Meet the Committee

The current Executive Committee for 2020 includes:

Chair: Kate Absolom, University of Leeds (2019 – 2022)

Kate is a University Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds. She is interested in the quality of life implications of cancer, particularly the collection and utilisation of patient reported data. Kate studied psychology at Lancaster University and completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2005. Her doctoral research, funded by Cancer Research UK, explored models of follow-up care for people treated for cancer in childhood.

Since joining the Section of Patient Centred Outcomes Research (PCOR) in Leeds in 2008 Kate has delivered projects investigating the management of emotional distress during cancer and doctor-patient communication in oncology consultations. More recently she has been involved with the development and evaluation of online technology for capturing cancer patients’ self-reported symptom data for use in routine clinical practice. Previously Kate held a postdoctoral position with the Late Effects Group, Sheffield where she contributed to a number of studies focussed on the experience of young adult cancer survivors.

Kate has been a member of BPOS since 2009 and was part of the executive committee in the Treasurer role between 2010 and 2013. She is also a member of the International Society of Quality for Life research (ISOQOL) and will be starting a term as the Co-Chair of the Quality of Life in Clinical Practice Special Interest Group in 2018.

You can email Kate on: chair@bpos.org


Treasurer: Sarah Gelcich, University of Leeds (2019 – 2022)

Sarah is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and joined the Committee in 2019. Sarah currently leads a Yorkshire Cancer Research funded project: CANVAS- CANcer surveillance And Support. This project aims to enhance the support for breast and colorectal (bowel) cancer survivors by developing and evaluating a new surveillance approach with online self-reporting of symptoms, provision of tailored advice and integration in risk-stratified care pathways. Prior to this, she was a part of the Quality of Life Metric Pilot Evaluation project. The project evaluated the implementation of a Quality of Life Metric across 5 Cancer Alliances in England to inform a national rollout. The metric aims to compare the quality of life post-treatment across different providers for service development.

Sarah has a background in applied linguistics, particularly in conversation analysis in medical consultations. She was awarded a Medical Humanities Sheffield scholarship and completed her PhD studies at the University of Sheffield. The study investigated communication of risk and disagreement within chronic type 2 diabetic medical consultations. Sarah is interested in communication and talk-in-interaction within medical settings, as well as patient reported outcomes for chronic conditions.

You can email Sarah on: treasurer@bpos.org


Secretary: to be advertised

You can email the outgoing Secretary on: secretary@bpos.org


Media representatives: Rachel Starkings and David Wright (2020-2023)

Rachel is a Research Fellow within the Sussex Health Outcomes Research and Education in Cancer group (SHORE-C) at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She has been involved with both qualitative and quantitative projects, such as the development and validation of two new scales to capture the impact of cancer for patients and informal caregivers. Rachel has an interest in psychological pre-habilitation and rehabilitation, having previously worked on a project assessing the biological and psychological impacts of relaxation interventions for women with breast cancer. Rachel is also involved with the assessment of training interventions for healthcare professionals discussing concepts of risk with patients.

Rachel completed her undergraduate degree at the Harriet L Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, with a double major in Psychology and Political Science. She went on to complete her MSc in General Psychology at the University of Plymouth. Before becoming a Research Fellow, Rachel worked as a Senior Clinical Trial Coordinator at the Royal Marsden. She managed both the Head, Neck and Thyroid group as well as the Renal and Melanoma firm and was involved in numerous clinical trials, both academic and commercial in nature.

David Wright is a Senior Research Fellow at the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group (MSRG), University of Southampton. He has periodically worked in cancer survivorship research over the last 18 years. A social scientist by background, David first worked for the Group as a Research Fellow, managing the Macmillan Listening Study. This influential project was the first national research prioritisation exercise involving people affected by cancer and set the agenda for cancer survivorship research. Since then, he has worked as a freelance researcher for different clients including the University of Oxford, the Stroke Association, the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre and the European Commission. In 2018, he returned to the MSRG, working on studies that seek to enhance the understanding of recovery and self-management of people living with and beyond cancer, and evaluating interventions designed to support self-management. David is also responsible for managing evaluations of workforce development and interventions designed to support personalised care. He also has extensive experience of patient and public involvement in research and values working with people affected by cancer as equal partners in the research process.

You can email Rachel and David on: website@bpos.org


Psychology Rep: Steph Archer, Imperial College London (2017 – 2021)

StephSteph is a Research Associate at the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College London. Her current research is in the area of teamwork and skills, with a view to reducing adverse patient events. Previously, Steph worked at the University of Derby as a Lecturer in Health Psychology and as a Research Fellow at the Royal Derby Hospital in the Gynae/Oncology department. Prior to joining Imperial, Steph’s research interests focused on improving the patient experience for patients with gynaecological and breast cancer. Steph is currently supervising 2 PhD students in the area of psycho-oncology and is finishing off her own Stage II qualification in Health Psychology.


Nursing Rep: Lynn Calman and Jo Armes (2019 – 2022)

Lynn Calman is a Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director of Macmillan Survivorship Research Group at the University of Southampton. The Macmillan funded MSRG research programme, is designed to inform the development of more efficient and effective services to support survivors and enhance their recovery.  The MSRG programme has two themes – understanding recovery and self-management following primary treatment and developing and testing interventions to support self-management. The team are running large cohort studies of cancer survivors (CREW, HORIZONS) to understand health and wellbeing of cancer patients from diagnosis and across the life course and have developed online resources and decision aids such as RESTORE to support confidence to manage symptoms and problems. Lynn also leads her own programme of research to understand the needs of people living with treatable but not curable cancer. She has a long history of working closely with people affected by cancer as Research Partners in the development and conduct of research projects.

