Following the publication of “Women in Academic Medicine” by the BMA (2008), Una took a lead role in a Women in Academic Medicine (WAMs) Steering Group established in MDS, subsequently becoming the group’s Chair. Their programme includes workshops tailored to the needs of female academics, a College wide mentoring scheme and events and networking opportunities. More systemic barriers have also been addressed and she has been successful in raising issues and proposing solutions at senior levels: a scheme to “buy out” teaching or administration for those returning from maternity/adoption leave so individuals can focus on their research is now University policy; WAMs is currently piloting a scheme which nominates MDS Leads to advise individuals about promotions and to give support where funding for maternity leave is complex.
Una has been an effective advocate for Athena SWAN at Birmingham. She led the MDS self-assessment team (SAT) which achieved a College, first Silver Award in 2014 and also Chair’s the University’s SAT. Una has ensured the lessons learnt and best practices from MDS have been disseminated across STEMM disciplines and has actively supported Schools to achieve awards to date. The Athena SWAN work has had a wider impact across the University, which in 2014, launched an initiative “Advancing Equality in Employment” (AEiE) to address barriers across all strands of equality. As a member of the Steering Group, her experience of diversity issues and pro-active approach were instrumental in the success of AEiE (which won the first ever Personnel Today HR Award for Equality and Inclusion).
Following the AEiE the University established a DPVC role for Equalities to build on progress. Since successfully applying for this role in September 2015 Una has overseen the development of a new Equality Scheme for 2016-2020, encouraging all students and staff to identify ‘one key change’ they would like to see; she made a successful case to the University Board for significant additional funding and champions wider equalities, for example by hosting a Stonewall Allies workshop at the University in May.
Programme Director of the NIHR/WTCRF
Una was Programme Director of the NIHR/WTCRF, a partnership between the University of Birmingham and University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust from 2011-2015. This is a key strategic role for the delivery of Clinical Research in the College of MDS.