The LJWG Conference 2022

We are excited to announce speakers for our latest London Joint Working Group annual conference on June 16th 2022, bringing together professionals and patient advocates working in hepatitis C care in London.

3 years to go to elimination

You can read more about the conference here or access a full agenda here.

Dr Suman Verma, Co-chair, London Joint Working Group & Consultant Hepatologist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Dr. Suman Verma is a Consultant Hepatologist at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and an Honorary consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Prior to this she was a Locum Consultant and Senior Clinical Fellow at the Institute of Liver Studies at King’s College Hospital.

She trained in Medicine at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities and completed a PhD in Immunology. Following graduation, Dr. Verma has worked in major liver transplant units at King’s, Birmingham and Cambridge. During this time, she developed research and specialist interests in the management of chronic viral hepatitis, end-stage liver disease and liver transplantation. Dr. Verma was involved in the NHSE Early Access Program for Hepatitis C and co-ordinated the Early Access Exceptional Case Panel multi-disciplinary meeting.

Dr. Verma has been a sub-investigator on numerous clinical trials with the new antivirals, and is a member of the BASL, EASL and AASLD.

Dr Werner Leber, GP & NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care

Dr Leber is a practicing GP in Newham and an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London.

He is working on the TARGET-ID project investigating the identification of people living with blood-borne viruses (HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C) in primary care using machine learning. The projects also investigates the benefits of providing peer support to people diagnosed in general practice. Target-ID is a collaboration between The Hepatitis C Trust, Positive East, and the universities of Oxford, Leicester and Bristol. It has recently been adopted by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North Thames.

Dee Cunniffe, Coordinator, London Joint Working Group (LJWG)

Dee has worked in the field of substance use since 2003. She has managed a wide range of drug services across London, including needle exchange, prescribing services, drug rehabilitation and other services in the sector. Her experience and training is in project management, working with commissioners and service providers, policy leads, coaching, group facilitation, stakeholder management and networking. Dee currently jointly project manages the Routemap for the elimination of hepatitis C in London, working with the London Mayor in collaboration with the Healthy London Partnership. She has  coordinated the LJWG since 2009.

Dr Ashley Brown, Consultant Hepatologist at St Marys Hospital & Professor of Practice at Imperial College London

Professor Ashley Brown is a Consultant Hepatologist at St. Mary’s and Hammersmith Hospitals in London and honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London. Accredited in both internal medicine and gastroenterology, Professor Brown studied as an undergraduate at University of Liverpool Medical School before undertaking specialist training in liver disease and obtaining an MD from University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He has a major clinical interest in viral hepatitis with a special interest in antenatal care and the family clinic. He has a major research interest in novel treatments for HBV and HCV and serves as chief investigator or principal investigator on a range of clinical trials.

Professor Brown has published numerous articles and abstracts in national and international journals, is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a committee member of the British Association for the Study of the Liver and sits on a number of committees looking at improving access to hepatitis care.

Archie Christian, National Training and Volunteer Manager, The Hepatitis C Trust

Archie Christian is the National Training and Volunteer Manager at The Hepatitis C Trust. He develops, delivers and writes training packages for Trust staff, volunteers, and staff in services that the charity works with. As well as hepatitis C, these incorporate other blood-borne viruses (BBVs) including hepatitis B, A and HIV.

Maggie Boreham, Principal Public Health Specialist, The City and Hackney Public Health Team

Maggie has over 20s years’ experience of working in both the homelessness and drug and alcohol treatment sector.  Many of Maggie’s earlier posts: working in a direct access hostel, as an outreach worker, and managing an outreach team; were formative in gathering insights from people with lived experience as to the significant impact of structural and health inequalities.  These insights also underlined the healing potential of connection, compassion, person-centred care, treatment choice, and respect.   Maggie’s dissertation for a master’s degree in Addictive Behaviour in 2004 explored with men and women who were co-injecting heroin and crack cocaine, how they perceived and understood crack cocaine addiction in order to better target harm reduction messages.

In 2015 Maggie completed a master’s degree in Health Psychology and has since managed Pause Hackney and STEPs, Hackney’s Making Every Adult Matter service, both services provide intensive psychologically informed, tailored programmes.   Currently, as a Principle Public Health Specialist Maggie has lead responsibilities for housing and health, and young people’s and adult’s substance use community services.

