Key contributors


Ruth Allen (Dr)

Chief Executive, BASW (British Association of Social Workers)

Prior to her role as BASW Chief Executive Dr Allen served as the Director of Social Work at South West London and St Georges’ Mental Health NHS Trust (2007-2016), as the Head of Social Care for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust (2004-2007) and as Integration Manager for Tower Hamlets and the local Health Trust (2002-2004). Her career to date demonstrates values-based leadership in social work and social care with a commitment to transforming social work practice at both a national and local level.

Dr Allen’s ongoing dedication to social work practice has led her to co-chair the Practice Advisory Group to the Chief Social Worker for Adults (for the continuation of the work of the mental health and adults faculties of The College of Social Work), to chair the Social Care Strategic Network for Mental Health and to be the co-developer and facilitator for the Excellence in Social Work Leadership programme, alongside being a recognised author in social work and a practice development consultant.
Dr Allen holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, with distinction, from the University of Sussex and a Professional Doctorate in Education, also awarded by the University of Sussex. She is also actively involved in current social work research through her research fellowship with St George’s University.

Paul Bywaters

Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield

Paul Bywaters is Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield. He has been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham, England in the 1970s. The main focus of his research and publications has been the relationship between social inequalities and different aspects of social work. In 2004, he co-founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 400 members in more than 25 countries. As first convenor of the Network he led work to revise the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. Following retirement from full time work he has led a series of major research projects on child welfare inequalities funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, applying health inequalities perspectives to this central area of social work practice.

Cecilia Lai Wan CHAN

Si Yuan Chair Professor of Social Work and Health, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong

Professor Cecilia Chan is a world leader in health and social work. She advocated for a strength-oriented empowerment approach in working with traumatized individuals such as cancer patients, women of divorce, bereaved persons, couples with fertility issues, and victims of disaster. She adopted vigorous bio-psycho-social outcome indicators in her randomized trials on measuring impact of her innovative Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (IBMS) interventions on different population groups. Her IBMS intervention can be found in this video: Her multi-disciplinary team used salivary cortisol (stress) and telomerase (anti-aging) as physiological impact of psycho-social-spiritual intervention by social workers. Her creative synergy of Chinese philosophies and qigong exercises into holistic behavioral health intervention is ground breaking. Her integrative meaning-making empowerment strategies effectively nurture spirituality of forgiveness, gratitude, hope, and optimism, which are fundamental to resilience and transformation. Her leadership in health social work is recognized by her many international awards and local recognitions.

Lucy Costa

Deputy Executive Director of The Empowerment Council

Lucy Costa is Deputy Executive Director of The Empowerment Council, an independent service user rights-based organization in Toronto Canada. She has worked as advocate for over twenty years promoting the rights of mental health service users/survivors as well as encouraging critical analysis about service user inclusion in the mental health sector. She is co-editor of Madness, Violence and Power: A Critical Collectionand is co-editor for a forthcoming special edition of the Journal of Ethics and Mental Health.

Tileah Drahm-Butler

Teacher of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Dulwich Centre International Teaching Faculty

Tileah Drahm-Butler (she/her) is an Aboriginal woman of the Darumbal and Yidinji nations of Queensland, Australia and lives in Kuranda, North Queensland. Tileah graduated as a Social Worker from James Cook University in Cairns in 2003 and also with a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work in 2014 through the University of Melbourne. Tileah works in an Emergency Department of a busy regional hospital and is on the Dulwich Centre International Teaching Faculty where she leads the teaching of Narrative Therapy and Community Work through an Aboriginal lens in Australia and internationally. In 2019, Tileah will also take up a position at Dulwich Centre of Chair of Feminisms, Intersectionality and Narrative Practice.

Irwin Epstein, PhD, MSW

Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York

Irwin Epstein, PhD, MSW, is Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York. Prior to retirement, he held the Helen C. Rehr Chair of Applied Social Work Research (Health & Mental Health) and was Adjunct Professor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He has conducted practice-based research workshops and mentored PhD students from Australia to Zealand (New). Author of arguably too many papers, his latest (and best) book is Clinical Data-Mining: Integrating Practice and Research, (Oxford University Press), which has recently been translated into Chinese though he can’t read it and worries about the jokes. In 2014, he Chaired the 3rd International Conference on Practice Research in New York City. He helped plan the 1st International Conference on Social Work Practice in Health and Mental Health in Jerusalem in 1994 and is delighted to attend the 9th in York, vertically speaking.

