ABOUT THE PEOPLE

Editorial and Advisory Boards

The Editorial Board comprises people from a wide range of backgrounds of relevance to the mission and content of the Journal, including parent education, midwifery, public health, early years policy and campaigning and communications.

The Advisory Board includes people who support the Journal’s mission and make themselves available to give advice and guidance to the Editors and Editorial Board as needed.

Editorial

Mary Nolan
Mary trained as a nurse at Gloucester and Cheltenham School of Nursing and subsequently as an Antenatal Teacher and Tutor with the NCT (formerly called the National Childbirth Trust). She worked as a birth and early parenting educator for 30 years, primarily at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

Her first book, ‘Being Pregnant, Giving Birth’ was published in 1998 and this has been followed by many more which she has written, co-authored or to which she has contributed chapters.

In 2007, Mary was appointed the UK’s first Professor of Perinatal Education at the University of Worcester and Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham in 2012. She has researched women’s experiences of antenatal classes, fathers’ support needs in early parenting, young children in military families and contributed to the Birthplace in England study. She was a member of the Expert Reference Group convened by the UK Department of Health in 2009 to devise an evidence-based universal parent education programme: ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’.

Mary has led workshops throughout the UK, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and has presented at national and international conferences.

She has three daughters, two grandchildren and lives in York with her husband, Peter.
Shona Gore
A Childbirth Educator for thirty years, Shona is passionate about education and support for parents in the transition to parenthood.

Following nursing at Barts and St Thomas’ in London, the births of her children kindled an interest in childbirth education, which she explored by volunteering with and working for NCT (formally the National Childbirth Trust). As a Senior NCT Tutor and New Developments Manager, Shona, in collaboration with colleagues, wrote and implemented many training courses to prepare peer supporters, health professionals and students at diploma and degree level, to work with parents.

The NCT Signature and Essentials courses were devised by her team and quality assurance was part of her role. She has led workshops throughout the UK and in Europe.

Shona was a member of the Expert Reference Group convened by the UK Department of Health (2009) to devise evidence-based, universal parent education programmes to be delivered under the title of ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’. Since resigning from NCT in 2016, Shona has focused on devising antenatal courses for Grandparents. She has a daughter, two sons and two grandchildren and lives in London with her husband Julian.
Sally Hogg
Sally Hogg started her career as a Civil Servant working on Children’s Policy in the UK and Australia. She is now Head of Policy and Campaigning at the UK Parent-Infant Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s work to raise awareness of the importance of early relationships and to drive change at a local and national level. This includes coordinating the 1001 Days Movement and All-Party Parliamentary Group.

Sally is passionate about the emotional wellbeing of babies and their parents. Over the past 10 years, her roles in this field include Strategic Lead at the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and Development Manager for Children Under One at the NSPCC, where she developed and implemented research-led interventions including Baby Steps (relationship-based perinatal education) and Coping with Crying. During this time, Sally also completed an M.A. looking at the associations between excessive early crying and later outcomes.

In her ‘spare time’, Sally is a governor of a preschool and has also been chair of her local NCT group and a member of her local Maternity Services Liaison Committee and of the RCOG Women’s Voices panel. Sally works part time and spends most of her week with her two lovely boys, aged 2 and 5.
Sarah Pittaway
Sarah is Head of Library Academic Engagement at The Hive in Worcester, UK, home to Europe’s first integrated public and university library, Worcestershire’s Archives & Archaeology Service and Worcestershire County Council’s Customer Service Hub.

Sarah is an associate member of the Higher Education Academy and holds a PhD in Medieval Studies, having flirted with an academic career prior to embracing life as a librarian.  Her career has encompassed a variety of teaching, subject librarian and e-resources roles, working at the University of Birmingham before moving to Worcester in 2013.

Alongside her day job, Sarah writes and presents on such topics as student engagement, partnership working and the changing nature of librarianship.
Jonathon Sher
Jonathan is Deputy Director of the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (www.qnis.org.uk). He has responsibilities for programme development and policy matters, including the community nurse-led Catalyst for Change programme (now a partnership between QNIS and The National Lottery Community Fund).

Since moving to Scotland in 2005, Jonathan has served as the Director of Research, Policy and Programmes at Children in Scotland and then as the Scotland Director of the WAVE Trust. He was also a Trustee of the Children’s Parliament. Previously, he had academic appointments, including Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the School of Education and Psychology at North Carolina State University. Jonathan was the leader of the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, as well as coordinating child-focused progressive policy coalitions.

He is the author of numerous published articles, book chapters and reports in the US, Scotland and Australia. He has an established track record on rural community education/development, child and family health/wellbeing, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and, especially in recent years, on preconception health, education and care.
Jane Svensson
Jane is Clinical Midwifery Consultant for Health Education and Diversity Health at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, Australia, one of Australia's foremost specialist hospitals for women and babies, since its early beginnings as New South Wales’ first 'lying-in' hospital for women in 1820. Jane has designed, facilitated and evaluated a wide range of educational programs and strategies, including pre-puberty, preconception, labour, birth and parenting and other women’s health programs since completing a Master’s in Public Health in 1991.

She has been training antenatal and parenting educators on a consultant basis for 28 years, is co-author of ‘Effective Antenatal Education’, a distance education program that was offered through the University of New England, and principal author of ‘Breastfeeding and You: A Handbook for Antenatal Educators’, an Australian Government Department of Health publication.

