Politics & Public Services


Dr William Plowden »   Timothy Hornsby »   Sir Alan Bailey »   Baroness Patricia Hollis »   Tim O’Riordan »   Roy Williams »   Peter Jenkins »   Anthony Long »   Sara Nathan »   David Walker »   Tom Hayhoe »   John Sturrock »   Dr Jennifer Dixon »   Baroness Julia Neuberger »   Chris Barnham »   Robert Barr »   Sir David Bell »   Simon Stevens »   Anna Dixon »   Maddy Phipps-Taylor »  

 

Dr William Plowden (CFF 1958-59) (d. 2010) saw his Commonwealth Fund Fellowship as liberating and transformative in the same way as reading history at Cambridge after two years National Service, or even more so. He spent it at the University of California Berkeley Institute of Political Science and Government, with Nelson Polsby. He shared a room, and indeed a car which meant they had the use of it for most of the year, with Tony Tanner (d.1998). Returning from his fellowship, William spent a year at The Economist before joining the Board of Trade where he was private secretary to Edward Heath. He left Whitehall to become a lecturer in the Government Department at LSE. While there he wrote his first book The Motor Car and Politics (1970). Invited by his former boss, now the PM, William became a founder member of the Central Policy Review Staff, CPRS, known as the Think Tank (1971 to 1977). After a brief spell as Under Secretary at the Department of Industry he headed the Royal Institute for Public Administration for 10 years from 1978. He was a visiting professor at LSE in the 1980s and again from 2002, a governor from 1992 and a member of the Council for several years. He was a member of the Harkness selection committee in the 1980s, and visited current fellows in their US placements, and as Director of the UK Harkness Fellowships in New York (1988-91) he led the redesign of the programme for the Commonwealth Fund, continuing to lead the programme back in the UK until 1998. He was a founder member of the HFA. For the rest of his working life, as a consultant to developing countries’ governments, William went on developing and disseminating his ideas about effective government originating in his Harkness Fellowship, as well as his life-long love of America.
Last updated: 24th May 2018

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Timothy Hornsby (HF 1961-63) CBE went straight from Oxford to his Harkness Fellowship in 1961, at Columbia, Harvard, and the Henry E Huntington Library in California , studying 17th-century political theory. His fellowship was extended for a further year, to enable him to take up a post as Assistant Professor of History at Birmingham Southern College. On his return, he returned to his old college at Oxford, Christ Church, as a Research Fellow and Tutor, and then joined the Civil Service where he held a number of senior posts in HM Treasury and the Department of Environment. Subsequently he became Director General of the Nature Conservancy Council, Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Kingston, and Chief Executive of the National Lottery Charities Board. He now chairs two Boards, and is a non-executive director on four others, concerned with the arts, health care, and helping those at disadvantage.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Sir Alan Bailey (HF 1963-64) was working in the Treasury when he applied for a Harkness fellowship in 1963. He had recently been private secretary to Edward Boyle, who had meanwhile left politics and become chair of the Harkness selection board – indeed he knew that his chosen topic, how the American government employed its economists, was one of Edward Boyle’s interests, so that his success may have looked a bit like favouritism. He spent a fascinating year at Harvard and touring the whole United States (with his wife and two small children) – but worked quite hard on his report, which circulated for a time among top Treasury officials. On his return the old-style (pre-Fulton) ‘generalist’ Treasury put him in a pay division “for the good of his soul”, but he was able to use his exposure to early microeconomic theory and cost-benefit analysis in later Treasury postings, and finally as Permanent Secretary in the Department of Transport. He was awarded the KCB for his services in 1986. Since retiring in 1991 he has found various interesting part-time roles, as a non-executive Board member of London Transport and chair of London Transport Buses, and in voluntary organisations including locally in Greenwich, as well as chairing the Harkness Fellows Association in its early years.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Baroness Patricia Hollis (HF 1963-64 ) (1941 to 2018) found that the Harkness Fellowship turned her life around. As her parents had both left school aged 12, she applied to Cambridge (UK) because she had heard of it, along with Oxford and LSE (as a trade unionist, her Dad had heard of Harold Laski!). Patricia got a First in history in 1962, and then a Harkness Fellowship to Berkeley, California to study sociology. Her newly acquired American boyfriend was active in the civil rights movement. They rode buses, picketed segregated restaurants (George Wallace, Alabama, “Turkey dinners 99c and guaranteed no n—–rs.”), and worked on voter registration in Mississippi. She heard Martin Luther King have a dream. After a second year at Columbia, New York, she came back to Nuffield College, Oxford to complete a D.Phil; which (along with her Harkness Fellow late husband, Martin) took them on to jobs at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, in 1967. In 1968 Patricia was elected to the local Council. She went on to become Dean of the School of English and American Studies as well as leader of Norwich City Council in the 1980s. She also served on the Regional health Authority, on English Heritage, the Press Council and as Chair of a local housing association. She is renowned as a successful campaigning politician who did her home work, used statistics to support her case and spoke common sense powerfully.  In 1990 she was appointed to the Lords, and from 1997-2005 was Blair’s Lord’s Minister for DSS/DWP. Patricia is survived by two sons, a radio producer for Radio 4 (ex Fulbright); and the current Faber Poetry editor. (Story initially written by Patricia and later updated)  
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Tim O’Riordan (HF 1963 - 65) OBE DL FBA graduated in Geography from his home town University of Edinburgh. His undergraduate research explored why the small burns of East Lothian dried up every summer removing all of the richly diverse invertebrates. This extermination was due to excessive abstraction for the irrigation of potatoes, unimpeded by the lack of any regulation or pricing. He received a MS in water resources management from Cornell, leaving sufficient time to drive to Berkeley to read natural resources management. Tim returned to Kings College Cambridge where he divided his time between studying the governance of the Norfolk Broads for his PhD and playing classical double bass. He spent seven years in Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and returned to the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He served on the Broads Authority for 20 years, sat on the Dow Chemical Sustainability Board, advised Asda and Eastern Electricity, and was a faculty member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Tim received the awards of Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Norfolk, a Fellowship of the British Academy, and an OBE. He is currently President of CPRE Norfolk and the Norfolk Association of Local Councils where he is actively involved with the localisation of sustainability in the County.
Last updated: 19th January 2021

