex Mendoza is a retired civil engineer with a history of involvement in health matters. He joined the East Herts Community Health council in 2000, and subsequently was elected as chair of the CHC’s successor organisation – the local Health Forum. He maintains an interest in the provider side of the NHS as a member of his GP surgery’s patient group and as a member Herts Urgent Care’s Stakeholder Council. In 2006, the University of Hertfordshire established a Public Involvement in Research Group (PIR group) within its Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care. (CRIPACC) and he became one of its founder members. Members play an active role in the University’s health and social care research projects at all stages of the INVOLVE research cycle, including ‘hands on’ participation and dissemination. His PPI work with CRIPACC led to his appointment to several regional health research bodies within the East of England:- – The Research for Patient Benefit Regional Advisory Committee (grant funding body) where he served for six years. – The regional Primary Care Research Network. – The regional Research Design Service Board. During his three-year term, he played a part in the establishment of INSPIRE – the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire PPI group. He is a lay peer reviewer for RfPB, SDO, SAPC and HSandDR.


Sarah Rae 2Sarah Rae

Sarah Rae worked for many years as a research assistant at the Cambridge Visual Development Unit before joining the CLAHRC, as a PPI Advisor, in April 2011. She is a long-term mental health service user who trained 8 years ago as Expert by Experience with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and more recently as a Patient Leader. This led to many new opportunities including the chance to become involved in Trust research projects, working groups and staff training. She also works as a Trustee of national Mind, is co-founder of PROMISE Global and a member of the Health Foundations Q Community.