Lynn is an adult and mental health nurse. She undertook her PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2005) and joined MSRG in 2012 after completing an MRC funded post-doctoral fellowship in health services research and health of the public at the University of Manchester; to develop an intervention for the follow-up of lung cancer patients after primary treatment. She has a particular interest in living with and beyond lung cancer and is a member of the NCRI Lung Cancer Group.

Jo Armes is a Registered Nurse and is currently Reader in Cancer Care & the Lead for Digital Health at the University of Surrey. In 2000 she was awarded a CRUK Nursing Fellowship to undertake a PhD at King’s College London in which she developed and tested a behavioural intervention for cancer-related fatigue. Her research programme aims to enhance supportive care provided to patients in order to help optimise the benefits of treatment whilst living as well as possible with the effects of the disease and consequences of its treatment. She has considerable experience of developing complex interventions and evaluating their outcomes through mixed method research designs. Most recently she has been involved in developing and testing digital health interventions, including the EU-funded eSMART study.


Psychiatry Rep: vacant, will be out to advert soon.


Medical Oncology Rep: Ruth Tarrant (2018 – 2021)

Dr Ruth Tarrant is a Clinical Oncology Consultant at Southampton General Hospital, specialising in radiotherapy, brachytherapy and systemic therapies for gynaecological malignancies.

Alongside her medical career, Ruth has trained in psychodynamic counselling skills, coaching and ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). She is passionate about combining physical and psychological approaches to the management and treatment of patients.

Her research has focused on the psychological aspects of Oncology. She completed an MSc involving qualitative analysis of life coaching after cancer treatment, and initiated a pilot study of mindfulness in patients with ovarian cancer.

Outside of hospital work she runs ‘Rejig’, seeing clients for psychological support on both an individual and group basis.


Consumer Rep: to be advertised


Open Position: to be advertised


Student Representatives- Lucy King and Sara Matthews (2020 – 2022)

Lucy is a PhD researcher at Leeds Beckett University. Her current research has a focus on young people’s cancer awareness and the barriers and facilitators to related behaviours, such as self-examination and help-seeking. As an undergraduate student, Lucy’s dissertation research focused on the role of online social support for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Alongside her studies, Lucy is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Leeds Beckett University in the School of Social Sciences Psychology department.

Sara is a Therapeutic Radiographer and is currently studying for a MPhil/PhD at Oxford Brookes University. Her research will aim to explore the psychosocial experience and needs of oropharyngeal cancer patients and their primary informal caregivers following chemoradiotherapy.

Sara’s previous roles include those of Macmillan Information and Support Radiographer, Radiotherapy Practice Educator and Research Radiographer.


Open Position, Conference and Event Organiser: to be advertised


Palliative Care representative: Dr Jonathan Koffman, King’s College London (2019-2022)

Jonathan Koffman is Reader in Palliative Care at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London. He has a background in Social Policy, Sociology as Applied to Medicine from Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and undertook a PhD in Cancer Studies at King’s College London.

He originally worked for the NHS for an inner London health authority in public health making sense of the purchaser/provider split and health care commissioning. Along with a great deal of epidemiological work on mental illness, he also had the serendipitous opportunity to conduct an evaluation of a hospital-to-home service for men living with, and dying, from HIV/AIDS. Fascinated by the topic, his fate was then sealed and he moved over into academia and the emerging field of palliative care.

Jonathan has specific interests in disadvantaged dying with special emphasis on ethnicity and culture, socials determinants of end of life care, the development and evaluation of complex interventions, advance care planning and communications training for healthcare professionals. He recently completed an NIHR HTA funded cluster RCT of a hospital-based intervention to better identify and serve patients whose situations are clinically uncertain.  More details about Jonathan can be found at Orchid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8513-5681 and @jonathankoffman


Open Position: Claire Foster, University of Southampton (2019 – 2022)

ClaireClaire obtained her PhD in health psychology from the University of Exeter. She then spent seven years at the Institute of Cancer Research investigating the psychosocial consequences of having a genetic predisposition to breast/ovarian cancer. She moved to University of Southampton in 2004. She is Professor of Psychosocial Oncology in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

She is Director of the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group and her research programme focuses on advancing understanding of the health outcomes and experiences of cancer survivors and developing supportive resources to enhance well-being and self-management following treatment. This includes large prospective cohort studies to understand the consequences of cancer over time, how this can impact on people’s daily lives, and identifying areas for intervention. Her team is developing complex interventions, including web-based resources, to support self-management of cancer related problems such as fatigue following cancer treatment; and developing web-based decision aids to support younger women facing decisions about treatment and genetic testing. Claire is a member of the NCRI Psychosocial Oncology and Survivorship Clinical Studies Group.


Open Position: Sara MacLennan, University of Aberdeen (2019 – 2022)

SaraSara is a Senior Lecturer in the Academic Urology Unit, University of Aberdeen, Director of Operations for UCAN (Urological CANcer charity) and holds an honorary contract with NHS Grampian. She is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Registered Health Psychologist (Health & Care Professions Council).

Her expertise is in the health psychology of cancer. There are three key stands to her research: cancer survivorship, stakeholder engagement in the design and delivery of care and behaviour in relation to cancer, long-term conditions and life events. Her research is framed by the need to understand the person within the social, occupational and cultural context in which they operate.