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About Us

The Research and Innovation team at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a small but ambitious and rapidly expanding team. We work hard to embed the culture of research and innovation in everything that we do within our Trust. Read more about us on this page.

Our Core Team

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Nazneen Bagdadi

Innovation Facilitator

Hello, my name is Nazneen Bagdadi and I am the Innovation Facilitator with the R&I team at BCHC. I’m here to help you find ways to resolve existing work place challenges or help you innovate new ways of working.

For example, we have worked with staff to develop new techniques to help patients care for themselves. We enabled patients to dispense their own eye drops more safely through an Eye Drop Toolkit. One of our BCHC nurses takes a ‘toolkit’ of adapters for eye drop bottles or vials out to patients. The patient can then select the most comfortable adaptor and then receive training in its use.

We can also help you facilitate improvements to tasks you carry out on a daily basis. A clinical lead in nutrition had an idea to have lightweight weighing scales to take out into the community. As part of our role within the Innovation Team we reached out to our innovation partners and worked with a company called Marsden to develop and produce the scales.

The Innovation Team is involved in other projects such as the development of Apps for people with learning disabilities. This has now gone live on the Apple and Google stores.

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Lucy Booth

Research Nurse

I’m Lucy, I have a background in Community Nursing, 15 years as a District Nurse, and 10 years as a Nutrition Nurse (Specialist role). In 2017 I initiated a pilot study to look at a new treatment option for the management of over granulation in gastrostomy sites, which is how I initially became involved with the Research and Innovation Team at BCHC. This led to a Bank Nurse Post within the Team and the rest, shall we say, is history!

I am currently the Principal Investigator for a study looking into the benefits / risks of a blended natural diet versus the formula prescribed feed for children who are predominantly tube fed. I have worked on other studies involving behaviours in learning disabilities, Parkinson’s Disease and most recently Covid-19 studies.

I have always had a passion for change and to look at new treatment options / interventions which could improve the quality of life of our Patients, Families and Carers. Historically the majority of Research would be conducted in specialised Units or Hospitals, leaving the Community Service Users underrepresented. It is in this area where our Patients (who often have to manage the day to day complexities of their health conditions) need the most support and representation in order to benefit from Research.

Which is where we come in!

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Marilyn Bradbury

HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

My name’s Marilyn and I’ve worked clinically as a paediatric physiotherapist at BCHC for more than 10 years. It’s a privilege to care for children, sometimes over many years, and see them progress.

I’m passionate about delivery of high quality, effective health care. Throughout my career I often questioned how much we knew about the effectiveness of our interventions. When making daily decisions based on clinical experience, I became frustrated about the lack of evidence that existed to support that decision making. I felt that I shouldn’t complain unless I was taking some action personally to help to grow that evidence base. That’s when I became interested in undertaking research.

I completed an MSc in Health Research in 2016, and completed a Masters to Doctorate Bridging Programme in 2017. In June 2019 I started a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship as part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Integrated Clinical Academic Programme. I’m co-designing a digital intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour in non-ambulant young people with long-term disabilities.

I can offer information and support if you wish to get involved in research and innovation at any level. You could join one of our new Critically Appraised Topics (CATS) groups – Get in touch! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Christine Burt

Director of Research and Innovation

Hello, I’m Christine Burt Director of Research and Innovation.  I worked as a Research Scientist at the University of Birmingham for over 14 years, Aston University for a few years managing European projects and was also an associate lecturer at Open University for many years.  I started off with a Combined Science (Human Physiology) BSc Degree followed by a Masters in Medical Science and  a PhD developing a Bio-artificial Liver.

My former education, research and innovation experiences have culminated in this role.  I am a ‘Brummie’ and am passionate about bringing not only health equity to our diverse communities but offering research opportunities that have not yet been explored in our settings.  I am also enthusiastic about developing home grown researchers within BCHC who understand the complexity of community services and the need for bespoke research that is suitable for our client groups.  Our team has a desire to become innovation specialists adopting digital initiatives, developing apps and collaborating with commercial companies where appropriate to engineer, test and develop new devices.

I am proud to lead this fabulous team and hope that you have the opportunity to engage with them as we work together to achieve our goals to improve healthcare for all.

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Tony Lammas


I’m Tony and I’m the volunteer with the Trust who can help you find pots of money to fund your research ideas. I’m the team’s ‘Grantfinder Guru’, I implement the roll-out and day to day running of the Idox suite of funding information platforms, GRANTfinder & RESEARCHconnect.

Volunteering with R&I helps me follow the latest trends in science and to promote new research opportunities within the local Community Healthcare Trust. I’ve always been fascinated by research, I have an honours degree in the Biological Sciences, a Master’s degree and a PhD in Parasitology. I’ve held various postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham and Birmingham before being made a lecturer and subsequently a Senior lecturer, in the Department of Immunity & Infection, University of Birmingham. Before I retired five years ago I headed a research unit investigating the human immune response to tuberculosis and taught on various undergraduate courses, including the BMedSci, MBChB, MPharm & BDS modules.

