IGHI people: Meet Owen Bray, Patient Safety Project Manager, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

IGHI is home to a team of staff who are skilled and passionate about their roles. Our talented people are the reason we’re able to tackle some of the most pressing global health challenges through cutting-edge innovation.

We’re giving you the chance to get to know our staff a little better and learn about what motivates them in their roles, who inspires them and what they like to get up to outside of IGHI.

Meet Owen Bray, Patient Safety Project Manager for our NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC). Find out more about Owen, what motivates him, and how he works to bring people in the patient safety world together.

What does your role involve? 

Like many of the team at IGHI, my role is very broad. Primarily, I oversee our domestic patient safety work, working closely with our colleagues in Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust on joint projects and finding new opportunities to work together. That includes a range of things, such as facilitating links between the Trust and PSTRC researchers, supporting the Trust in learning from COVID-19, or collaborating on joint events such as World Patient Safety Day. More generally, I manage a lot of the Centre’s operational work, including our management board meetings and annual reporting.

What attracted you to the role?

I was working at IGHI on a rotation as part of Imperial’s graduate scheme. I really enjoyed working in patient and public involvement and engagement, which had strong links to our patient safety work. The opportunity then came up to apply to stay in the team and I was very keen to continue.

My academic background is in sociology and gender studies. Previously I’d worked in business consultancy and university management, so not a conventional route into working in patient safety! Then again, there is no real conventional path into working in patient safety. On a daily basis, I work with people from a range of backgrounds, from clinicians and researchers to patients or policy experts, which makes my role particularly interesting.

How would your colleagues describe you in three words?

The fact this took me so long to answer suggests they might describe me as considerate! Otherwise, I’d like to think I’m supportive and analytical.

What’s your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional? 

Most recently, I’d say the work we put in as a team for World Patient Safety Day . The theme of the day was around health worker safety and patient safety. As part of this, I led a project with colleagues in the Imperial NHS Trust to interview frontline staff members. We discussed their experiences of working during the first wave of COVID-19, with a focus on minority ethnic staff members’ perspectives. We shared these interviews as part of our virtual event on the day, alongside a panel discussion and speeches from senior NHS and policy figures.

I was proud that we were able to use our platform to provide an opportunity to frontline staff to share their own thoughts. I think it’s important to give people a platform to share their own stories when you discuss issues that affect them. I hope we can do more of this in future.

Who inspires you? 

I think we can find inspiration in everybody when we listen to what they have to say. Following my reflections on World Patient Safety Day, I’m always inspired by people who feel able to share their personal experiences on an issue that’s affected them. Particularly because sharing those perspectives is often challenging and involves speaking up on sensitive matters. That’s something I’d like to do more of myself.

Closer to home, I’m inspired by my sister Molly, who always finds humour in life’s unusual and challenging situations.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? 

The ability to teleport would be handy. I enjoy life in London, but my family are mostly all based in Shropshire – it would be great to stop by at a moment’s notice rather than needing to take time off to see those I’m closest to.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, so perhaps I’m being flippant! Otherwise, I’m a big music fan so I’m probably guilty of working in the office with my headphones too often. Perhaps we need an IGHI Spotify playlist…

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