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Roy Williams (HF 1963-64) CB graduated in 1956 with a degree in economics from Liverpool University and was successful in the Civil Service Administrative Class competition in the same year. He joined the then Ministry of Power and served in Divisions responsible for different nationalised industries. He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1963 which he spent at the University of Chicago and later University of California (Berkeley) researching the American approach to regulating public utilities. In the US these are mostly privately owned in contrast to the UK where at that time, they were in public ownership. On his return to the UK he served as Principal Private Secretary to successive Secretaries if State for Industry, including Tony Benn during the 1975 EEC referendum, and Eric Varley, and then headed the Division responsible for the Post Office and telecommunications. Later, as a Deputy Secretary (Director General), he was responsible for international trade policy, DTI relations with the EEC (now EU) and the creation of the EEC single market. He subsequently moved to take responsibility for industrial policy in DTI, which involved the 1980’s programme of privatising state owned industries. His time in the US studying the American regulatory approach was highly relevant at this time. His last Civil Service post gave him responsibility for regional policy, the promotion of enterprise and innovation and inward investment. He retired in 1993 from when he chaired the European Eureka programme, which is designed to encourage collaboration in R and D between European enterprises, was a member of the Design Council and a Trustee of various Charities, including chairing a charity caring for disabled children. He was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) in 1988.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Peter Jenkins (HF 1971-73) CMG studied Classics at Cambridge. He was offered a place in the Diplomatic Service in 1971 but obtained a two-year deferral to be able to enrol at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Science on a Harkness Fellowship. Those two years at Harvard, where he acted in Classical Greek plays at the Loeb Theatre, and a summer spent on a 14,000-mile tour of the United States, in the company of two other Fellows, Bruno Weymuller and John Halliday, led indirectly to Sir Nicholas Henderson choosing him to be his Private Secretary during the closing stages of his term as UK Ambassador to the United States, which coincided with the 1982 Falklands War. They also equipped him to take a dispassionate view of US policies and practices in the governing bodies of the World Trade Organisation and International Atomic Energy Agency, where Peter represented the UK. And his study of Persian while at Harvard came in useful during the last years of his 33-year diplomatic career, since he found himself having to deal with some of the consequences of international concern over Iran’s nuclear programme. In retirement Peter has retained an interest in that issue, and more generally in international nuclear problems; and, as an advocate of diplomacy, has written on these subjects for US blog-sites and newspapers.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Anthony Long (HF 1977-79)) studied how controversial UK land use policy conflicts at that time, particularly new motorways, might be handled differently in federal government systems. Catapulted from the planning department in the remote Colne Town Hall on the edge of the Pennines to the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, he joined the Congressional Fellowship Programme of the American Political Science Association working first for Senator John Culver (D-Iowa) and then Representative Les AuCoin (D-Oregon).  In his second year, he joined AuCoin’s successful 1978 electoral campaign in Oregon, followed by six months assisting an unusual majority coalition in the State Legislature of New Mexico.  Returning to the UK, he joined the Council for the Protection of Rural England working on many nationally significant land use planning controversies. After a short research tenure in Paris in 1986, Anthony joined the staff of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the UK. In 1989 he established and led a dedicated WWF policy office in Brussels to influence EU environmental policy and legislation, a role he continued to undertake until his retirement in 2015 He has published several articles on environmental lobbying and was visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges.  He maintained close links with the US through his 10-year membership of the Sustainability Advisory Council of the Dow Chemical Company in Michigan. Continuing to reside in Brussels, Anthony advises local, national and international non-governmental and advocacy organisations, occasionally teaches environmental politics and is a Trustee of the Andrew Lees Trust-UK.
Last updated: 8th June 2020