Dr. Tom Coffey OBE, Senior Health Advisor to the Mayor of London

Dr. Tom Coffey OBE joined the Mayor’s Office as Senior Advisor to the Mayor in Health Policy in 2016. Tom is a GP, Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Children’s Services in Wandsworth, and a GP advisor to the Battersea Healthcare social enterprise.

Tom works alongside City Hall’s Health Policy Team and the new GLA Group Public Health Unit, and his remit includes: providing health policy advice to the Mayor on an ongoing basis, working closely with the Mayor’s Statutory Health Adviser, supporting the Mayoral Director of Policy in work concerning health policy, and delivering the Mayoral commitments on health.

His experiences within the NHS as a GP in Tooting have enabled him to lead on matters relating to health and care devolution, as well as advise on the impact of health inequalities on Londoners.  As part of his duties, he attends the quarterly meeting of the London Health Board.

Dr Monica Desai – Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of Hepatitis C and Blood Borne Viruses/Infections, UK Health Security Agency

Monica Desai is a Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of Hepatitis C at UKHSA.

She trained in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and in HIV/Sexual Health Medicine at University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London.  Prior to joining UKHSA Monica was Consultant Public Health Advisor at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for 4 years.

Mark Gillyon-Powell JP, Head of Programme – HCV Elimination, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Mark joined NHS England in 2016 and is currently Head of Programme for Hepatitis C Elimination. In his previous role within NHS England Health & Justice, Mark led on Public Health in secure and detained settings.

Previously, Mark had spent 15 years as a senior manager in the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and Public Health England, developing addiction treatment policy and delivery.  Mark also spent a period overseeing the implementation and roll out of new cancer screening technologies for Public Health England.

Before these national roles, Mark was an operational manager and practitioner within sexual health, alcohol and drug services within local authority and third sector organisations.  As a part of his practitioner role, Mark trained in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Outside of NHS England, Mark is an active Justice of the Peace (adult criminal court and family court justice) on a bench in the north of England.

Rachel Halford, Chief Executive, The Hepatitis C Trust

Rachel has over 20 years’ experience of working with people at high risk of viral hepatitis, and liver disease generally – the homeless, prisoners, substance users and migrants – the past 18 years of which have been in senior management roles within the voluntary/ NGO sector.

Rachel was CEO of Women in Prison, a national UK campaigning organisation that provides support and advocacy for women affected by the criminal justice system. Passionate about equality and human rights, Rachel joined The Hepatitis C Trust in 2015 as Deputy CEO and took over the role of CEO in July 2018. Rachel is also the European representative on the World Hepatitis Alliance Board. Diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1998, Rachel cleared the disease after completing interferon treatment in 2007.

Steve Taylor, Programme Manager, Alcohol & Drugs Treatment & Recovery, Office for Health Improvement & Disparities

Steve Taylor is a Programme Manager in the Addiction and Inclusion Directorate of the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the Department of Health and Social Care, where he manages programmes on drug-related harm and clinical management. Steve started working in the drug field in 1982 after graduating as a pharmacist. He worked in local and regional provider services before moving into national information, policy and service support.

Simon Young, Health Systems Coordinator for Substance Misuse, Hackney Public Health Team

Simon has worked in Homelessness for over a decade, starting as a volunteer outreach worker, whilst street fundraising for a homelessness organisation, and moving through other operational/management positions, through to borough based oversight of Rough Sleeping systems. Throughout the decade he has worked to ensure that practice, from operational through to strategic, has been reflective of the needs and wishes of the individuals who are meant to benefit from the services. This staunch belief in the voices of experts by experience led to innovative service developments, including Navigator services which were adopted as best practice cross organisationally and governmentally.

Moving into the world of substance use more directly with ADDER Accelerator funding in 2021 Simon has worked to develop a uniform system of delivery and support across providers, as well as working with commissioned teams to improve practice. As part of this work he has created new spaces and forums for people with lived experience of drug use and crime to be listened to by both the Local Authority and the services who work with people who use drugs. This work is shaping and developing how the London Borough of Hackney, and it’s partners, engage in their mission to ensure that people who use drugs receive the help and support they need, or want, to remain healthy and happy  in a safe, secure, life.