About us and our partners

Here at HWHCT we participate in a number of large scale portfolio research studies that have been adopted onto the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio. These studies take place at a number of different sites nationally and cover a range of conditions from mental health to dietetics, COVID-19 to learning disabilities (LD).

We’re a friendly bunch in the Research and Development at HWHCT team and are passionate about improving patient care through research supporting staff with the relevant training to aid them on their research journey whilst being guided by our Research-Strategy

Whilst many research studies were suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 the research team supported a number of Urgent Public health COVID-19 research studies including ISARIC (International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium) and the Recovery Trial. We feel extremely proud to have played our part in supporting the research and clinical community in helping learn more about COVID and improving care for patients.

The Research Team

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any research related questions and queries – we’d love to hear from you!

Dr John Devapriam: Medical Director

“Clinical research…is what makes the development of new medicines, new procedures and new therapies possible. Without clinical research, we would not be able to decide if new interventions are better than our current interventions. It is how healthcare professionals find the most effective methods of care for our patients.”

Dr John Devapriam is the Medical Director and Executive lead for research at HWHCT which is part of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Integrated Care System (ICS). He is a consultant psychiatrist and has been a clinician researcher all his career. His portfolio consists of several peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and national Reports. He was Committee member for the NICE guideline (NG 93) Learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges service design and delivery (2018).

Professor Peter Langdon: Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Honorary Director of Research

“Research is vital to improving healthcare, reducing disability, and improving the quality of our lives. This is everyone’s business, and those who participate in clinical research make an incredibly valuable and important contribution to our shared society.”

Professor Peter Langdon is the Honorary Associate Director of Research and is responsible for helping to implement our clear plan for the further inclusion of research across all aspects of healthcare to improve the quality of care provided to the residents of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. He is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and has led several national studies focused upon improving the lives of people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Sam Topping: Research and Development Manager

My role is to oversee clinical and health research in the Trust, and to encourage and support development of our own locally generated research ideas. The research process enables us to explore, identify and generate new knowledge and understanding of our world, which to me, is really exciting. I am particularly interested in the psychology of organisational culture, and the use of qualitative methodologies.

Angela Hoadley: Clinical Research Practitioner

I think research is important to develop treatments and processes to benefit patients, staff and carers. My role includes completing feasibility documentation for potential portfolio and commercial studies within the Trust. Additionally, I identify and support Principal Investigators to be involved in research and assist participants through the research process. My background is in mental health and psychology and I would describe myself as a quantitative researcher.

Amber Freeman: Clinical Research Practitioner

My role as a Clinical Research Practitioner is to assist the delivery of NIHR portfolio studies, including recruiting participants and conducting study related tasks. My background is psychology and I have worked in various adult mental health settings. Research is vital for health and care services as it develops the evidence base for the current and new treatments we offer patients and helps professionals and organisations delivering care to patients. I have a keen qualitative research interest in exploring inclusivity of marginalised groups and reducing mental health stigma. 

Maria Morelli: Clinical Research Practitioner

I am a clinical research practitioner and I believe that research is a vital component in developing our understanding of cause, diagnosis and treatments for mental and physical conditions to improve quality of life. My focus is to help with the delivery of ethical and good quality NIHR approved research by supporting multi-disciplinary teams with protocol related tasks, screening, recruiting participants and data safety. My background is in Psychology and Criminology and I am now specialising in Cognitive Neuroscience. I would describe myself as a computational quantitative researcher.

Harriet Davies:  Research Support Facilitator

I support the R&D team and HWHC staff in the delivery of NIHR portfolio adopted health and care research studies, non-portfolio and commercial health and care research studies. I am also involved in promoting research opportunities within the Trust. The best parts of my job are setting up research studies, making sure study targets are met and enabling colleagues and clinical staff to work on the study.

Alice Madden: Research Project Support Officer

My role is to help grow healthcare professional and patient sign up to research studies through effective marketing. I have a background in sales and marketing with a major retailer and national charity and am proud to be using these skills to help progress development in clinical & health research that directly improves patient care.

Our collaborators: working together to make research happen

National Institute for Health Research

‘The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research & provides the people, facilities, and technology that enable research to thrive.’ Credit: NIHR website

Also known as the research arm of the NHS, the NIHR’s mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Here’s a snapshot of what they do and here is a more in-depth explanation of how research is organised and run in the UK.

Clinical Research Networks (CRNs)

Within the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), 15 regional Clinical Research Networks (CRN’s) enable research to happen at a local level. HWHCT sit in the CRN West Midlands which is also the largest local network representing a population of 5.67 million.

Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM)

Within CRN WM there are 28 NHS Trusts and 20 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). In CRN WM Trust-based research activity is managed and supported by local Research and Development (R&D) teams like us in the HWHCT.

This network helps to increase the opportunities for patients to take part in research studies and ensure that studies are carried out efficiently.

Public and Patient Involvement (PPI)

The NHS has adopted the concept of PPI since the Health and Social Care Act 2001 placed a duty on it to involve and consult patients and the public about NHS plans, services and resources. PPI in mental health research is now a requirement for gaining ethical permission and is becoming a requirement of funding support.

It is really important that PPI within mental health research be effective, meaningful and sustainable and not just a tick box exercise.

Making people who are involved feel part of the process and ensuring that their views are listened to and acted upon, is all part of effective and sustainable PPI. Researchers and clinicians have developed their expertise through study and clinical practice: their knowledge is not through their own experience of living with a particular condition and what is involved on a personal level.

The NIHR offers great support and guidance about PPI through it’s ‘INVOLVE’ vision:

“A world of active public research partnerships leading to improvement of health and care for all.”

To put this simply, INVOLVE is there to support gold standard public involvement and help to make participants’ valuable contributions really mean something leading to better and relevant healthcare or services for all.

Universities, organisations & councils:

University of Worcester               

University of Birmingham  

University of Warwick

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration

National Centre for Mental Health

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Council for Allied Health Professionals Research (Cahpr)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellowship Programme

You may also be interested to learn more about…

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Alzheimer’s Research UK is ‘the UK’s leading dementia research charity and have invested in over 1000 projects across all forms of dementia since 1998.’ Their mission 'is to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.' They provide free dementia information booklets, and answer questions about dementia and dementia research via the Dementia Research Infoline 0300 111 5111 or infoline@alzheimersresearchuk.org To find out more and how to get involved please visit: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

Credit: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

Join Dementia Research

If you are interested in finding out more about research into dementia, the Join Dementia Research (JDR) pages offer great information.

‘Join Dementia Research’ is a collaboration which provides a service enabling people to register their interest in participating in dementia research and be matched to suitable studies by health professionals.