West Midlands AHSN forms new leadership team with four appointments

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) will form a new leadership team with the appointment of four strategic roles.

Tony Davis, previously the commercial director with the WMAHSN, now becomes the director of Innovation and Economic Growth. Dr John Williams will be joining the AHSN as the new director of Academic Science; and Kate Hall joins as the new director of Implementation and Adoption. Rob Chesters will support them as the new WMAHSN chief operating officer. The new structure will come into effect in April.

Professor Michael Sheppard, chair, WMAHSN said: “The new appointments are great additions to the WMAHSN, each one recognised regionally and nationally for their contribution to healthcare and healthcare innovation.

“WMAHSN’s ambition is to stimulate the health and wealth of our region through innovation and so we wanted to take an innovative approach to our leadership model, creating a strong, high profile team that reflects the priorities of our new five-year licence and confidently navigates any challenges ahead.”

Initially set up in 2013 to encourage health innovation and stimulate economic growth, the national AHSN Network is made up of 15 regional organisations. In its first five years, the WMAHSN supported 3,000 companies and supported projects in 770 sites across the West Midlands that benefitted nearly 70,000 people.

The leadership team and the WMAHSN’s new operational structure reflect the priorities of the new five-year licence period for the WMAHSN, which was approved by NHS England last year as part of a ten-year vision to drive health innovation and stimulate economic growth.

Tony Davis was with the WMAHSN on its establishment in 2013. As commercial director he has been leading on wealth creation and the innovation pipeline development for the organisation. Before his role at the AHSN, Tony was the CEO of Medilink West Midlands and the chair of Medilink UK, promoting the life sciences industry to government organisations and helping SMEs in the marketplace to grow their business.

Dr John Williams has enjoyed an extensive career in the biomedical sector encompassing both research and the professional sector. In addition to his new role at WMAHSN he remains managing director for Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance that seeks through the use of it capabilities in translational medicine to accelerate the development of and access to drugs, devices, diagnostics and other interventions to deliver better treatments and care to patients in the region.

Kate Hall started her NHS career a ward clerk and since then has worked within and managed many hospital services. She has a background as a senior manager having worked in a number of senior operational roles and is particularly interested in building capability for leadership and improvement, methods for effective implementation and adoption and sustainability of change.

Rob Chesters was previously the senior innovation and research sanager at NHS England, within the Innovation, Research and Life Sciences Group. Prior to that, Rob was a senior innovation manager at the NHS National Innovation Centre, part of the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. He has a background in Innovation policy and adoption and has led the introduction of a wide range of technologies into the NHS. Rob is also experienced in Industrial Design specialising in Medical Product design, Assisted Living and Inclusive Design.

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