CICADA – Who We Are

Overall Study Lead and Qualitative Lead:

Carol Rivas

Professor of Health and Social Care, UCL.

Carol has expertise across a range of research approaches, from arts-based work through to AI. She uses this to try to understand, communicate, and reshape the experiences of vulnerable people, focusing on hidden chronic conditions and disabilities, race, ethnicity and migrant status. This stems from her own family experiences.

Find out more details about Carol here

Core Researchers:

Amanda Moore – Project manager

Dr Amanda Moore is a Public Health Nutritionist and Health researcher. Her PhD explored the design of culturally salient healthcare behaviour change interventions to support type 2 diabetes in UK Black African and Caribbean communities.

Dr Moore’s research has focused on working with minority ethnic communities to design and implement lifestyle interventions and to improve health outcomes across the life-course from pregnancy through to type 2 diabetes. Her research methods include participatory research, co-design, survey design and qualitative methods.

Here is Amanda’s lLinked-In page

Kusha Anand

Dr Kusha Anand was awarded her PhD in Political Sociology of Education in 2019. Her thesis looked at how history related to India-Pakistan relations is enacted in schools in India and Pakistan.

Dr Anand works on the intersections of race, ethnicity, citizenship and education, mainly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and the UK. Her work pays particular attention to policies, practices, discourses of ‘othering’, histories of displacement, in and through education. Dr Anand has over a decade of fieldwork experience on several interdisciplinary projects liaising with policymakers, teachers, EdTech entrepreneurs, and NGOs in the UK and South Asia.

This is Kusha’s UCL webpage

Other Study Leads:

Ozan Aksoy – Quantitative & Social Network Analysis Lead

Ozan is Associate Professor of Social Science at UCL Social Research Institute.

Previously Ozan was a research fellow at Nuffield College and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. Ozan holds a PhD and an MSc in quantitative sociology from the ICS research school of Utrecht University and a BA in business administration from Bogazici University. His research interests include prosocial behaviour, quantitative methods, and the political sociology of religion.

Discover more about Ozan on his UCL webpage here

Bilal Nisam – Quantitative Co-applicant

Bilal is a quantitive social scientist with a background in economics. He is based at the Social Research Institute at the UCL Institute of Education where he is a researcher, lecturer, and PhD supervisor. His main research area is the determinants of life chances and social mobility in the UK. He has an expertise in the determinants of non-cognitive skills in childhood and their relationship to long term life outcomes. He is currently the PI on an ESRC funded project looking at the impact of the teacher pay reforms in England on the teacher labour market and pupil outcomes. 

Here is Bilal’s UCL page

Alison Fang-Wei Wu – Research Fellow

Alison Fang-Wei Wu is working as a research fellow in our quantitative team. She completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience King’s College London, looking at a potential new form of mental disorders, called pathological social withdrawal, also known as hikikomori. She previously worked on a project looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on British young people’s well-being. Her research interests include mental health and its associations with societal, psychological and biological factors. 

See Alison’s UCL page here

Ruth Dobson – Clinical Lead

Ruth is a Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Lead for neurology at the Royal London and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University.

She is a member of the Association of British Neurologists MS Advisory Group, which provides national input across MS Services. Her clinical and research interests are around the pathways that lead to the development of MS, and trying to think of balancing risks and benefits of MS treatments. She is particularly interested in thinking about these issues in populations that are typically under-represented in MS research, including pregnant women, and ethnically minoritised and deprived populations.

Here is Ruth’s webpage

Liza is smiling at the camera. The picture was taken during a shift on labour ward. She wears her surgical scrubs, not trousers but a scrub dress in order to tell everyone: surgeons come in all genders!

Liza Ball – Clinical Lead

I am a gynaecologist (women’ health specialist) with a special interest in endometriosis (a pain condition that affects women). My patients come from all backgrounds and I enjoy the diversity they bring to my work. I want all voices to be heard in healthcare!

As a researcher I am interested examining the role of non-western medicine interventions (music, meditation) in chronic pain. Recently, I have completed a survey of service users and healthcare professionals to find out about patient care during the Covid 19 pandemic asking: What worked and what did not work well? I found that virtual medicine has benefits for some patients but not for all. I have written an editorial to highlight my concerns- if virtual medicine is here to stay it has to be developed in a way that no one gets excluded.

Jessica Eccles – Clinical lead

Dr Jessica Eccles is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Liaison Psychiatry at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

She did her undergraduate studies at University of Cambridge and graduated from clinical school at the University of Oxford.

Since then she has pursued a combined clinical academic career Her clinical and academic work focus on the intersection of brain-body symptoms in conditions that are often invisible illnesses and although common frequently overlooked , such as hypermobility related conditions, chronic pain and fatigue conditions and neurodiversity. She uses a variety of bench to bed side approaches including neuroimaging and interoception and autonomic testing.

Here is Jessica’s webpage for more information

Josie Dickerson – Bradford Migrant Community Lead

Josie Dickerson is the Director of the Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub and Bradford Inequalities Research Unit. Josie’s research focusses on integrating research into practice in order to improve quality of care, reduce health inequalities and enhance the evidence base of interventions in practice. Josie also leads the world’s first experimental birth cohort: Born in Bradford’s Better Start.

Josie has a PhD in psychology, and has worked as a research programme manager in applied health research with experience of mixed methods approaches including pragmatic randomised controlled trials, cluster trials, cohort studies and process evaluationsJosie’s research interests are in applied health research in vulnerable populations and the implementation and evaluation of complex interventions in community settings.

