Gemma McKenna

Gemma has 15 years’ experience of working in the third and public sectors, focusing on housing, homelessness and public health. With a background in critical and comparative approaches to social policy, she specialises in NHS urgent and emergency care, with a focus on methods to support research with vulnerable groups. Gemma has been a board member of Health Services Research UK since 2017.

Gemma is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. She teaches on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Graduate Programme, which focuses on delivering excellence in Leadership throughout the NHS through the critical components of patient-centred care, diversity, equality and inclusion, and sustainable development of services and processes. Gemma’s role also focuses on research and evaluation, with particular interests in child and adolescent mental health and public access and usage of urgent and emergency care services, with particular focus on vulnerable groups.   

Prior to her recent academic posts at the University of Southampton, Gemma held research and policy positions in UK Parliament, Think Tanks, and European lobby organisations respectively. Working in research roles for Government and Shadow Ministers, as well as previous work with vulnerable groups, she uses these institutional and front-line experiences to identify practical policy-based solutions to public policy issues.

Gemma is passionate about ensuring peoples’ voices are heard and included in research design, outputs and policy development. She is a keen advocate of ‘citizens panels’, which she has used in NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) funded programmes to ensure public and patient voices are central to research projects and outputs.

She tweets as @dr_mckenna