NHSA appoints new Board Chair and Interim CEO

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) has made two senior appointments with a new Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive Officer announced. 

27th June 2024

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) has made two senior appointments with a new Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive Officer announced. 

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Liverpool, will take the role of Board Chair and Hannah Davies, the NHSA’s current Deputy Chief Executive, has been promoted to Interim CEO. 

Hannah will take over from departing CEO Dr Séamus O’Neill on September 1. Hannah has been with the NHSA for eight years and during that time has played a leading role in establishing the organisation as the influential pan-northern health research partnership it has become known for. 

She has driven the development of the NHSA’s health inequalities programme and spearheaded the launch of Health Equity North, a virtual institute focused on place-based solutions to public health problems, of which she is Executive Director. 

In her role as Interim CEO, Hannah will focus on governance, strategy and operational delivery on behalf of the NHSA member organisations for at least a six-month period before a permanent appointment is made. 

Hannah said: “I am honoured to take on the position of Interim Chief Executive Officer. I am fortunate to have been a part of the NHSA team since its early days and through its evolution into the 19-strong member alliance we have today.  

“As Interim CEO, I am committed to delivering impactful results for our university and NHS trust members. I am passionate about the North of England and making sure that the health and life sciences excellence we have across our regions is recognised and fairly invested in. I’m looking forward to working closely with our new Chair, the Board and our council as we continue to advocate on behalf of our members nationally and internationally.” 

The NHSA Board will also be under new leadership as the member organisations recently elected Professor Louise Kenny as its new Chair. 

Louise, who has been a member of the NHSA Board for four years, is prolific within the field of health and life sciences research and has long supported the NHSA and its mission.  

She serves as the Executive Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Liverpool, where she has been instrumental in driving forward its strategic vision in health and life sciences. She is also an internationally renowned clinician-scientist with a distinguished career in maternal and fetal health research. She has previously held a number of national and international board positions and is currently Chair of the Population and Systems Medicine Board (PSMB) at the Medical Research Council (MRC).   

Professor Kenny said: “The NHSA has been doing incredible work to drive innovation in health science and improve health outcomes across the North of England for over a decade. I am delighted to have been elected as the new Chair and I look forward to supporting the Board, Hannah and the wider NHSA team as the organisation moves into an exciting new era.”    

Louise will take over from Professor David Burn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University, on August 1. 

Dr Séamus O’Neill, current CEO, said: “It is with immense pleasure to formally announce the appointment of Hannah Davies as Interim CEO and Professor Louise Kenny as Board Chair. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be handing over the reins to Hannah, who is both a friend and colleague. Over the last eight years, Hannah has cemented herself as an invaluable member of the NHSA executive team and is responsible for elevating the NHSA’s profile within the political and media spheres. She is the driving force behind our impactful health inequalities programme and is truly committed to our vision of creating a healthy and prosperous North. She will do a brilliant job leading the team. 

“We are also delighted to welcome Professor Kenny as our newly elected Board Chair. Louise’s experience in health and life sciences research speaks for itself and the NHSA will thrive under her exemplary leadership capabilities. I can’t wait to see what comes next for the NHSA being expertly steered by Hannah and Louise.” 

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) is a health and life sciences partnership between leading research-intensive NHS trusts and universities in northern England. It brings together the world-leading health research excellence across the region in a North life sciences supercluster. 

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