Meredith Fendt-Newlin, PhD, MSc

Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Switzerland

Dr Meredith Fendt-Newlin is currently based in the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Geneva, supporting countries in scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. Dr Meredith Fendt-Newlin has more than a decade of experience in strengthening mental health services and systems in low, middle and high-income countries. Her research interests focus on designing and implementing mental health interventions that address the social, economic and cultural environment in which people are living. She holds a PhD in Social Policy and Social Work from the University of York, UK, MSc in Health Psychology from King’s College London, UK, and BS in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, US. She has research, policy and implementation experience in diverse settings with vulnerable populations and in humanitarian emergencies.

Pamela Firth

Independent Consultant in Psychosocial Palliative Care, Co-chair Social Work task force, European Association Palliative Care

Pam now works as an independent consultant in psychosocial palliative care. She originally trained as a social worker and then took further training at the Tavistock Clinic London. Her early career was spent in child and family psychiatry until 1990 when she moved to work in palliative care and to teach social work, part time at Middlesex University. .

Pam has held several senior positions in Hospices and was elected as a director of the European Association of Palliative Care ,representing the interests of social work in palliative care. Her published works includes an edited textbook ,many journal and book chapters and contributions to research.

Her three-year EU appointment, to develop psychosocial palliative care in the Republic of Serbia, ended three years ago but she retains strong links with colleagues in Central and Eastern Europe…

Pam is a passionate advocate for social work and family focussed palliative care

Julie Fish

Director of the Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans and Queer Research at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Julie Fish has written widely on LGBT health and health inequalities. Her edited collection is published by the Policy Press, Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans health inequalities: International perspectives in Social Work. She has conducted several projects in LGB people with cancer funded by the Department of Health, the ESRC and Macmillan Cancer Support.
She is currently working on a project on loneliness and social support among LBQ women.

Craig Hodges

Global Project Lead, Youth Mental Health – World Economic Forum (seconded from Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia)

Craig has worked extensively in executive leadership roles in Australia and internationally for over 25 years, with a major focus on mental health service reform and the development of new and emerging models of early intervention for young people in primary care and community settings. Craig played a lead role in the establishment of headspaces centres – community-based spaces that act as a one-stop shop for young people who need help with mental health – as the Director of Service Development and Partnerships. He went on to support the implementation of Jigsaw, the national youth mental health program in Ireland, as their Director of Service Development.

Craig has a background in Social Work and a Master of Evaluation and Human Service Management. He is a current Director with the Centre for Multicultural Youth and is a founding member of the International Association of Youth Mental Health (IAYMH) Executive.

John Hudson

Professor of Social Policy and Head of the Department of Social Policy & Social Work, University of York

John Hudson is Professor of Social Policy and Head of the Department of Social Policy & Social Work at the University of York. He specialises in the cross-national comparison of welfare states and has a specific interest in the politics of welfare. Recent work includes a comparative analysis of inequalities in child well-being undertaken for Unicef and an analysis of the historical evolution of public attitudes to welfare undertaken for Shelter. John has worked at the University of York since joining as Lecturer in Social Policy in 1998.

Dr Aarti Jagannathan

Associate Professor of Psychiatric Social Work associated with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, NIMHANS Bangalore, India

Dr Aarti Jagannathan, is a MA, M.Phil and PhD in Psychiatric Social Work from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatric Social Work associated with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, NIMHANS Bangalore, India. Her areas of interest include Rehabilitation of persons with psychiatric disorders (including supported employment, supported education, facilitation of welfare benefits, community based rehabilitation), Human rights of mentally ill, Yoga for mental health, Caregiver interventions. She has 50+ scientific publications (peer-reviewed international journals, national journals, chapters in books) and helms 7 research projects as the Principal Investigator funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, India; Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI and NIMHANS in areas of Yoga, Vocational Rehabilitation and Community Based Rehabilitation. She has organized 15 +conferences/workshops/seminars in areas of Areas of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Psychiatric Social Work and Yoga in last three years and is the recipient of 5th National Women’s Excellence Award 2012 by Government of India (GOI) and Women’s International Network (WIN).

Lynette Joubert

Professor Lynette Joubert, Department of Social Work, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

Lynette Joubert is a Professor in the Department of Social Work in the Melbourne School of Health Sciences, the Higher Degree Coordinator in the school and a member of the Behavioural Research and Ethics Committee of the University of Melbourne. She focuses on an interdisciplinary health and mental health practice research priority agenda, teaching and learning in research and psychosocial oncology, PhD supervision, and leadership in the health and mental health social work public sector. Her mentoring of practitioner researchers and projects through her two honorary positions in university teaching hospitals has generated collaborative practitioner academic research studies and informs her research agenda. She will Chair the 5th International Conference on Practice Research in Melbourne 2020.

