Project Management Team

Dame Tina Lavender Professor Dame Tina Lavender
Position covered Principal Investigator NIHR Stillbirth project

Lead Work stream 2 – Tanzania and Zambia

Co-lead Work stream 3 – Kenya and Uganda


Dame Tina Lavender is Professor of Midwifery and Director of the Centre for Global Women’s Health at the University of Manchester. She is a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Nairobi, Malawi and Sydney.

She leads a programme of research, Midwifery and Women’s Health; her main research focus being the management of prolonged labour and partogram use. Dame Tina has published extensively in this field.  She is Co-editor in Chief of the British Journal of Midwifery, Associate Editor of the African Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, Editor of the Pregnancy and Childbirth Group of the Cochrane Collaboration and on the editorial team of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dame Tina is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives and European Academy of Nurse Science. Dame Tina also acts as a regular Advisor to the World Health Organization, particularly in relation to guideline development.


Professor Alexander Heazell   
Position covered Co – lead investigator NIHR Stillbirth Project

Co- lead Work stream 1 – Zimbabwe


Professor Alexander Heazell is a Professor of Obstetrics and Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester. He leads a programme of research focussed on the understanding and prevention of stillbirth and improvement of clinical care.

He has translated research findings into changes into UK clinical practice including a national consent form for perinatal post-mortem and a regional care pathway for stillbirth which was highlighted by the Secretary of State as good practice after stillbirth. His research portfolio includes a profile of basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to give a better understanding leading to prevention of stillbirth and improving care for parents after stillbirth.

Professor Heazell was on the steering group of the Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirth Series, leading over 240 co-authors on five papers. Professor Heazell is also Section Editor of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth and was the Chair of International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) from September 2014 – 2017.


HCRI staff portraits Roy Daley
Position covered Project Manager NIHR Stillbirth project

Roy is an experienced Global Health business and programme manager. He provides senior administrative support to the NIHR programme, ensuring compliance with UK procedures and finance regulation.

Roy was recruited to the University in 2012 to support the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) global health initiative.  He has more than 15 years’ experience in supporting research and development in health education related settings. Prior to joining the University, he worked for the consultancy arm of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine managing proposal development and consultancy contracts for a range of international donor agencies and clients.


sabina Dr Sabina Wakasiaka
Position covered Research Coordinator NIHR Stillbirth project (based in Kenya)

Lead Work Stream 5 – all countries (QoC)

Co – lead Work Stream 6 – all countries (PPI)





Dr. Rebecca Smyth
Position covered Lead Work stream 1 – Zimbabwe

Lead Work stream 4 – Malawi


Dr Rebecca Smyth is a Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at the University and holds a Visiting Lecturers post at the Department of Nursing, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Rebecca has a wealth of experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. She has conducted randomised controlled trials, qualitative studies in addition to being an experienced Cochrane Systematic Reviewer.

Rebecca’s research spans both national and international collaborations; in particular Rebecca has established solid partnerships with colleagues in the East, Central and Southern Africa region, and their associated universities. Rebecca contributes to Manchester Centre for Global Women’s Health; a named WHO Collaborating Centre. Additionally, Rebecca is as an expert in systematic reviews and GRADING (a systematic approach to rating evidence in systematic reviews and to guideline development). Rebecca has collaborated with the World Health Organization in producing international clinical guidelines.


Dr Carol Bedwell 
Position covered Lead Monitoring and Evaluation NIHR Stillbirth project

Co – Lead Work stream 2 – Zambia and Tanzania

Lead Work Stream 6 – all countries (PPI)   


Dr Carol Bedwell has been a midwife for over 28 years, with considerable experience in clinical practice, research and teaching. Her current post is that of Senior Lecturer in Midwifery and Global Women’s Health at the University of Manchester.

Carol has wide ranging research experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. She leads the undergraduate dissertation unit and provides input into postgraduate programmes. Carol also supervises a number of national and international PhD students.

In global health, Carol has worked closely with the LAMRN countries since the development of the network, promoting evidence-based practice through both research and clinical audit. Carol’s research interests relate to intrapartum care, midwives experiences and challenges in global health. Carol also has expertise in monitoring and evaluation and is the lead on this NIHR project and other on-going network projects.


Picture Dr Tracey Mills
Position covered Lead for Training in NIHR Stillbirth project

Lead Work stream 3 – Kenya and Uganda








Valentina Actis Danna
Position covered Research Associate NIHR Stillbirth project

Co – lead Work stream 4 – Malawi

Co – lead Work stream 5 – All countries (QoC)


Miss Valentina held a degree in Development Cooperation and an MSc in International Public Health, with focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health. She is passionate about African settings and cultures and spent several years in both Sudan and Uganda.

She conducted her MSc dissertation project in Tanzania, carrying out a qualitative study on healthcare provider’s perspectives about pain relief during labour.

She spent more than 3 years in Sudan, where she worked for the Italian Development Cooperation Agency as project officer. In Eastern Sudan, she implemented EU-funded projects aiming at improving access to maternal and neonatal care. Her work included supporting the Ministry of Health (SRH Department) to improve data collection and ANC service delivery in rural areas. She achieved this by working with various cadres of healthcare providers including community midwives, medical assistants, health promoters and doctors.

Valentina is a Research Associate in the NIHR SB project and co-leading the audit research in Malawi. She is also involved in a survey in all LAMRN countries to explore women’s experience of care received. Her research interest includes global women’s health, respectful maternity care, FGM and stillbirth prevention in low resource setting.


Jonathan Wood 
Position covered Research Administrator 

Jonathan holds a degree in History from the University of Liverpool which was awarded in 2011. Since then, he has worked in the retail sector as a store supervisor for an international retail company, and has worked in sales for a national self-storage company.

Jonathan’s new role as Research Administrator for the NIHR SB project is his first experience of academic research administration and global health research. He will be working with all those involved in the project to ensure the successful and effective delivery of an important project. He is excited by the opportunity to be involved with work that can potentially make a huge difference in the lives of people in Africa and beyond.

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