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Roger Leek

Research Champion


I’m Roger Leek and I am a ‘Research Champion’ with BCHC. My role is to bring the ‘lay perspective’ to the R&I Team, to give patients, the public, service users and carers a voice in research. I can ‘demystify’ the research process and support anybody wishing to take part. I can help you understand what it’s like to become involved in research and the different ways you can help.

Staff can be Research Ambassadors too. Do you have an interest in a particular discipline, something that has affected you, or a family member? – or maybe you’re interested in career development and research excites you like it does me?

Talk to me, ask me questions, however basic – don’t be shy, there are no, ‘daft questions’. Like to come and join us and be a Research Champion too? . . . Great, you’d be very welcome!

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Priti Parmar

Research and Innovation Manager

My name is Priti and I can guide you through the governance processes that are required for your research and help you prepare your research applications.

I have prior experience of supporting Primary Care and Mental Health NHS organisations as part of a Research Consortium and the Local Clinical Research Network.

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Claire Williams

Research Nurse

I’m Claire Williams, I qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1991 after training at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. I perform the clinical tasks associated with a research study. So, for example, I help consent patients into research studies and collect blood samples and swabs.

My husband is an RAF engineer, and moving often has meant I’ve worked in lots of places in England and Scotland. I’ve worked with BCHC since 2014. I responded to a text message from Nurse Bank in 2016 asking for help with a research study, and since then I’ve worked on a variety of projects.

I worked on a study investigating the prevalence of Clostridium Difficile, and on a study exploring the links between urinary tract infections and the use of antibiotics in older people. More recently I’ve worked on several physiotherapy intervention studies and a questionnaire study evaluating the feeding and nutrition techniques used by parents of children with special needs.

I’ve continued to develop my research skills by attending educational events, mostly in Birmingham, run by the Clinical Research Network West Midlands, University of Oxford and University of Southampton. I enjoy supporting patients through their research journey and expanding my clinical skills. I’m an excellent swabber!

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Hamid Zolfagharinia

Innovation Manager

Hi my name is Hamid, and I am the Innovation Manager in BCHC. I came to the UK, from Iran, to do an MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering, after completing my undergraduate degree in Isfahan University, Iran. I then started my Clinical Scientist training in Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in the areas of electronic medical instrumentation, physiological measurements and medical equipment management. I also chaired the Clinical Engineering Specialist Interest Group of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) for a year. I am always keen to get involved in the development of new innovative solutions for healthcare, digital (apps or otherwise) or non-digital, as one can see in the photo where I am playing test subject for a novel mobile scale for wheelchair bound patients.

I enjoy jogging, stock market trading and reading and practicing astrology in my free time.

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Kamila Lipiec

Project Assistant supporting the Governance Function

My name is Kam and my role is to support the Research & Innovation Manager in guiding you through the governance process.  I will arrange the initial meetings, complete a Capacity and Capability review for your study and train you in the used of Edge.  I am working towards my Masters in Clinical Psychology and have prior experience in working with vulnerable adults and children.  Always feel free to approach me! If I can’t answer your research question, I’ll direct you to someone who can.

Research Leads

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Theresa Powell

Consultant Clinical Psychologist
R&I Lead, Adult & Specialist Rehabilitation Division

I’m Theresa, and I can support you on your research journey, regardless of your current level of research experience. Engaging in research has lots of benefits for clinicians, it’s not just about methods and statistics! People develop their sense of curiosity and their ability to question, which means they reflect more on current practice which drives improvement.

My first degree was in Behavioural Science at Aston University and I then worked as a Research Officer carrying out clinical work and research in the areas of neurophysiology, epilepsy and sleep. After my PhD I trained to become a Clinical Psychologist, eventually focusing on neuropsychological rehabilitation at the Moor Green Rehabilitation Centre.

I work at BCHC one day a week as Research Lead for Adult and Specialist Rehabilitation Division, supporting research and the collection of clinical outcomes. I am also Honorary Senior Lecturer on the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (ClinPsyD) programme at the University of Birmingham. I worked on the ClinPsyD for over 20 years and was the Programme Director for 8 years. During that time I supervised over 30 Clinical Psychology Doctoral research theses, PhDs and Masters theses. My research interests and publications focus on neuropsychological rehabilitation including: navigation and route learning using virtual reality, adjustment and coping in neurological conditions, health beliefs, motivation for rehabilitation and mindfulness.

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Jon Price

Advanced Physiotherapist
MSK Physiotherapy Research Lead

My name is Jon. I am a Physiotherapist and the MSK Physiotherapy Research Lead, meaning I have a really interesting and varied job with a mixture of clinical practice and research responsibilities.

