For the last nine years Katherine has been a pivotal figure in the James Lind Alliance (JLA), a Department of Health initiative that enables research priorities in health and social care to be identified and prioritised by those living or working to help those with given conditions in Priority Setting Partnerships. This requires intensive work with patients, carers and service providers. Katherine’s work with multi-stakeholder groups across the world has given her a reputation for fairness and focus, empowering those whose voices may not easily be heard. She has been a key player in enabling the JLA to become the internationally acclaimed approach that it is today. Katherine’s experience has been sought and applied in other settings to develop priority setting models tailored to the individual needs of the client and their content.
Recent assignments include:
- Ongoing role as Senior Adviser to the James Lind Alliance (JLA), co-author and editor of the JLA Guidebook and responsible for recruiting and training the team of JLA Advisers.
- Chairing, facilitating and managing over 50 research Priority Setting Partnerships internationally since 2008, addressing healthcare issues including depression, dementia, autism, palliative care, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, spinal cord injury and sight loss.
- Delivery of the Visual Impairment and Dementia Summit, a one-day workshop bringing together people affected by visual impairment and dementia, clinicians and researchers to identify priority research themes (College of Optometrists, Alzheimer’s Society, Thomas Pocklington Trust).
- Delivery of an international workshop for an EU consortium of asthma organisations to set a European agenda for asthma research (European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership).
- Consultant adviser on priority setting methodologies for international clients including King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium), Winnovation (Austria) and the Alberta Cancer Foundation (Canada).
- Development of a priority setting process for Knowledge Summaries to contribute to Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons).
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Consensus decision making
Top 10 research priorities for eating disorders (Lancet Psychiatry, 2016)
Dementia priority setting partnership with the James Lind Alliance: using patient and public involvement and the evidence base to inform the research agenda (Age and Ageing, 2016)
Patients’, clinicians’ and the research communities’ priorities for treatment research: there is an important mismatch (Research Involvement and Engagement, 2015)
Who decides the priorities for medical research? (Alliance Magazine, 2015)
Top ten priorities for spinal cord injury (Lancet Neurology, 2014)
Tackling treatment uncertainties together: the evolution of the James Lind Initiative, 2003-2013 (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2013)
Patients/carers and clinicians can set joint priorities for research in cleft lip and palate (International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 2013)
I have watched Katherine facilitating discussions involving mixed groups of patients and clinicians, with diverse interests and complex and sometimes conflicting concerns. She offers the calm and focussed style and the warm and inclusive approach which are needed to achieve consensus about shared priorities in these circumstances. Her work for the James Lind Alliance has always been delivered to a very high standard, and her contributions to the development of this unique initiative have been invaluable.
Sir Iain Chalmers, Founder, Cochrane Collaboration
Working with Katherine is a delight. She helps you guide through a complex process with many parts and stakeholders, feeling like you have an established and robust routine. She brings good ideas, and understands what charities are trying to achieve. Participants in the priority setting exercises we are involved in all seem to be happy their voice has been heard. I've worked with Katherine twice - to deliver two impactful projects - and wouldn't set about a priority setting process without her!
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research, Alzheimer's Society
I have been working with the James Lind Alliance (JLA) since 2014. Katherine has been the JLA’s Senior Adviser since 2008. Katherine’s extensive knowledge and understanding of how the JLA works, its development since its inception, and the breadth of her experience in supporting groups to come up with important questions which need to be answered through rigorous research is invaluable. Her measured approach and wonderful facilitation skills navigate through sometimes difficult conversations coming to a positive conclusion and consensus helping everyone involved to feel empowered and listened to. This is a very important contribution not only to the development of health and care research, but also to the improvement of outcomes for patients.
Dr. Steph Garfield-Birkbeck, Assistant Director, National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC)
As Director of Research at the College of Optometrists (the professional and scientific body for optometry in the UK) I have had the pleasure of working with Katherine directly on two important projects – The Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership (SLV-PSP) and the Visual Impairment and Dementia Summit (VIDem Summit). The SLV-PSP was a collaborative, cross-sector project, funded by the College of Optometrists and delivered by Fight for Sight and the James Lind Alliance. Katherine’s expertise and leadership were crucial to the success of the project. She brought energy and clarity of focus to a large scale, complex piece of work involving numerous organisations and individuals, senior professionals and members of the public. The success of that project led us to seek Katherine’s assistance with the VIDem Summit. This was an innovative project to draw out the areas of overlap between two priority setting partnerships and produce a set of research priorities for people living with concurrent dementia and visual impairment. Once again, Katherine’s ability to rapidly understand our vision for the project and provide targeted advice to refine the methodology, combined with her excellent skills at leading and facilitating complex group work, enabled us to deliver this event to excellent effect. I have worked with Katherine collaboratively since the VIDem summit to provide co-facilitation to a project at City University – I would welcome the opportunity to work with Katherine again, and would not hesitate to recommend her to others.
Michael Bowen, Director of Research, The College of Optometrists
We worked with Katherine on two James Lind Alliance priority setting partnerships addressing dementia and frailty in older adults. Katherine was efficient, professional, practical with her time and advice, and incredibly thoughtful and encouraging in her delivery. She helped us plan our projects, guided us through the processes and advised us on additional steps we could take to ensure that our work would be rigorous and impactful. Throughout all phases of our work, Katherine also made it a priority to help us acknowledge, address and include the perspectives of the diverse groups of stakeholders involved in our partnerships. Katherine was a pleasure to work with and she contributed immensely to the success of our work.
Drs. Katherine McGilton and Jennifer Bethell, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, Canada
Katherine has been helping the King Baudouin Foundation to implement a multi-stakeholder dialogue for priority setting in health research in Belgium. She is now coaching our Foundation across three pilot projects. Thanks to her experience we will avoid a lot of pitfalls. She has contributed to the development of a generic priority setting framework applicable in different research topics and adapted to the Belgian context.
Bénédicte Gombault, Senior Project Coordinator, King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium
Katherine was the chair of the Steering and Data Assessment Groups for the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership (PeolcPSP) from September 2013 to March 2015. We were immensely pleased to have her involved in the project. Her knowledge of the methodology, calmness in the face of difficulties and excellent chairmanship of a group from a very mixed background have contributed to not a small degree to the success of the overall project. Katherine is a pleasure to work with, warm and considerate, but professional, which was particularly important because of the subject matter. We have been very fortunate to have her involved with the project and I can wholeheartedly recommend her work to others considering setting up a Priority Setting Partnership or using her facilitation skills in general.
Dr Sabine Best, Head of Research, Marie Curie
The Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership was an ambitious project. Katherine chaired the Steering Committee that oversaw the design and delivery of this large and complex project and facilitated the final workshops necessary to deliver a set of priorities. We were very impressed by Katherine’s professionalism. She commanded respect from people involved and this enabled her to build consensus amongst people with a wide range of views. She demonstrated real empathy with those involved and ensured that all voices were heard. Throughout the project she remained enthusiastic, calm and unflappable. We all really enjoyed and have benefited hugely from working with Katherine.
Michele Acton, Chief Executive, Fight for Sight