Jane is a past president of the National Association of Childbirth Educators, (now Childbirth And Parenting Educators of Australia, CAPEA) and currently the chairperson of the CAPEA Further Education Sub-Committee, a committee that in 2012 published ‘Competency Standards for Childbirth and Parenting Educators’.

In 2005 Jane completed her doctorate entitled Antenatal Education: Meeting Consumer Needs. A Study in Health Services Development.and is currently replicating, with slight modification, this research to further determine the outcomes of the current antenatal education programs at RHW, ten years since their inception.
Rebecca Wierenga

Rebecca qualified as a physiotherapist in 1983, and worked both in the UK and Australia. She specialised in women’s health and paediatrics, notably as a Senior Paediatric Community Physio working with children with severe learning difficulties. When she had her own children, Rebecca’s great-aunt, a founder member of The National Childbirth Trust, encouraged Rebecca to attend an NCT antenatal course. Rebecca went on to train and work as an antenatal teacher for the NCT, which she has been doing for 26 years, currently facilitating antenatal groups in Cornwall.

Rebecca’s career with the NCT developed and broadened. She trained as an Assessor and Tutor, gaining a Degree in Adult Education in 2008. Alongside this, she worked as a Birth Doula supporting many new parents through labour and birth. With tutor colleagues, she wrote the NCT’s Birth Doula training modules, validated by the University of Worcester.

Rebecca works full-time as an NCT tutor. She is the Tutor Lead for Level 4 nationally, a Core Tutor for students in the South-West of England, a Tutor on the Level 4 Reflective Practice and Listening Skills module, and Lead and Tutor on the Level 5 NCT Birth Doula Pathway.

Lisa Williams
Lisa Williams is a journalist, podcaster and digital consultant. She is currently commissioning editor on features at the Daily Telegraph, and has a digital consultancy business, UPPERCASE Digital, with clients including The Eve Appeal charity and Laidlaw Education.

Her podcast, The Hotbed, covers sex, relationships and women’s reproductive health, with a strong parenting focus. After starting her career at Newsquest South London, she became a showbiz and lifestyle writer for Press Association. She then become Digital Editor for Conde Nast glossy, Tatler, setting them up on Instagram and creating original video content and quirky online tools.

She edited the Webby-nominated parenting website, TantrumXYZ, for two years, publishing cutting-edge parenting guides, comment and hosting events. She has two children under five.

Advisory Board

Robin Balbernie

Robin was for many years Professional Lead for Child Psychotherapy and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Gloucestershire CAMHS.

His interest in working with adopted children led him to the field of Infant Mental Health and early preventative intervention. Until 2018, he was clinical director of PIP UK, a national charity dedicated to help establish parent-infant projects across the UK.

Chris Cuthbert
Chris has worked as Head of Strategy and Development at the NSPCC, as Director of Development for A Better Start at the Big Lottery Fund and currently, as Head of Research at Lumos.

His interests are in children's wellbeing, public health, social epidemiology, inequalities, mental health and early intervention.
Duncan Fisher
Duncan manages policy and innovation for the Family Initiative. He founded the Fatherhood Institute and Dad.Info, and wrote the book ‘Baby’s Here! Who Does What?’ He was awarded an OBE ‘for services to children’ in 2008.
Matt Forde
Matt has been National Head of Service for the NSPCC in Scotland since 2010. His prior experience spans thirty years, including children’s social work, secure care and residential care.

He has served as Head of Service for Children’s Services in Glasgow and joint Head of Service in a Community Health and Care partnership.
Amy Maclean
Amy Maclean is Senior Project Manager at Birmingham Women’s and Children's NHS Foundation Trust working with other Trusts within the STP to make efficiencies in services across children's services in Birmingham in preparation for the NHS migration to an Integrated Care System (ICS).

In particular, she is focussing on reducing non-emergency paediatric A/E visits through a series of operational and person-centred educational programmes. She is also working on a project team exploring Person-Centred Care and how that becomes business as usual in the NHS.

She has a unique blend of commercial, NHS and education experience: Amy studied in the USA with degrees in Finance and Education. Her early career in Chicago was in change management and training for large systems implementation programmes.

After moving to the UK in 2000, having met a Brummie in Chicago, Amy became an antenatal teacher with NCT. She founded The Good Birth Company in 2003, now the world’s leading provider of birthing pools for consumers and hospitals.

In 2009, she joined the leadership teamof NCT as a National Partnership Manager supporting work in the NHS. Meanwhile, her leadership on both the Maternity Services Liaison Committee and then as a Patient and Carer Governor at Birmingham Women’s Hospital allowed her commercial expertise and woman-centred approach to confidently lead on to working professionally in the NHS in patient and family experience.
Jan Mitcheson
Jan is programme leader for the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing programme for health visiting and school nursing at the University of Suffolk.

She also works as Deputy Director at the relationship charity OnePlusOne, based in London.

Communications

Bridget Supple

Bridget is an international speaker and an award-winning antenatal educator, working in the charitable sector with the NCT and The Twins Trust (formerly TAMBA), and within the NHS at one of Britain’s largest maternity units where she has both headed and been part of the Parent Education team for 15 years.

As founder of ‘Your Baby’s Biome’, she shares information and runs workshops for health professionals and parents about how to give babies the best bacterial start.

She also works with the charity Birth Companions, teaching pregnant women in prison. Bridget lives in Shropshire with her husband, four children and a menagerie of pets.

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