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Sara Nathan (HF1977-79) OBE went straight to Stanford University the term after graduating in History from New Hall, Cambridge, the only woman awarded a fellowship in 1977.  Her first year studying for an MA in History showed her that she was going to be the world’s worst academic historian. In the second year, she studied Broadcast Communication – unavailable in the UK then. This persuaded the BBC to employ her as a News Trainee in 1980. She progressed to roles as a producer in the TV newsroom, output editor for Breakfast and Newsnight, and film-maker for the Money Programme. She helped launch Radio 5Live, becoming the Editor of the morning programme.  Meanwhile, she had crashed a Harkness reunion gathering and met Malcolm Singer (HF 1980-82). They married in 1984, have two grown-up children and nearly a grandson.  In 1995, she was appointed Editor, Channel 4 News: the first woman to edit a network news programme.  In 1998, Sara left daily news and went plural, filling up to six part-time roles at a time including some journalism. She has been on a number of boards including Ofcom, the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.  She now chairs tribunals for the Nursing & Midwifery Council, is a Senior Hearings Manager back at the BBC and, most often, a trustee, host and volunteer with Refugees At Home: a charity she co-founded in 2015 to match destitute asylum-seekers and refugees with generous hosts who have spare rooms.
Last updated: 13th March 2019

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David Walker (HF 1977-79) was senior reporter for The Times Higher Education Supplement when he applied for a Harkness Fellowship, in 1977 — a decision precipitated by voters in the Holborn ward who chose not to favour his candidacy for Camden Council. Interested in lobbying, and the influence of professional associations on public policymaking, as an HF David joined the Congressional Fellowship program, and spent wonderful nine months in Washington DC, working in both the House and Senate as a staffer. The second half of his fellowship was spent at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley where he began work on what became Media Made in California, cowritten with Jeremy Tunstall and published by Oxford in 1981. On his return, just after the May 1979 election, David joined the staff of The Economist and pursued a career in journalism, for The Times, The Independent, the BBC and the Guardian, returning to Berkeley for a sabbatical and feeding insights from his time in Congress into Sources Close to the Prime Minister (with Peter Hennessy, 1984) and The Times Guide to the New British State (1995). David left journalism to become managing director, public reporting at the Audit Commission and is now deputy chair of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, chair of Understanding Society, a member of the ethics and governance council of UK Biobank and co author with Polly Toynbee of Unjust Rewards, The Verdict and Dismembered.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Tom Hayhoe (HF 1978-80) is chairman at West London Mental Health NHS Trust which, as well as providing mental health services in west London, operates Broadmoor Hospital. Prior this appointment he served as chairman of West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust. He attended Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Harkness Fellow, following a year as President of Cambridge Students Union. On returning from his Harkness Fellowship he worked for McKinsey & Company and then WH Smith before establishing the Brackenbury Group retail consultancy (subsequently The Chambers) and chairing the board of Gamestation, at the time the UK’s second largest video game retailer. During his MBA studies he took a course in health economics and policy which lead to him helping develop the health and social care policies of the Social Democratic Party (for whom he stood for parliament in the 1987 general election), taking a series of non-executive roles in the NHS starting in 1985, and ultimately being appointed to his current role. Tom is a keen offshore sailor and a former vice commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. He is a trustee and chair of the finance committee of Arthritis Research UK.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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John Sturrock (HF 1984 – 85) QC stepped out of the legal world in 1984 as a Harkness Fellow to study for a Masters’ Degree in International Law at the University of Pennsylvania. On returning to Scotland, he resumed a career in law at the Scottish Bar but his life had been changed. In the 1990’s, inspired by connections in the US and his knowledge of its legal system, he adapted the leading advocacy skills programme of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy into a Scottish context, establishing an award winning programme for his professional colleagues. Later, he studied negotiation at Harvard under Professor Roger Fisher (of Getting to Yes fame) and, leaving law, embarked on a second career as a mediator and negotiation consultant. He has helped to transform dispute resolution in his home country and elsewhere, and is now a world-recognised figure in the conflict resolution and policy-making field, working with politicians, governments, corporate leaders, Olympic athletes and many others – and mediating in complex disputes in many different contexts, often in the public context. In May 2018, in Edinburgh, John hosted and chaired the annual conference of the International Academy of Mediators, which he regards as a culmination of a journey which started as a Harkness Fellow thirty four years earlier and which gave him the confidence to look outward and across the Atlantic for ideas, learning and friendships.    
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Dr Jennifer Dixon (HF 90-91) CBE, always had three magnetic poles: science, arts and politics. She made herself pursue science (long story) but after five years of medical school and 96 hour working weeks as a junior hospital doctor, by her late 20’s the other two poles began to take over. Jennifer applied a fellowship soon after, aiming to study why such an intelligent and wealthy society in the US was unable to provide decent health care for 17 million of its citizens? Based in New York in part at Montefiore Medical Center and Department of Health Policy at New York University, she studied why federal reform to improve access to care was blocked and what some states had done to bypass this. The answers included age-old debates about the role of federal government, layered on a culture where the ‘social justice thermostat’ was just set too cold (for European tastes).  What wasn’t too cold though was the energising informal can-do witty working environment, as opposed to the cardboard hierarchy she was more familiar with in Britain. Back home Jennifer went on to pursue a career in policy analysis, a PhD, working at the King’s Fund, at DH as policy advisor to the CE of the NHS, and she became the CE of the Nuffield Trust and now the Health Foundation. The latter now co-funds the current Harkness fellowship programme.
Last updated: 20th July 2018

