Meet the women bridging the digital divide
The Connected Health Care (CHC) project seeks to provide a digital infrastructure for primary care, secondary care and service users in rural communities via secure satellite connections. The innovative project is led by Senior Research Fellow Anna Mankee-Williams.
Following a 2019 announcement that the NHS would undergo a ‘digital transformation’, Anna’s team set to work to ensure that a strong digital infrastructure would be in place for residents in Cornwall and other areas of the UK who live in digital blind spots.
The project looks to apply satellite communications, intelligent routing and delay tolerant networking within a digital infrastructure to the health care sector.
Twelve of Anna’s fifteen team members are women, all with varied backgrounds, skillsets and life experiences. Between them, they have experience working in geophysics, volcanology, neuroscience, healthcare and the charity sector.
Here are some of the women who’ve joined forces to fight for digital equality and a more accessible NHS.
Anna and Tessa
Born and bred in Redruth, Anna went on to complete her nurse and midwifery training in London before spending two years in Ghana, working on an integrated health project in a remote, rural area. She is now a senior research fellow, with a focus on innovation in the health and wellbeing sector and leads a number of research projects.
“I am especially delighted that Connected Health Care has a predominance of women in key roles and contributing to such important developments at this time. It is a privilege to work alongside such an inspiring team.”
Tessa worked for council services in Cornwall for 15 years. She took on numerous roles, including work in administration, HR and as a business improvement manager. In 2017, Tessa was introduced to the Health and Social Care service working across the system as a project manager for Shaping Our Future and then specifically working for GP practices.
“Working for Kernow Health CIC has enabled me to consolidate this knowledge and experience to work as a representative on the Connecting Healthcare Partnership Programme – where every day is a ‘school day’ learning from all these wonderful women!”
Kat and Sharon
Originally from Germany, Kat’s academic background in geophysics and volcanology brought her to the UK via New Zealand and Canada. Together with Anna, she successfully led the bid developed for UKSA/ESA for the CHC Project from the inception of the idea through to ongoing delivery.
“Having the opportunity to work with such a diverse set of women and men, with backgrounds across a range of sectors, and bringing together expertise in a way that can benefit the delivery of e-health across the UK and further afield, is extremely humbling. I very much look forward to seeing the impact that this project will have on care pathways and delivery of digital health care.”
Sharon is currently the Research Manager / Lead Research Nurse for Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust. Sharon consistently strives to integrate research into everyday clinical practice. Her vision is that all patients have the choice and/or opportunity to be involved in quality clinical research trials.
“I am really excited to be working on the CHC project. Bringing technology into a health care space that has been underrepresented is a real challenge and provides hope for improving access to care for the future.”
Joanna is proud to have worked in the NHS for over 25 years. She started out as a phlebotomist in primary care in Sheffield. During her psychology degree and MA, she developed a passion for Mental Health and Research. Fast-forward 18 years, this still stands. She has had numerous clinical roles as a registered mental health nurse working in Rehabilitation and Recovery and Early Intervention in Psychosis services and as a senior research nurse.
“Testing whether satellite communications could assist in the provision of efficient digital healthcare, where connectivity is lacking, is super exciting. It is wonderful and humbling to be collaborating with such interesting, innovative and able women- ‘women of steel’ as we would say in Sheffield. This is an ambitious project across organisations and nations and I am delighted that it is a female dominated team driving it forward.”