Dr Pashupati Mahat

Clinical psychologist with experience in public mental health in Nepal

Pashupati Mahat, clinical psychologist with experience in public mental health in Nepal. He is leading national level mental health NGO since 2003 in Nepal which supports in establishing the prevalence of mental health problems in different communities, develop and implement mental health intervention projects to establish evidence-based cost-effective mental health services at community level for targeted population and to national level as well. He is also involved in academic research and evidence-based researches in Nepal. His contribution lies in developing mental health policies of Nepal and the recent revision, mental health care practice guideline, standard treatment protocol in mental health, training package in child and adolescent mental health for doctors and health workers, training manuals for school teacher and parents, guidelines to establish mental health services to GBV survivors in district hospital, national mental health prevalence study and advocacy to address mental health service gaps.

Jill Manthorpe

Professor of Social Work, Director of the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Associate Director NIHR School for Social Care Research, The Policy Institute at King’s, King’s College London

Jill Manthorpe is Professor of Social Work at King’s College London and a graduate of the University of York. She has made a sustained contribution to social work and gerontological understanding of mental health in later life and improving the lives of older people.  Jill has been Director of the National Institute for Health Research Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit since 2002 but her reputation for pioneering studies predates this and includes some of the earliest explorations of risk and safeguarding in dementia.  More recently she has provided new evidence on the role of hospital social work, on social work support for people affected by CJD, on the Approved Mental Health Professional role, on decision-making, and on gambling and social work interventions. She combines academic expertise in social work and social care with practical efforts to support older people, including work for Age UK and her current role as a Trustee of the Orders of St John Care Trust and the Centre for Policy on Ageing, and patron of the Greater London Forum of Older People. She is an Associate Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research and SR Nathan Honorary Professor at the National University of Singapore.

Eva M. Moya

Associate Professor, The University of Texas at El Paso

Eva M. Moya is a native of the U.S.-Mexico border.  Eva has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. With more than 35 years of professional experience in the U.S.-Mexico border region, she is considered a specialist in border health. Eva has published a number of papers on health disparities and infectious disease in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico Border Region and coauthored several book chapters. Her research and practice expertise includes community-engagement; health disparities; sexual and reproductive health; homelessness; use of Photovoice method; tuberculosis and stigma; and intimate partner violence.  Eva served as director for the U.S. Section of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, the Border Vision Fronteriza Outreach Project with the University of Arizona, Centro San Vicente Social Services, and women’s health and youth sexuality education endeavors in Mexico.  She directed the Border TB Photovoice Project and was the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization coordinator for PCI, and the PIMSA Transborder TB and Stigma Project. She is an Associate Professor of the Department of Social Work at UTEP. Eva conducted studies throughout the world during her tenure as a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow.  She is the recipient of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)/Texas Chapter, El Paso Branch Lifetime Achievement Award (2014) and the President-elect of the Association of Latino and Latina Social Work Educators.

Siu-man Ng

Department of Social Work and Social Administration & Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong

With a dual professional background in mental health social work and Chinese medicine, SM’s research theme is mental health and culture. His current research areas include (i) operationalization of the Chinese medicine stagnation syndrome as a psychological construct useful to all mental health practitioners; (ii) family expressed emotion of persons with schizophrenia and its impacts on the course of illness; (iii) critical re-examination of the conceptualization of mindfulness; and (iv) workplace well-being: a paradigm shift of focus from stress and burnout to meaning and engagement. SM is currently an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, and the Associate Director of the Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China.

Kate Pickett

Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK

Kate trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. She is currently Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences, and the University’s Research Champion for Justice and Equality. Kate was an UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-12, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the best-selling The Spirit Level chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman and  translated into 26 languages and The Inner Level, published to critical acclaim in 2018. She is a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust.

Lyn Romeo

Chief Social Worker for Adults

Lyn qualified as a social worker from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1978. She has worked in health and statutory sectors in a variety of practice, leadership, inspection and management roles. Lyn took up her post as Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in September 2013; working collaboratively with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families.
Previously, Lyn worked as the Assistant Director for Adult Social Care in the London Borough of Camden, an inspector with the Social Services Inspectorate, and for over 20 years worked in Yorkshire as both a field social worker and in a variety of management roles across children and adults.

