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).

“The guidebook is fairly helpful, but the Adviser's knowledge and experience from other PSPs, on top of the guidebook, is hugely beneficial. She is able to provide insight on deviations and alternatives that would be way too confusing to a solo reader of the guidebook alone.”  (Feedback from a PSP)

"The support of our JLA Adviser has been absolutely invaluable. We have been gently led through the process and having an experienced and, importantly, independent individual very much supports the transparent and equal way of working which is so crucial to the success of the PSP. Bringing expertise of what others have done, what worked well and what else we may want to consider in the context of our specialist area, has been particularly helpful." (Feedback from a PSP)

Meet the team

Nahid Ahmad

Nahid is a practicing Psychologist, who has worked in health research and evaluation for 25 years. She has held previous roles in the academic sector and in the private sector, and has for the past few years worked as an independent consultant, combining her research work with a therapeutic practice. Nahid has specialist knowledge in healthcare policy, practice and research with vulnerable groups, with specific expertise in mental health, long term conditions, and patient centred integrated care. 

Nahid is passionate about achieving impact in all that she does. Outcomes are therefore at the forefront of her work, whether this be for individuals in personal therapy, services evaluating their efficacy, or organisations working towards improving employee wellbeing. Her work has contributed to debate; improved and developed services; informed commissioning decisions, policy-making, and healthcare practice; and helped secure funding to sustain quality initiatives. It is this passion which drives her work as a JLA Adviser, supporting PSPs to generate research priorities, and shape the future of meaningful research in health and social care. For more information about Nahid’s work visit https://preferredfutures.wixsite.com/website.

Louise Dunford

Louise is a freelance consultant who joined the JLA as an adviser in 2022. Louise has worked with the JLA previously, as the academic lead of the Hyperhidrosis PSP, and is passionate about involving patients and the public in setting research priorities and deciding research agendas.

Louise has a BSc and PhD in Nutrition, and also works as an Associate Professor at a university, where she teaches professional skills and nutrition. She’s also an active member of the committees at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the NIHR Emergency Care Incubator Steering Group. She is also currently the lead author of the Cochrane review for interventions for hyperhidrosis, which is funded by an NIHR Evidence Synthesis programme grant, which will hopefully address some of the top ten questions from the Hyperhidrosis PSP. 

Jonathan Gower

After spending many years as a biomedical researcher, Jonathan moved into research management and has worked in Research Council, University and NHS settings. After moving from London to Leeds, he joined the NIHR in 2007, establishing the Comprehensive Clinical Research Network which involved setting up 25 regional research networks and overseeing the delivery of a large portfolio of research studies across 24 clinical specialties. Jonathan joined the JLA team as an adviser in April 2019.

With over 25 years of experience networking with charities, the public and private sectors, Jonathan is passionate about improving the access of patients, their carers and the public to research which makes a real impact on people’s lives.

Toto Anne Gronlund TotoPhoto

Toto holds to heart values of openness, honesty and mutual respect. Toto is committed to creating opportunities for the expertise of the self to emerge, adopting the value of co-creation, for a more sustainable health and care system.

Toto brings over 30 years of experience in health, social care and the voluntary sector. She has recently retired from the NHS, having worked in citizen and clinical involvement, health Informatics, evaluation and health economics. In the voluntary sector she has held roles as a Trustee and facilitator and mentor. Most rewarding was helping groups to use participative evaluation to develop and value their work and their members. Toto started her NHS career as a Hospital Medical Physicist, working in research into non-invasive diagnostics.

As part of lifelong learning Toto completed a diploma in International Primary Care Research at UCL, specialising in the use of the narrative in health research, care and education.

Toto also spends plenty of time with family and friends, and takes to the hills, cycles and keeps bees.

Suzannah Kinsella Suzannah Kinsella

As a facilitator and researcher, Suzannah has involved the public and stakeholders in health and social care policy and service discussions. She has worked with complex and sensitive issues such as genetic technologies, organ donation, changes to health services and data security. The discussions she designs help to generate constructive and insightful conversations that lead to better outcomes.

