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 investigat

ing 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:

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:

Secretary: Sarah Dickinson, University of Leeds (2017- 2020)

Sarah is a Project Manager at the University of Leeds. Since 2015 she has worked within the Section of Patient Centred Outcomes Research (PCOR), made up of around 30 people, providing high quality independent administrative support for a variety of projects. The main project she works on is a large-scale research programme called eRAPID which is recruiting across three centres in England. She supports the writing of formal reports to the funder (National Institute for Health Research) and support all administrative tasks required for clinical research governance.

She currently arranges and takes minutes for 8 regular meetings within the PCOR group varying in frequency from once a week to once every three months. Some of the meetings involve internal staff only whereas other meetings involve external collaborators for example Steering Committee meetings and Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee meetings. She also arranges and liaises with any external speakers at Section monthly meeting.

In November 2016, she organised the 20 year celebration of the PCOR section at the University of Leeds which was attended by 65 people. This involved organising the venue, food, travel and accommodation of national and international presenters as well as monitoring attendees and any queries they had. The event was for current and former colleagues and collaborators as well as patient representatives.

In addition she supports the eRAPID team with research based tasks including conducting patient and staff interviews, recruitment, following patients up with questionnaires and data entry. In the last 3 years, she has been a named author on 5 abstracts presented at the BPOS conference.

Her interests include: travelling, running road races and cross country walking and socializing with friends (going out to see live music and shows at the theatre).

You can email Sarah on:

Media representative: currently under advertisement

While this position is being advertised, Sarah Dickinson is covering this role. You can read more about this role here

Sarah can be e-mailed at

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: Ruaidhri  Mccormack, Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge (2018 – 2021)

Ruaidhri is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist (with special interest in psycho-oncology) at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. After initially working in hospital medicine, he went on to become a psychiatrist with the Maudsley Training Programme in London. He held an academic clinical fellowship aligned with South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Kings College London. He moved to Cambridge for a consultant post, and is now clinical lead for a new pilot psycho-oncology service at Addenbrookes. He will shortly complete a postgraduate certificate in medical education with the University of Cambridge, and holds a variety of research interests including ethical issues in cancer care.

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: Helen Bulbeck, Director of services and policy, brainstrust (2017 – 2020)

HelenHelen has experienced cancer from a carer’s perspective and also as a cancer patient. Her daughter, has had a grade 2 brain tumour and Helen has had salivary gland cancer. She uses the experience of being a patient, relative, member of the public and a carer to support 1000s of patients who have brain cancer. This 360 degree view means that she is well placed to understand the perspectives of patients, carers and health care professionals. Her roles in brainstrust, a national brain cancer charity which she founded,and as a consumer representative with various bodies are as a disseminator of information and the provision of a network and community, so that she can provide advice on achieving effective consumer involvement and creating a voice. Helen’s key drivers are the patients, their carers and healthcare professionals, with whom she interacts daily. Her ethos of ‘none of us is as smart as all of us’ is a core value for her. Elemental to Helen’s work is high performance coaching. This sets brainstrust apart. When we are no longer to able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves. The coaching relationship enables people to face these challenges, so that they learn how to develop resilience and utilise resources to their full potential. Helen stays up to date with relevant research, ensuring her reading is not brain centric. The skills she developed whilst studying for her PhD means that she is tenacious in spirit, but with a listening ear.

Open Position: Trish Holch, Leeds Beckett Univeristy (2017 – 2020)


Trish is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University, a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, and an associate of the Higher Education Academy. Trish specialises in Applied Health Psychology research, Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), developing complex health interventions and exploring patient understanding.

Prior to joining Leeds Beckett in 2016, Trish worked as a Research Fellow in the Patient Reported Outcomes Group at the University of Leeds, and she continues as an Honorary Research Fellow there. Trish was awarded her PhD in Psychology from the University of Leeds in 2009, and a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree from the same institution in 2003.

Trish is an executive committee member of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS) and a member of the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS), the ISOQOL (International Society for Quality of Life Research) and their Best Practices for PROs- Reporting Taskforce (Patient Reported Outcomes).

Trish regularly sits on the scientific committees of ISOQOL, BPOS and the National PROMs Research Conference and peer reviews manuscripts for Psycho-Oncology and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. In 2017 along with Dr Kate Absolom and Professor Ziv Amir Trish co-edited a special section on digital technologies in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship Research and Practice and the accompanying editorial, ‘Introduction to special section on digital technology and cancer survivorship’.

Student Rep – currently under advertisement

We are looking for 2 people to fill the student representative positions. You can read more about this role here

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: 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.