Diana Rose

Professor of User-Led Research, Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Diana Rose is a social scientist and has been a mental health service user all her adult life. After researching in the sociology of language and then teaching social psychology, anthropology and women’s studies, her first academic career was ended by the intolerability of her distress – both to her and her employer. For ten years she ‘lived in the community’, using or refusing mental health services, but also becoming involved in the user / survivor movement and finally working in a small organisation for disabled people. Much to her surprise, she was offered a position in a national NGO where her stigmatised identity was an asset rather than a liability. In 2001 she moved to the then Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and somehow has ended up the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research. She is currently researching the history, impacts and current configurations of user-led research internationally.

Professor Deborah Smith

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of York

Deborah Smith trained as a biochemist at the University of Southampton and carried out post-doctoral research at MRC Mill Hill, NIH Bethesda (USA) and Imperial College London before joining the academic staff of the Imperial Biochemistry Department. She moved to the University of York in 2005 to establish the Centre for Immunology and Infection and further her research interests in neglected tropical diseases.

Deborah was Head of the York Biology Department before appointment as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2014, with responsibility for research strategy and policy across the University. She sits on the University Executive Board and University Council. Externally, Deborah has chaired the MRC Infection and Immunity Board and the Wellcome Trust Science Interview panel, and is currently chair of the Academic Advisory group of the World Universities Network.  She is also a member of the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Dale Fellowships committee and the Council of Research England. Deborah was awarded an OBE for Services to Biomedical Sciences in 2010.

Mike Spencer

Professor of Social Work, University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI)

Mike Spencer is a UW Presidential Term Professor in Social Work and the director of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Oceanic Affairs at the University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Social Welfare (’96).  Prior to his return to UW, Mike served as the Fedele F. Fauri Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Associate Dean for Educational Programs at the University of Michigan. He is of Native Hawaiian descent and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools (’83).

His research examines health and wellness among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and is focused on interventions that promote health among Native Hawaiians through indigenous practices and values. Currently, his funded research examines the added benefit of integrating Native Hawaiian healers into primary care in Waimanalo, O’ahu.  He also works with colleagues at the University of Hawai’i  to promote food security and wellbeing through the use of backyard aquaponics systems in Waimanalo among Native Hawaiians.

Jerry Tew

Professor of Mental Health and Social Work, University of Birmingham, UK

Professor Jerry Tew has over 20 years’ experience as a mental health social worker, manager and training officer within local authorities and the voluntary sector. He has taught in Higher Education since 1998 and has had a particular interest in developing social perspectives in relation to mental health and recovery. His main areas of research have been in family-inclusive ways of working in mental health, the use of personal budgets to support recovery, and preventative or capacity building approaches in social care. His recent books include Social Approaches to Mental Distress and Mental Health Policy and Practice (with Jon Glasby) – both published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Bruce Thyer

Research Professor of Social Work at Florida State University, USA

Dr. Bruce A. Thyer is a Distinguished Research Professor of Social Work at Florida State University, USA.  He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.  Dr. Thyer has published extensively in the field of clinical social work and mental health, and has Edited the journal Research on Social Work Practice for 29 years.  He also co-edits the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work and the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. He is active in promoting evidence-based practice within the field of social work, the practice of clinical and programme evaluation, and application of behavior analysis within our field.

Mark Trewin

Mental Health Social Work Lead, Department of Health and Social Care‎

Mark Trewin is the Mental Health Social Work Lead at the Dept of Health and Social Care, working in the office of the Chief Social Worker. He also provides advice and support on mental health social work for NHS England and Health Education England. Mark was on the working group of the Mental Health Act Review and is part of the Centre for Mental Health Equalities Commission.

Mark has worked as a mental health social worker, an approved social worker/AMHP, a forensic social worker and a trainer in health and social care. For many years he was the senior manager for social work and social care in mental health at Bradford District Care NHS Trust and then Bradford Council, working with a range of agencies in a ‘whole system’ mental health partnership.

Dr Stephen Wright

Early intervention Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust‎

Dr Stephen Wright is an early intervention psychiatrist and deputy medical director with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. He is the clinical lead for Mental Health for Humber Coast & Vale Health & Care Partnership and Clinical Advisor to the Yorkshire & Humber Early Intervention Clinical Network. He has a long-standing interest in youth mental health and is currently involved with national studies looking at the therapeutic benefits of social connectedness and reducing the physical health inequalities faced by people with mental illness.