Read more about Josie and her work here

Dr Louise Goff – London Migrant Community Lead

Dr Louise Goff is a Reader in Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London.

Louise’s research career over the last 20 years has focused on the role of nutrition in the development, prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Louise enjoys leading an inter-disciplinary programme of research, working in collaboration with a wide range of academics and disciplines focused on improving health for UK African & Caribbean communities. She has worked extensively with UK African and Caribbean communities spanning a broad range of research from understanding differences in the biological mechanisms by which diabetes develops in African and Caribbean groups through to developing culturally-tailored interventions to promote diabetes self-management.

Here is Louise’s King’s College webpage

Victoria Redclift – South-East migrant community lead

Dr Victoria Redclift, Associate Professor of Political Sociology in the Social Research Institute at UCL

Victoria works on the sociology of ‘race’, ethnicity and migration with a particular focus on citizenship and political exclusion. She is currently finishing a study into the relationship between experiences of citizenship and transnational practice among Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London, Birmingham and Los Angeles. She is also co-PI on a UCL Health of the Public project looking at health and wellbeing in ethnic minority LGBTQ+ young people.

Read more about Victoria’s work here

Alison Thomson – Public and patient engagement lead

Dr Alison Thomson, is Lecturer in Patient Public Involvement (PPI) and Public Engagement in Science at Queen Mary, University of London. As a design researcher, Dr Thomson’s research sits within the fields of PPI, health service improvement and Design Research. Dr Thomson has extensive experience running co-design workshops with patient groups both in face to face settings and online through virtual video calls and workshops. One of these projects includes developing the ‘future group’ methodology for collaborative workshops between patients with multiple sclerosis and health care professionals. Dr Thomson has facilitated and developed co-design workshops bringing together multiple stakeholders including patients and their carers, the public, clinicians, researchers, third sector organisations and pharmaceutical companies. 

Here is Alison’s Queen Mary webpage

Jenny Camaradou – Patient lead

Jenny Camaradou is a freelance Innovation R&D bid writer and trained legally working in a range of different roles in the public and private sector. She holds an undergraduate degree in law and an MSc in Psychology.

She is a EUPATI Fellow, the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, which is a 14month funded program of training across the entire medicines lifecycle incl regulatory affairs and an alumni of EURORDIS, the voice of Rare Disease patients in Europe. Jenny was diagnosed with a genetic condition aged 34 and has had substantial experience as a health service user across different specialisms and surgeries including orthopaedics, neurology, cardiology, immunology and pain management.

Sarabajaya Kumar – Patient lead

Dr Sarabajaya Kumar is a lecturer (teaching) in Leadership and Voluntary Sector Management & Policy in the Department of Political Science at UCL – she is also a scholar activist, a serial social entrepreneur and social intrapreneur, a mother and a disabled, neuro-diverse woman, with heritage from the global majority.

She holds interdisciplinary social science degrees and a PhD in Accountability. She is also a trained counsellor, gestalt therapist, and a European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) accredited Executive Coach. Her research interests include governance, accountability, artificial intelligence, ethical leadership, disability and Covid-19.

Read more about Sarabajaya on her website here.

Vavidelu Saravanan – Clinical lead


Bromley by Bow Community Centre

The Bromley by Bow Centre is a pioneering charity that combines an extensive neighbourhood hub with a medical practice and a community research project. They support people with a wide variety of integrated services based on their individual needs, because they know that health is primarily driven by social factors, not medical ones. Read more here.

Mohammed T Abou-Saleh, PhD MPhil FRCPsych – Professor of Psychiatry at St George’s, University of London and Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry.

Previously he held the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre. He had previously served as Director of Research and Development and Deputy Head of the Division of Mental Health and Head of the Addictions Research Group at St George’s, University of London and as Clinical Director of Addiction Services. He served as Academic Secretary and Honorary Secretary of the Faculty of Addictions; Honorary Secretary of the Higher Specialist Training Committee and elected Chairman of the Middle East Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Secretary General of the Federation of Arab Psychiatrists. Also, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, United Arab Emirates University (1991-1998). Internationally he is Chairman of the Also, World Psychiatric Association Section on Biological Psychiatry since 1998. He has served as Consultant for the World Health Organization in substance misuse in Oman, Beirut, Cairo and Qatar and UAE. He was Assistant Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry, Co-editor of the European journal Acta Neuropsychiatrica and Member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors and Vice-President of the World Federation for Mental Health from 2007-2015.

Steering Committee:

Dr Helen Ford – Steering Committee Chair

Helen is a  Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Lead for the West Yorkshire Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Programme at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Her research interests are in multiple sclerosis (MS) with original research in the epidemiology of MS; patient-reported outcome measures including quality of life, symptom impact and work instability; novel techniques to assess upper limb function; clinical trials; employment and treatment decision making.

Link to Helen’s Leeds page

Public and Patient Involvement Advisory Group (PAG):

PAG aims are as follows:

• Support patient and public engagement and activities within the CICADA ME project; 

• Co-design and comment on research plans, protocols, and materials; 

• Identify and facilitate ways in which patients/members of the public can be involved in the research  areas and questions;

• Assist with disseminating the research results;

• Assist with assessing the impact of PPI to determine how patient involvement can be used to make a real difference.