Celebrating women at IGHI for International Women’s Day

We’re featuring some of the amazing women at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, to celebrate their achievements during Women at Imperial Week 2024.

Imperial President Prof Hugh Brady with some of the women at IGHI
Imperial President Prof Hugh Brady with some of the women at IGHI

Meet some of our women at IGHI

From our teaching team…

Christa Hansen, Teaching Fellow, DHL Programmes, IGHI

Christa HansenI work as a Teaching Fellow on the Digital Health Leadership programmes, and across IGHI more broadly. I completed my PhD in Health Economics here at the Business School. Since graduating I have enjoyed coming over to the ‘health’ side, supporting GMPH and BSc students at the School of Public Health, and now NHS clinicians on the DHL programme. I love working in a multi-disciplinary setting, and am proud to be a member of the IGHI team. Personally, I have a 9-year-old daughter who plans to be a ‘discovery scientist’. Any future PhD ‘discovery’ ideas welcome.


Toni Page, Senior Teaching Fellow, DHL Programmes, IGHI

I have the privilege to be working on the Digital Health Leadership programmes supporting health and social care professionals in their journey of developing as digital leaders. I enjoy being part of a multidisciplinary team enthused about health and education. My PhD focused on developing a model offering undergraduate nursing students the opportunity to help service users and carers in learning about and using digital health. Embedding digital health into the curricular for health and social care professionals is a topic I am truly passionate about, and I am always keen to work collaboratively with others to achieve this.


Working with the Helix Centre…

Anna Lawrence-Jones, Public Involvement Lead, IGHI

I support staff to meaningfully involve patients, carers and public members in their work. I’m passionate about ensuring people from under-represented groups are heard in research. I lead the public involvement strategy across our Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC) and lead the Public Involvement and Equity Diversity and Inclusion Networks for SafetyNet (a collaboration between the 6 national PSRCs). Working at IGHI has led to me meet and learn from so many talented colleagues, patient representatives and external partners, from diverse backgrounds.

I’ve been at IGHI for 8 years. Each year, there is always new exciting work to get involved in. Currently, I’m working with the charity Mental Health Innovations to set up their first Service User Voice Group, who will help to improve Shout, the 24 hour crisis text line. I’m also working with our amazing data analysts to safely analyse anonymous data from Shout. Service users will shape this work, which we hope will lead to changes in policy and practice and improve mental health care.


Fiona O’Driscoll, Policy Fellow at the Helix Centre, IGHI

As part of the Helix Centre, I work on a range of projects that aim to improve health and healthcare for all with design. I mainly work on projects with our local NHS Trust – Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – which is also where we’re based at St Mary’s Hospital.

I enjoy working with such an amazing and creative team at Helix Centre and across IGHI. Working on real-life issues and challenges within the NHS is really rewarding, as we hope to make a tangible impact to patient and staff experience.

I worked as a doctor and management consultant before joining the Helix Centre, so have taken a more unconventional route to IGHI! During COVID I also started a part-time Masters in Public Health. It’s been challenging to do in my spare time, but really interesting to apply what I’ve learnt to my projects. My team have also been really supportive in helping me to fit in time to study and take exams, as I’m planning to complete it this year!


Kate Grailey, Centre for Health Policy and Helix Centre Academic Research Lead

I provide academic support to both the Centre for Health Policy and the Helix Centre at IGHI, which gives me the amazing opportunity to collaborate with a huge range of inspiring people – including policy makers, designers, data analysts and researchers.

I also work as a research fellow in behavioural science as part of the Fleming Initiative and in a team called the Change Lab. I really enjoy exploring the determinants of behaviours and co-designing solutions to a range of problems including antimicrobial resistance and patient safety.

Before my time at IGHI I worked clinically as an Anaesthetist and completed a PhD in Psychological Safety.

Clare McCrudden, Policy Fellow, Helix Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation

I am a Policy Fellow based at the Helix Centre at IGHI. I apply behavioural economics and user-centred design methods to improve healthcare. I work on projects for our NHS partners, as well as within our Health Tech products through stakeholder engagement and involving patients throughout.

