JLA Advisers

James Lind Alliance (JLA) Advisers are independent consultants who support and guide PSPs as neutral facilitators, to make sure that the process is followed in a fair and transparent way.  They ensure equal input from the perspectives of patients, carers and clinicians.

PSP Steering Groups are chaired independently by a JLA Adviser throughout the 12-18 month life of the PSP.  Advisers are recruited, approved and trained by the JLA.  They are paid directly by individual Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs).

Meet the team

Katherine Cowan, Senior Adviser Katherine Cowan

Katherine is Senior Adviser to the JLA and has been a key contributor to the development of its methods and profile since 2008. Katherine co-wrote and edited the original JLA Guidebook. She has chaired over 14 PSPs and facilitated at more than 25 priority setting workshops. She is passionate about the JLA method and its potential to bring disparate and often seldom-heard groups together to influence the research agenda.

Katherine’s professional background is in social research and she has a particular interest in public participation and inclusion. She has a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring Practice and has worked as an independent consultant for eight years. Katherine is based in St Leonards-on-Sea and her hobbies include knitting and target sports. For more information and a list of publications, visit Katherine's website.

Leanne Metcalf LeanneMetcalf

Leanne is a skilled facilitator with over 10 years of experience working with researchers and patients on health research issues. Leanne was Assistant Director of Research at Asthma UK, the UK’s leading asthma charity, from 2007 to 2014. Prior to that she worked for Parkinson’s UK as Research Operations Manager and the Lord Dowding Fund supporting advanced medical and scientific research.

During her career, she has been a member of numerous steering groups for research studies, and a member of the Medicines for Children Research Network Clinical Studies Group (Respiratory and Cystic Fibrosis), the European Lung Foundation (ELF) Patient Advisory Committee, and the NICE Quality Standards Asthma Topic Expert Group (TEG). She is the professional adviser to an EU, FP7-funded project, called EARIP (the European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership) and she is providing support and oversight for one of the work packages which aims to produce a pan-European roadmap for asthma research.  She has also facilitated events for the MS Society and the Cochrane Airways Group. 

Leanne has a long-standing personal and professional interest in evidence-based decision-making and has won awards for science communication activities during her professional career.  She is also certified by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).

Richard Morley Richard Morley

Richard has extensive experience of public engagement and partnership working in the voluntary, public and health research sectors. He developed innovative programmes of support for coal-mining communities in the Midlands, later managing the Rural Development Programme in Nottinghamshire. Richard established the East Midlands School for Social Entrepreneurs and a network of Independent Equalities Advisory Groups in Nottinghamshire.

More recently, Richard worked in the University of York's Department of Health Sciences Wounds Group, with the James Lind Alliance Pressure Ulcer Partnership, and on the innovative project "Order, Chaos and Chronic Illness" exploring the way we think and write about chronic ill health. He helped establish the Department of Health Sciences Patient and Public Involvement Committee, and remains a Visiting Research Fellow.

Richard is the Cochrane Consumer Network Coordinator.

Sandra Regan Sandra Regan

Sandra has a long-standing interest in health and wellness, and is a firm believer that the people whose lives are affected by conditions should be at the heart of finding the solutions.  During the last 20 years she has taught English as a Foreign Language, supported the work of the University of Oxford’s Centre for the Study of African Economies, and provided administrative support to a small business working on nature conservation and development in emerging economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia. She's also acted as a consultant for a social marketing practice, developed strategies for encouraging changes in behaviour for environmental and health benefits among UK communities and worked as Personal Assistant to a Professor of Orthopaedics who initiated a Priority Setting Partnership. As part of this role she acted as co-ordinator for the PSP, and went on to become Patient Involvement and James Lind Alliance Project Manager for the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. She has now worked with 8 PSPs as a co-ordinator. She continues her Oxford role on a part-time basis.

In recent years, following a lifetime hobby in amateur dramatics, Sandra trained as a Storyteller in the oral tradition, and is also a student teacher of the Interactive Teaching Method of Alexander Technique. Her wish is to find a way to marry these interests with her work in patient and public involvement in research. 

Maryrose Tarpey Maryrose Tarpey

Maryrose is a freelance consultant on research design and priority setting, ethics and analysis of research management data. Until February 2016 she was Assistant Director at INVOLVE Coordinating Centre, part of the National Institute for Health Research, where she led on policy and evidence on public involvement in health and social care research. She has worked in academia and for voluntary sector organisations as a researcher, trainer and evaluator of health and welfare provision. Her qualifications include a social science degree and post graduate diploma in public services evaluation.
She has chaired and facilitated meetings on a wide range of topics involving people with different perspectives. She is skilled at including users of research - patients, carers, community groups, clinicians, practitioners and service providers - in her work. Through INVOLVE, which was a JLA founding partner, Maryrose has supported the JLA approach since the foundation of the James Lind Alliance in 2004. She joined the JLA team as an adviser in April 2016. 

Sheela Upadhyaya Sheela Upadhyaya

Sheela is an NHS manager with over 17 years of experience in both the delivery of services in the acute setting and the commissioning of highly specialised services for rare and ultra-rare conditions. She has a strong focus on the people who matter in the NHS – patients. She uses her skills and natural affinity for working with a diverse range of people to obtain the best outcomes for them in a shared collaborative way.

She is an experienced facilitator and mentor, and has the ability to work transparently, harmonising stakeholder’s objectives, including clinicians and patient groups, to deliver recognisable outcomes. She utilises her extensive network of service providers, clinical experts and patient groups to engage with and deliver challenging and difficult projects.

Sheela currently supports a number of JLA PSPs as an adviser and uses this platform to learn more about different conditions and diseases.

Catherine White Catherine White

Catherine became involved in healthcare following a critical illness. Since 2007 she has volunteered for ICUsteps, the Intensive Care patient and relative support charity, and is currently a Trustee and Information Manager for the charity. Catherine participates in strategic health work, and she is Chair of the Advisory board for a research project into NHS Leadership following the Francis Report as well as being a member of the NICE Sepsis Guideline Development Group. She has participated in numerous NIHR-funded intensive care research trials as either co-applicant or steering group member.  She is also a NIHR Health Technology Assessment Clinical Evaluation and Trials funding board member.