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Celebrating women in research in Greater Manchester

Celebrating women in research in Greater Manchester


'I've been surrounded by some truly amazing, hardworking women in research'

Emma Izon and Abigail Brown are both involved in mental health research in Greater Manchester. As part of CRN Greater Manchester's celebration of women in research, Emma and Abigail provide an insight into their roles. 

Emma Izon

Emma is a full-time PhD student in Clinical Psychology and working full-time as an Assistant Research Psychologist for the NHS. 

She has been working at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust's (GMMH) Psychosis Research Unit (PRU) since April 2016 and has been involved in various trials, projects and research throughout her time in the NHS. For three years, she worked on a trial looking at combined individual and family intervention for individuals at high-risk of developing psychosis (IFCBT). Over the past year she has been working on the multi-site gameChange trial that uses virtual reality therapy to help people (with lived experience of psychosis) with self-reported social anxiety. 

Emma is currently in the final year of her PhD at the University of Manchester. Her PhD involves the families and the family environment of individuals at high-risk of developing psychosis. She has had the opportunity to present her research in seminars and conferences in England, America and Holland. She has published papers, led workshops and public engagement events; and continues to promote the findings and implications from her research.

Of working in research, Emma said: “Research in mental health is important as it can increase our understanding and help provide more options and better outcomes for people in the future. Research is more than the statistical findings and effect size at the end of the day.

"It is about the people who take part in the study, those involved in the research and everyone wanting to help and improve outcomes for people in the future. Of course, there are limitations in any trial and study, but without the involvement and motivation of people, we would never be able to advance our understanding and provide different options to adhere to different people’s needs.”

Of being a woman in her field, Emma said: "Psychology is often a female-dominated field and one may expect a competitive and possibly hostile environment, however I have been fortunate enough to work with some inspiring clinical psychologists, mental health researchers and service user researchers who support, encourage and value each other.

"There is an overarching respect and value for every person’s opinion and a common viewpoint that everyone has chosen to work in mental health, in research and in the NHS. Every woman who has chosen the career path has their own experiences and values and wants to provide a high standard of care and promote client treatment choice.” 

Abigail Brown

Abi is a Research Associate at GMMH, based within the Mental Health Research Group at the University of Manchester in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. She is currently working as part the NIHR Greater Manchester ARC Mental Health Theme on a number of projects looking to improve mental health locally, with a particular focus on children and young people.

Abi is passionate about public, mental and global health - particularly from a BAME point of view - and she has previously conducted research on maternal mental healthcare in Ghana.

Of being a a woman in her field, Abi said: "I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by some truly amazing, hardworking women in research, who have been a real inspiration to me. Sometimes it feels like there are so many obstacles and barriers, but when you remember why you’re doing what you are and who it’s for, it’s all worth it!"