I have a specific interest into how we can best use exercise to treat musculoskeletal disorders (things like neck pain, low back pain, shoulder pain etc) and I have published a number of papers on this topic. I have recently been given £300,000 from the National Institue for Health Research to complete a PhD aiming to optimising exercise prescription for neck pain.

I support Research & Innovation within BCHC to conduct important studies that inform the care we provide for patients, as well as supporting clinical colleagues with their own research, clinical audit and service evaluations. Please get in contact with me if you are interested in exercise prescription, looking for support with your own project or want to know more about starting a clinical academic career.

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Iain L. C. Chapple

Professor of Dentistry, BDS, FDSRCPS (Glas), FDSRCS (Edin)
Ph.D. CCST (Rest Dent)

Director of Research for the Institute of Clinical Sciences

Iain Chapple is Director of Research for the Institute of Clinical Sciences, former Head of the Dental School (2016-2020) at Birmingham University UK. He is the service lead for periodontology with BCHCFT and an Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, and Honorary Consultant to the Office of the Chief dental Officer. He has written 13-textbooks and 35-chapters. Iain was IADR Periodontal Research Group President (2006-7), European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) Treasurer (2007-2013); Workshop co-chair (2008-current); Scientific Advisory Committee Chair; Secretary General (2016-2019) and BSP President (2014-2015). He was awarded: The Royal College of Surgeons Tomes medal (2011); IADR Distinguished Scientist (2018); EFP’s Eminence Award (2022). He leads Birmingham’s Periodontal Research Group, publishing >230 papers and leads a regional periodontal service and national service for adults with Epidermolysis Bullosa.

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Dr Joanna Garstang


Consultant Paediatrician

Dr Joanna Garstang is a trust research lead for Children and Families. She is a consultant community paediatrician and Designated Doctor for Child Death, and a visiting Senior Clinical Lecturer in Child Protection at the University of Birmingham. Her research has focused on improving multi-agency working in child protection, investigation of unexpected child deaths, and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy. During the pandemic Joanna has worked on several studies of COVID transmission within schools as part of the sKIDS and sKIDSplus portfolio led by Public Health England. Joanna is keen to get more clinicians involved in research particularly our doctors in training.

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Dr Tonye Sikabofori

Consultant Psychiatrist and Divisional Medical Director (DMD Learning Disability Division)

My name is Tonye, I am a consultant psychiatrist and as part of a triumvirate of the learning disabilities division, my clinical role is in the Intensive Support Service for people with intellectual disabilities. I am also one of the divisional medical directors at Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust with responsibility for clinical effectiveness of the division. I am an advocate for promoting the health and well being of people with intellectual disabilities in the West Midlands and as such, very keen to foster research and innovation within the division and to ensure that the quality, safety, and care of people with intellectual disabilities is of a very high standard.




Innovation Champions

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Jon Higham

Consultant in Oral Medicine
Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO)

Jon is a consultant in oral medicine at Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry and Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) at Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust. As a CCIO he is responsible for providing a clinical voice and leadership in digital health transformation and has led the implementation of video consultation in the Trust. He is particularly keen to foster digital innovation and transformation to support the delivery of high quality patient care and is happy to be contacted to discuss ideas.

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Andrea Grace

Chief Clinical Information Officer

My name is Andrea, I am one of  Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIO) at Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust and  am currently  leading on the development of the Core BCHC electronic patient record (EPR).  Prior to taking on my current role and following a long career as a paediatric physiotherapist both in acute and community settings, I  worked as an operational manager for Children’s therapy services.  Now I work closely with clinical staff across the BCHC family trying to  ensure that  the right information is made available, at the right time, to support the delivery of high quality patient care.  The role of CCIO means that I am  responsible for providing the clinical voice and leadership to support our digital transformation both now and in the future – technology is here to stay and our commitment to research and innovation will ensure we are best placed to provide our staff and service users with the right solutions into the future.

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Darren Castle

Research Champion- Learning Disabilities Division

My name is Darren and I’ve worked as a highly specialist physiotherapist in BCHC’s Community Learning Disabilities Division for more than 20 years. I love working with adults with intellectual disabilities and supporting them with their healthcare needs.

I am currently a research champion in the LD Division at BCHC. I completed a Clinical Academic Training Programme (CATP) Internship in 2013 and was awarded my Master’s in Health Research, (MRes) at the University of Birmingham in 2015. I also completed my Masters to Doctorate Bridging Programme in 2016, again in Birmingham University. I have recently been awarded funding from HEE, for the Advanced Clinical Practice course (MSc) at the University of Birmingham, which runs until 2023.

I believe research and innovation is key to BCHC providing best practice to our service users and contributing to evidence- based practice.

I can offer information and support if you wish to get involved in research and innovation at any point. The LD Division also has a Research Interest Group, providing regular meetings to support staff active in research and staff interested in becoming involved in research. Please do contact me with any research queries. I am always happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.