AHSN NENC grows team to drive regional health improvement and economic growth

A regional health network has expanded its team with nine new members of staff including the appointment of a commercial director.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (ASHN NENC) has grown its core team to strengthen its delivery of a wide range of health improvement, patient safety and economic growth programmes across the North East and North Cumbria’s healthcare landscape.

Russ Watkins has been appointed as Commercial Director, which will see him lead the AHSN NENC’s economic growth activities.

He joins the AHSN NENC from Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where he held the position of Assistant Director – Business Innovation and Improvement.

Alongside Russ, the other new members of the AHSN NENC team include Stephen Lynn, Business Manager; Rachel Morris, Business Manager; Nick Harrison, Researcher; Liz Brown, Health Programme Manager; Jody Nichols, Health Programme Manager; Gemma Todd, Project Support Officer; Philip Kyle, Project Support Officer; and Janette Stephenson, Medicines Optimisation Workstream Lead.

Russ has built his career within the healthcare sector over the last 20 years, working his way up from a medical notes summariser to leading innovation within one of the largest NHS Trust’s in the UK.

Commenting on his appointment, Russ said:

“Throughout my career, I’ve always had an interest in innovation and how we can adapt to do things differently and more efficiently.

“I worked with the AHSN NENC for a number of years within my previous role and I’m thrilled to now be part of that team. In my new position I have the opportunity to look at healthcare innovation on a wider regional level, which will allow me to shine the light on what the North East can offer on a national scale.

“There’s a real enthusiasm for innovation within the region and we need to capitalise on this. My immediate priorities will be identifying where and how we can develop the regional infrastructure to support innovation in and out of the NHS, as well ensuring we are providing industry with a real way into the NHS market.”

Dr Séamus O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer at the AHSN NENC, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome our new team members who will all play a pivotal role in the work we deliver across the North East and North Cumbria going forward.

“Since 2013, we have acted as a broker between the NHS, academia and industry to drive health improvement and stimulate economic growth through our wide-ranging programmes. As our team grows, we are excited to build upon this as we work to improve health outcomes for people across the region.”

Photo of new starters

Back row L-R: Stephen Lynn, Philip Kyle, Seamus O’Neill, Russ Watkins.

Front row L-R: Nick Harrison, Janette Stephenson, Jody Nichols, Gemma Todd, Rachel Morris and Liz Brown.