TWOCAN ASSOCIATES - promoting partnerships for better research and development

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Who we are

Bec and Kristina
Bec and Kristina

TwoCan has two co-directors - Bec Hanley and Kristina Staley.

Bec Hanley has spent the past fifteen years working to promote the involvement of people who use services in health care and health research. She was the director of the INVOLVE Support Unit for five years. During this time she worked in partnership with people who use services and professionals to develop policy and practice on involvement in research. She has worked with a range of voluntary organisations, the NHS and research organisations both in this country and in Australia. Bec has a particular interest in clinical trials, and works as an adviser to the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit on patient and public involvement. She has undertaken and published research on patient involvement in clinical trials.

Kristina Staley is an experienced researcher with a background in biomedical science. After gaining her PhD from Cambridge University, and working as a post-doctoral fellow in the USA, she moved into health and science policy working at the King's Fund and Sussex University's Science Policy Research Unit. For many years her work focused on involving the public in health policy debates and she gained considerable experience in making research accessible to the public. She worked at the MS Society to introduce PPI into their research programme. She is also the author of INVOLVE’s recent publication ‘Exploring Impact: Public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research’.

Bec and Kristina have worked together for the past nine years.

Our associates

Our associates come from a variety of backgrounds and work with us on projects where we feel their expertise adds value.

Caroline Doherty is a facilitator and learning & development consultant. She has extensive experience of working in the NHS, with Third Sector health and social care organisations and the academic sector. She has current specialist knowledge and expertise in Patient and Public Involvement in the NHS, including many years’ experience of working with people affected by cancer to improve cancer care services and cancer research. As a coach, Caroline specialises in working with people who are making a significant career or life stage transition. She also provides supervision to a range of people – including coaches, independent consultants and others working directly with health and social care clients.

Helen Hayes has extensive experience of public involvement in research. She has worked at INVOLVE for 12 years, most recently as Knowledge and Communication manager where she led the development of the briefing notes for researchers and website redesign. She now works on specific projects such as the implementation of plain English summaries in NIHR funded research, a series of webinars with the NIHR School for Social Care Research and the development of an Equality and Diversity policy. Helen has experience of facilitating groups and working with health professionals, researchers, research commissioners and members of the public. She has in depth knowledge of designing, developing and editing resources and publications and has worked alongside others to develop an evidence base for public involvement in research. 

Carolyn Morris was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and joined her local patient partnership group and a national patient led advocacy group. She has experience of user involvement at grass roots and national levels and as co–researcher on projects investigating the process and impact of user involvement. Carolyn previously was a careers psychologist and counsellor, working with disabled people on Clydeside and students and academics in Sussex, where she was Director of the Career Development Unit until early retirement.

Rachel Purtell is the co-ordinator of, a project that aims to facilitate and promote meaningful and effective service user, patient and carer involvement in all types of research relating to health and social care across Devon. Rachel has an MA in Disability Studies (University of Leeds) and as a disabled person runs workshops and training events on disability equality issues for universities and voluntary organisations. She has project managed work for SCIE and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Derek Stewart OBE, was treated successfully for cancer of the larynx in 1995. As former Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute Consumer Liaison Group, Derek assisted with the increase in patient participation in the establishment and work of the National Cancer Research Institute. Derek is a Trustee for onCore UK, the national cancer tissue resource, Chair of the Confederation of Cancer Biobanks and a member of the Cancer Reform Strategy Advisory Board. From 2001 until 2006 Derek was Chair of Gedling Primary Care Trust in Nottinghamshire. In 2005 he took up the role as Chair of Nottingham City Crime and Drugs Partnership. Derek continues to work as a freelance consultant providing training on patient and public involvement across charity and public sectors. This contribution to health services in particular cancer led to being awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2006. Derek is Associate Director for patient and public involvement for the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Networks Coordinating Centre and is Chair of the Throat Cancer Foundation.

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