It is brilliant to work with such talented and creative colleagues and learn from all the variety of disciplines that make up IGHI! I also enjoy that our work is both hyper local to Northwest London as well as on an international scale, enabling us to collaborate across the globe.

I am a Qualified Social Worker, experienced in both community and hospital settings which is helpful for understanding how our health systems work. I then moved abroad and completed a Master of Science in Global Health where I spent some time in Maastricht, Netherlands and working in public health in Bogotá, Colombia. Once I moved to London, I worked cross cuttingly with the NHS and charity sector in the public involvement space in cancer care, before joining IGHI in 2021!

Dr Leila Shepherd, Managing Director, Helix Centre

Here at IGHI, I have the privilege of leading the Helix Centre and championing the impact of design in healthcare.

What I enjoy most about my role are the inspiring people I get to work with at Helix and IGHI, and also frontline staff and public members. As a parent, I find IGHI to be a great place to flexibly balance professional and personal growth.

An engineer by background, my mission is to use tech for good. As my career has evolved though, I’ve learnt that tech that isn’t designed with users can do more harm than good, and also that tech is not always the answer! This is what makes the design methods we use at Helix to put people and their needs first so important.

From our Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU)…

Davina Tijani, Data Operations Manager, Big Data Analytical Unit, IGHI

I am Data Operations Manager for the Big Data Analytical Unit, my main responsibilities are onboarding users to the BDAU Server, dealing with user enquires and supporting data management which includes data transfers and completing data applications. Previously, I completed my undergraduate in Actuarial Sciences at University of East Anglia and my masters in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at University College London. I love working with and supporting researchers in their clinical research across a variety of disciplines and subjects such as Patient Safety, Mental Health and Cancer to name a few.


Mahsa Mazidi, Big Data and Analytical Unit, IGHI

I lead the Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU) at IGHI, where our primary focus is on providing data services and analytical support to researchers engaged in the analysis of sensitive patient data. My role involves overseeing the BDAU Secure Environment (SE), a research space that is ISO 27001 certified and compliant with the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit. This ensures that researchers can do their work with the highest level of security and data protection. I have a master’s degree in computer science and have been part of the Imperial community for over 9 years. What I find most rewarding is the chance to collaborate with colleagues from across the College and support their incredible research projects.


From Climate Cares…

Daniella Watson, Research Associate, Climate Cares Centre, IGHI

I am a Research Associate and Health Psychologist working on climate change and mental research projects. I love working with an ambitious team of women at the Climate Cares Centre. With my behavioural science hat on, I am also a Co-convenor and Trainer of ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ training. Previously I was working on maternal and child health projects in South Africa. Turning points in my career were working with two fabulous psychologists during my undergraduate years, who later became my PhD supervisors, mentors and friends, and also working on voluntary projects in the Caribbean and India.


And Communications…

Victoria Murphy, Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Manager

I communicate the amazing work that our colleagues do – engaging the public, influencing policy, and research with global impact. I love that I get to hear the details of what we’re doing at IGHI, and working with different colleagues across all our programmes of work and in various of parts of Imperial.

My career started in a very different way – working in mining in remote parts of Australia. It had its moments – good and bad! I’ve really grown my career since changing my focus to communications and research. I find my colleagues here so supportive and interesting, and I have a lot of respect for their talents. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been at Imperial for over 6 years!


Dr Laura-Maria Horga, Communications and Events Office

I am delivering the communications and engagements across IGHI, to promote the fantastic research and achievements of the Institute. I started in this role over two months ago, and I’m thrilled to contribute to a range of impactful projects aimed at addressing some of the biggest global health challenges of our time.

Everyone I met at IGHI is genuinely friendly, supportive, and passionate about their work. I’m particularly drawn to the creative environment and the opportunities for innovation that it offers. I’m passionate about amplifying researchers’ profiles, highlighting their achievements, and making science more accessible to the public.

Prior to this, I worked in communications at The Institute of Cancer Research for two years. My background is in biotechnology, and my PhD project at University College London focused on investigating the impact of marathon running on orthopaedics using imaging technologies.