Meet our research team

Our team of dedicated researchers who striving to deliver high quality and meaningful research in a range of specialisms.


Dr Christine English

Chair and Member of Board of Trustees


Dr Christine English is Chair of the Board of Trustees with a special interest in research. Christine is currently an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her main research interests are child and family perspectives on care and quality improvement in care.

As a leader and innovator in the field of children, young people and family nursing, she has held senior positions across the North East within clinical practice, education and research. Her last full time role was as Subject Head, Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University. Previous roles have included: Director of Student Engagement/Experience; Faculty Director of Outreach/ Widening Participation; Programme Director; Senior Matron (Child and Teenage Oncology Service); Ward Sister, Staff Nurse.

Christine continues to publish, network and collaborate within children, young people and family nursing. She has a keen interest in improving care through research and education and is co-author of Paediatric musculoskeletal matters, a website for nurses which has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing.

She is also a founder and Executive Committee member of the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA UK & Ireland Chapter). IFNA is a global network of nurses who promote family nursing through research, education and practice. Christine is currently taking a lead role in growing the chapter's membership.

Amanda Lee - Head of Strategy and Research Development at St Oswald's Hospice

Amanda Lee

Head of Strategy and Research Development

Amanda Lee has a longstanding connection with St Oswald’s Hospice. She was appointed Head of Strategy and Research Development in January 2024 but her involvement with the hospice began in January 2020 when she initially volunteered and later took on the role of Research Centre Manager.

Prior to her tenure at St Oswald’s Hospice, Amanda served as the Chief Operating Officer at the Clinical Research Network Yorkshire and Humber (CRN). During her time with the CRN, she restructured the senior management team and built strong relationships with the network’s key partner organisations across the region, which included 21 NHS trusts, 21 CCGs, and numerous GP practices and non-NHS entities.

Before her time at CRN, Amanda founded the Newcastle Joint Research Office (NJRO), which supports all the research endeavours within the Newcastle

Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University.

In April 2022, Amanda provided consultancy services to the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Independent Hospices before returning to St Oswald’s Hospice to assume her current position.

Amanda specialises in forging partnerships with external organisations, with a significant track record in developing commercial collaborations. Throughout her career, she has established research partnerships at the organisational level with major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, GSK, Quintiles, and IQVIA.

Amanda is proactive in safeguarding the safety of research initiatives from a patient standpoint, as well as actively upholding the integrity of data collection and procedural processes. Despite her role often being described as "behind the scenes," she extensively engages at both regional and national levels.

Her efforts focus on fostering strategic research partnerships to ensure that patients and their families at the Hospice benefit from research-driven care.

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Dr Felicity Dewhurst

Honorary Consultant and Academic Clinical Lecturer

ORCID - 0000-0001-9648-5329

Dr Felicity Dewhurst is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Oswald’s Hospice and an NIHR Advanced Fellow and Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Population Health Sciences Institute at Newcastle University.

Following her Dunhill doctoral fellowship, she lobbied for the creation of the first NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship in Palliative Medicine in Newcastle, and subsequently successfully applied for the first NIHR Advanced Fellowship in Palliative Medicine nationally (January 2024-6.25 years).

Felicity has developed a mixed methods programme of research, her interests include promoting equity in palliative care particularly in relation to frailty, multiple long-term conditions, non-malignant disease and ethnic minority groups. She has achieved funding successes as lead applicant (>£1.75 million including five NIHR awards) and co-applicant (>£5.8 million) and has a strong international publication and presentation record including writing and presenting to policy audiences.

Felicity has built regional and national research collaborations and her research has resulted in prize winning service innovation (Hospice UK) with further service expansion planned (funded by Macmillan).

Felicity has a Master’s in Health Professions Education and is on the education committee of the Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) and the organising committee for the Palliative Care Congress (PCC). She is passionate about trying to improve care through research, education and service modification.

Dr Jo Elverson

Consultant in Palliative Medicine

ORCID - 0000-0002-0712-9208

Jo is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Oswald’s Hospice and also works with the regional children’s palliative care service (CHIPS) based in Great North Children’s Hospital. She is particularly interested in improving care for children and young adults with complex and life-limiting conditions.

Jo has been involved in initiatives to improve transition between children’s and adult services at local, regional and national level. She chairs APM/APPM (Association for Palliative Medicine / Association for Paediatric Palliative Medicine) Transition and Young Adult Group. She is also a Trustee of the charity, Palliative Care for People with Learning Disabilities.

As a researcher, Jo completed her MA in Education in 2010 (Winchester). She has received Clinical Research Network research delivery awards since 2020 – supporting her research activity alongside clinical work. As well as leading local participation in research studies, Jo also represents St Oswald’s Hospice in the national CoPPAR (Collaborative Paediatric Palliative Care Research) Network. She has contributed to development of training resources, guidelines and reviews, working with E-learning for health, British Thoracic Society and NCEPOD (National Confidential Enquiry for Patient Outcomes and Death).

Simon Gordon

Director of Strategy and Development

Simon has a successful history of service delivery and development across complex health care organisations spanning three decades. He became Director of Strategy & Development at the hospice in 2016.

Simon is also the joint project lead for the Northern Palliative Care Partnership, Vice Chair of the Northern Palliative Care Research Group and is the strategic lead for Hospices North East.

Previously, Simon has been chief executive of a visual impairment charity, director of a healthcare consultancy and a senior projects manager of a national healthcare charity. He has co-written service specifications which have been adapted as best practice with both the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners and Nursing, whilst also developing both primary and secondary care strategies for clinical commissioning groups and acute trusts across England.

Diane Nicholson - Sister, Children and Young Adults Service at St Oswald's Hospice

Diane Nicholson

Sister - Children and Young Adults Service

Diane Nicholson joined the Children and Young Adults Service at St Oswald’s Hospice in 2003, becoming a Sister in the unit in 2014.

She trained in nursing at Shotley Bridge Hospital, in County Durham, where she developed a passion for paediatrics.

Once qualified, Diane worked as a children’s nurse within the NHS and completed her Children’s Nursing Diploma.

At St Oswald’s Hospice, she sees caring for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families and carers as a “privilege”.

Diane is committed to finding ways to better support young people with life-limiting conditions. She recently led Project Iris that explored the impact Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) techniques can have in a hospice setting.


Laura Barrett

Bereavement Support Worker - Digital Developments

In September 2020, Laura Barrett was appointed Bereavement Support Worker with a focus on Digital Developments.

She joined St Oswald’s Hospice in 2017 as a Senior Fundraiser and, in her own words, would now “find it hard to leave”.

Laura delivers specialist bereavement support to individuals, groups and organisations.

As a Training Facilitator for Hospice UK, Laura provides grief, loss and bereavement training sessions for the Compassionate Employers training programme.

She works with organisations to help them manage grief in the workplace and support staff back to work following a death

The bereavement specialist is also responsible for overseeing partnerships with other charities and businesses with a focus on improving access to bereavement support, best practice and suicide prevention.

Laura has been involved in several research projects that explores themes of grief and looks to widen the access to bereavement support.

In 2023, she delivered bereavement training to 75 prison staff at HMP Northumberland in a project funded by the Linder Foundation and brokered by Hospice UK.

More recently, Laura partnered with local active partnership, Rise, to deliver a 5-week grief, loss and wellbeing course to people in Berwick upon Tweed who are facing additional challenges such as estrangement, addiction, relocation or the death of a loved one by suicide.

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