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

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 around 50 PSPs and facilitated at almost 70 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 since 2007. Katherine is based in St Leonards-on-Sea. For more information and a list of publications, visit Katherine's website.

Tricia Ellis PatriciaEllisPhoto

Tricia has worked in research related environments throughout her career. From her first post as a research and development physicist in a government laboratory, she has moved through consultancy, research funding, training and mentoring, governance and management. With academic qualifications in both natural and social sciences she has worked across national and regional government, the NHS and academia as well as the charity and private sectors.

In her most recent posts with the NIHR Clinical Research Network, she established and developed the NIHR Primary Care Research Network and as Divisional Director for Research Delivery had oversight of the delivery and performance of a large portfolio of clinical research studies covering ageing, dermatology, health services research, musculoskeletal disorders, oral and dental health, primary care and public health.

Jonathan Gower Jonathan Gower 2019

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. Most recently he was the Assistant Specialty Cluster Lead for Cancer, Surgery and Oral & Dental Health in the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

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.

Tamara Rader Tamara Rader JLA Adviser

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.


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.