Celebrating IGHI’s women

IGHI is fortunate to have so many inspiring women who play an important part in shaping our work. Not only have they influenced our legacy since the launch of the Institute in 2010, they’re also leading the way forward in delivering our latest innovative research.

For Women at Imperial Week, and with International Women’s Day around the corner, we’re highlighting 10 women in different roles across IGHI. We spoke to them to find out a bit more about what motivates them, and the future they’d like to see for women in the workplace.

What motivates you at work?

“I think education is one of the areas that IGHI has the greatest impact – we train healthcare professionals from across the system, which can influence and impact the delivery of services and ultimately, patient care. I think that’s really cool. I also love working with the diverse range of people across the Institute. Everyone has a different experience and brings a fresh perspective to our projects which makes it a really fun team to work in.”

Jessica Prestt
Director of Operations, Education, IGHI

“As a designer, I’m motivated by my surroundings working in a hospital. Being able to interact with NHS staff and patients, and experiencing complex healthcare scenarios first-hand makes my role of using design research to help solve complex problems even more rewarding. Working with these people is what motivates me the most.”

Alice Blencowe
Design Associate, Helix Centre

What’s the most rewarding part of your role?

“As a PhD student and researcher, I have the opportunity to learn and discover new knowledge. The true reward though is the chance to share a piece of information or a discovery with the rest of the world. Teaching in higher education and presenting my work to academics and the public has always been my motivation.”

Maria Leiloglou
Research Postgraduate, Hamlyn Centre


“It is a great pleasure to work in my current team, my principal investigator and colleagues are always supportive and helpful. Having a research goal and the friendly environment at IGHI makes you feel good when you come to work.”

Mimi Xiao
Research Associate, Centre for Health Policy


What do you enjoy most about working at IGHI?

“While cutting-edge research is at the core of everything we do, impact is the main driver for everyone here. We raise awareness about topics we believe need to be discussed more. We ensure that policymakers have access to our findings, and we work with organisations to find innovative ways in which they can use their data to improve care. This drive to have a real-world impact is what I find most inspiring and exciting about being part of IGHI.”

Melanie Leis
Director, Big Data and Analytical Unit


“One of the best things about IGHI is the various experience, expertise and thought-processes that everyone brings to the table. It’s a real opportunity to try and develop new skills. Here it’s not only possible to explore professional development opportunities outside of your area of expertise, but it is also encouraged. That’s what makes me excited to come into work every day at IGHI – the opportunity to become a better version of myself.”

Clarissa Gardner
Research Assistant, Digital Health, Centre for Health Policy


What are your hopes for the future of women in the workplace?

“I have had the fortune of coming into my career at a time when more and more women are entering STEM professions, particularly in academia and medicine. About half of my Clinical Research Fellow PhD colleagues are women. I have had on-call surgical shifts where the entire team was female. This would have been unheard of just 20 years ago. My hope is that we continue to #changethenorm, until equality is the norm.”

Martha Kedrzycki
Clinical Research Fellow, Hamlyn Centre

“My hopes for the future are to have more women in leadership positions that are kind and inspire the next generation. Having great role models helps set the template on how to behave well, and provides a path for others to follow. I am extremely grateful for those women that have inspired me so far, especially Dr Sadia Khan my PhD supervisor who is an academic, consultant cardiologist and a wonderful mother.”

Meera Joshi
Clinical Research Fellow, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre and Helix Centre


What advice would you give to young women looking to work in global health?

“Women account for 70% of the global health workforce but only 25% of the leadership positions in this field. Whilst those may be daunting odds, don’t be defined by them. Find good mentors, challenge yourself and commit. By supporting each other we can become the change we want to see.”

Seema Yalamanchili
Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Health Policy and Helix Centre


“My advice would be to collaborate with a wide range of people from different backgrounds – both for networking purposes to broaden your outlook, and to identify and build on your personal strengths. But most of all – be yourself!​”

Bryony Franklin
Research Lead, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

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