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Baroness Julia Neuberger (HF 1991-92) was no stranger to challenge when she applied to be a Harkness Fellow for the 1991 intake. Prevented from studying Assyriology at Cambridge (she was refused entry to Turkey, because she was British, and to Iraq, because she was Jewish), she studied Hebrew and was ordained as a rabbi aged 27, the second female rabbi in the UK, but the first to be responsible for a synagogue which she ran until shortly before her fellowship. Immediately before her Fellowship, she spent 2 years at the King’s Fund Institute, looking at Research Ethics Committees (IRBs) in the UK, and published a report which led to limited government and medical royal college action to embed review in law and guidance. During her fellowship she studied healthcare ethics at Harvard, looking at values education for young healthcare professionals, hoping to bring best practice back to the UK. On her return Julia became Chair of Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust (1992 to 1997) and Chief Executive of the King’s Fund from (1997 – 2004). She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994–2000, and has been involved in a large number of voluntary and philanthropic roles. Julia broadcasts regularly on Pause for Thought, on BBC Radio 2, and has published widely on matters of ethics, morality and caring for older people and the dying. She chaired the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (for dying patients) and is at present vice chair of the independent review of the Mental Health Act. She was awarded a DBE in 2003 and sits in the House of Lords as an independent. She the Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Chris Barnham (1992-93) applied for the Harkness fellowship at Northwestern University, Illinois, to further his understanding of effective schooling in inner cities.  A lifelong advocate of education, based on experiences with great teachers in his own life, he became a teacher after his degree at St John’s, Cambridge and PGCE at Goldsmiths.  He subsequently joined the Department of Education in 1987, and in his 25-year career there he covered a wide range of policy areas from Early Years, higher education strategy, offender learning and skills and welfare to work, the relationship between education and employment. He spent two years seconded to Southwark Council (2000 – 02), where he devised a new multi-disciplinary approach to youth crime to meet the challenge presented by the November 2000 killing of Damilola Taylor. Having left the civil service in 2013, he was elected in 2014 to Lewisham Council in south London and is now Cabinet member for Children’s Services. In his spare time, Chris is a writer; he has published a variety of fiction short stories, and in 2018 published a well-received science fiction novel, Fifty-One. He also runs a policy and strategy consultancy, specialising in creative development and delivery in education, employment and skills.  
Last updated: 13th November 2018