She has facilitated and chaired a wide range of engagement sessions. They include deliberative workshops, advisory panels, focus groups, simulation workshops and public meetings. These have involved the public, ministers, senior clinicians, NHS and local authority managers and academics.

During her career, Suzannah has been Head of Engagement at a social research agency and held the same position at the Cabinet Office agency the Central Office of Information (COI). At the COI she worked with government policy makers and NHS bodies to both commission and deliver public and stakeholder engagement. Suzannah joined the JLA team as an adviser in April 2019.

Caroline Magee Caroline Magee

Caroline is a freelance consultant who supports organisations with strategic change initiatives and people engagement activities. She joined JLA as an Adviser in 2023.

Caroline started her career as a biomedical researcher before focusing on communications and engagement strategies for global pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. She then applied this experience to the health and care research sector working as Communications Lead for National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), before taking up a role as Deputy CEO for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Academy. While at NIHR, Caroline co-led the establishment of the Academy and enhanced the support provided to the Academy's career development award holders through enhancing their annual conference, embedding Patient and Public Involvement and establishing the Academy Mentorship programme. Caroline also led on the publication of the NIHR’s first Diversity Data Report.

Tamara Rader Tamara Rader

Tamara has been a Patient Engagement Officer with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) since 2015.  She enjoys listening to people with lived experience from across Canada and finding ways to involve them in CADTH’s projects. In previous roles with the Cochrane Collaboration, she supported an enthusiastic group of patient volunteers as they offered their perspectives on Cochrane protocols and systematic reviews and helped to prioritize research in arthritis using internationally established methods. Tamara is formally trained as a Medical Librarian and has worked with several research groups (generally based in hospitals and universities) and professional associations in Canada and the UK (BMJ Publishing Group), where she learned to appreciate the value of a question and the satisfaction of locating helpful information. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, cycling, ice skating, and socializing with friends & family. Tamara joined the JLA team in 2019.

Menne Scherpenzeel

Menne is a freelance consultant and managing director of Crohn's & Colitis NL, a patient organisation for people with IBD: Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. He joined JLA as an Adviser in May 2024, with a focus on PSPs in the Netherlands.

He has been active in civil society, in various roles, for over 30 years: as adviser and project manager (e.g. VSB foundation, Dutch Heart Foundation, partner consultancy Blue North Sea), as manager and director (e.g. Organisation for Disabled Sports Netherlands and SailWise). In addition, he has always been actively involved as a volunteer, in the role of board member (a.o. European branch organisation of patient organisations for people with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Netherlands Philanthropy Country), (vice) chairman of boards (Dutch Association of Prevention and GVO (NVPG), Dutch Organisations for Volunteer Work (NOV) and advisory committee Fund for Disability Sport) and unpaid adviser (various social and cultural initiatives in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands). Menne has extensive experience in providing training, facilitating expert meetings and chairing consultations and meetings.

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.

Jo Watson Jo Watson

Jo is a registered occupational therapist and freelance consultant who joined the JLA team as an Adviser in 2023. In a career spanning over thirty years, she has worked in practice in Australia and the UK, in higher education as an educator and researcher and in a national strategic leadership role heading up education and research for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

A key strand of Jo’s ongoing work focuses on national workforce development. This centres on building research capability and capacity within the health and care professions to support the transformation of services and deliver the best possible outcomes and experiences for those accessing them. Her complementary role as a JLA Adviser facilitating identification of the research priorities most important to the people accessing and delivering services, supports the workforce to target their efforts to where they will have most impact.

Kasope Wolffs Kasope Wolffs Image

Kasope (Sope) Wolffs holds a BSc and a PhD in Biomedical Science, with over a decade's experience in clinical and preclinical research. She works as a postdoctoral researcher and clinical trial manager, bringing a unique combination of project management, creativity and compassion to her roles within academia and the NHS. Sope is driven by people-centred research and a significant part of her work focuses on engaging with patients, clinicians and researchers to ensure the best outcomes.

Beyond her professional life, Sope loves supporting students from diverse backgrounds and helping them achieve their academic and career goals through STEM engagement activities, tutoring, mentoring, and widening participation initiatives. She also actively participates in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) advisory groups within and outside her university, advocating for equitable opportunities for underrepresented groups in the biomedical research field.