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Robert Barr (1992-93) had recently completed his PhD on Social Information Systems, as he applied for the Harkness fellowship.  An urban and social geographer, his academic interests are directly related to the lives of people living in urban areas. For his fellowship he was based at the National Centre for Geographic Information and Analysis at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an ‘applied’ geographer, he was keen to show how geographical information systems could be used to illuminate social issues. His work showed how much inequality there was, and remains, in the US and on his return he found himself more involved in social issues. He joined one of the Social Exclusion Unit policy action teams and was involved in research that led to the correction of 2001 census, which netted Manchester over £120m in additional revenue support grant.  While continuing as a part-time academic, Bob spun his university lab out as a company which helped produce a National Address Register for the 2011 census that avoided the problems of 2001.  Since 2006 Bob has served as a Liberal Democrat councillor on Warrington Borough Council and currently leads the opposition with 12 councillors. Bob has served on numerous advisory panels, has held office in the Association for Geographic Information and served on the boards of local Housing Associations. He has won a number of awards for his work and, in 2008, was awarded an OBE for services to Geography.
Last updated: 13th November 2018

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Sir David Bell (HF 1993-94) was Assistant Director of Education at Newcastle City Council prior to embarking on his Harkness Fellowship year, later returning to Newcastle to become Director of Education and Libraries. David’s interest in education policy making, and a general desire to spend time understanding more about the United States, led him to apply for a ‘Harkness’. He was based in Atlanta, Georgia and worked at Georgia State University, with some time based in the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading since 1 January 2012, David has held a number of major posts across the English education system. He was Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education for six years. Prior to that, he was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England for nearly four years. David began his career as a primary school teacher and later became a head teacher. Between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2019, David is Vice President England and Northern Ireland for Universities UK (UUK) as well as a member of the UUK board. In addition, David is a board member of Reading UK CIC, a trustee and advisory board member of the Higher Education Policy Institute, a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a non-executive director of the Law Commission. David was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2011.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Simon Stevens (HF 1994-95) is CEO of NHS England, which leads the NHS’ work nationally to improve health and ensure high quality care for all. He is accountable to Parliament for over £100 billion of annual Health Service funding. Simon joined the NHS through its Graduate Training Scheme in 1988. As a frontline NHS manager he subsequently led acute hospitals, mental health and community services, primary care and health commissioning in the North East of England, London and the South Coast. He also served seven years as the Prime Minister’s Health Adviser at 10 Downing Street, and as policy adviser to successive Health Secretaries at the Department of Health. Simon also spent a decade working internationally at UnitedHealth Group, including as its Medicare CEO and as president of its global health division, leading health services in the United States, Europe, Brazil, India, China, Africa, and the Middle East. Simon was a Harkness Fellow at Columbia University, New York and working at the New York City Health Department. He is the first Harness Fellow to subsequently become a director of the Commonwealth Fund, on whose board he now sits. Simon was born in Birmingham, and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford University and Strathclyde University, Glasgow. He is married with two school-age children, and volunteers as a director of the Commonwealth Fund, a leading international health charity. He has also been a trustee of the Kings Fund and the Nuffield Trust and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.
Last updated: 25th May 2018

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Anna Dixon (HF 2005-06) was a Lecturer in European Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Researcher with the European Observatory on Health Care Systems prior to the Harkness Fellowship. She had also worked at the Department of Health as a policy analyst in the Strategy Unit where she led on issues such as patient choice in the NHS.  Her interest in self-management of long term conditions and patient decision-making led her to undertake her fellowship at the University of Oregon working with Professor Judith Hibbard on patient activation, informed choice and consumer directed health plans. On return Anna took up a position as Deputy Director and then Director of Policy at The King’s Fund where she led their work to influence NHS and social care in England. More recently Anna went back to the Department of Health where she was Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst. In September 2015 Anna became Chief Executive of Ageing Better, a new charitable foundation working to change society so more people can enjoy later life. Anna is also a non-Executive Director of Helpforce an initiative to unlock the potential of volunteers in the NHS. She has a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Last updated: 20th July 2018

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Maddy Phipps-Taylor (HF 2014-15) applied to the Harkness Fellowship programme while working as a Senior Policy Advisor to PM David Cameron at No 10 Downing Street. She had, at that point, experience as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and a Civil Servant following an education in Engineering at Oxford. For her Fellowship she was based at UC Berkley in California, researching Accountable Care Organisations (a new healthcare delivery model launched as part of ‘Obamacare’). She travelled the length and breadth of the USA, covering 22 States often with her husband Matt. Her research was published in the Milbank Quarterly, New England Journal of Medicine and Health Affairs. On return to the UK she transitioned into Healthcare Software and now is the Director of Strategy at Allocate Software – the world’s leading healthcare workforce management software provider.
Last updated: 26th May 2018

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