Opportunities CommitteeWe are a representative team of 9 women and 4 men from all departments aiming to improve culture and organisation to benefit everyone through our Athena SWAN action plan. 

The Athena project is a powerful driver to make changes that should benefit everybody, not just women. We meet every 1 to 2 months to drive our School of Public Health Athena SWAN Action Plan 2013-2016 (Word). Our activities include:

Data monitoring and consultations

Since 2010 we have monitored and reviewed academic career pathways for women including appointments and promotion. We report monthly to the School Executive Committee to leverage change across the School Management Group to leverage change across the School. Data collection and review is on-going but we publish our metrics annually. In May 2013, we ran 8 workshops asking the views of over 75 staff and students on how to improve working practices and career opportunities in the School (read the Staff & Student Consultation Report May 2013). We now propose to take this further in forthcoming Campus visits to encourage open discussion of how to progress these ideas for change. In July 2013, we conducted a face-to-face questionnaire study asking 15 staff about parental leave experiences (read the Parental Voices Report July 2013). These assessments have helped us to develop the next steps for our new Athena SWAN Action Plan for the next 3 years and beyond.

Improving career development, communication and culture

We have made our activities more transparent and widened communications through our webpages; termly newsletters and through events aimed at celebrating achievement and developing staff and students, for example we held our inaugural annual School of Public Health Showcase event in May 2013. We have increased the visibility of female role models across the School. This year we invited Dr Fiona Godlee to give the annual Athena SWAN Lecture and we hold annual family-friendly events that have included trips to the Natural History Museum, London Zoo, London Aquarium, Kew Gardens and HMS Belfast.

We aim to attract women to the School and to help them develop their potential as academics and provide support and training to encourage fair practice and actively plan for promotion through appraisal. From July to October 2013 we arranged 4 bespoke Equality and Appraisal training events for all staff who line manage and again in February 2016 for all academic staff. We provide funding support and fellowships for women going on maternity leave and celebrate success of women in the School.

Committee Members

Co-Chair | Dr Steven Riley

Steven Riley Steven Riley is Reader in the Ecology and Epidemiology of Infectious Disease in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. He sometimes manages to balance the demands of scientific discovery and teaching with a two-career marriage and three young daughters.

Co-Chair | Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki

Ioanna Tzoulaki Ioanna is a lecturer at the Department or Epidemiology and Public Health with a research focus on cardiovascular epidemiology and teaches on the MSc Epidemiology. She is a committed member of the Opportunities Committee leading a novel investigation into gender equality by researcher merit. She immensely enjoys dual roles as academic and being mother to a toddler.

School Lead | Ms Sapna Halder

Sapna Halder Sapna Halder is Deputy Manager at the School of Public Health. She has been an active member of the Opportunities Committee and contributed to the last Athena SWAN submission that resulted in a Silver award. Her work in implementing the action plan ranges from organising family friendly events, Athena SWAN annual lectures, data collection and maintaining the website.

Mr Rob Bell

Rob Bell Rob is the Athena SWAN Coordinator for Imperial College. He has provided support to departments on their Athena SWAN submissions since October 2011 including data collection and analysis and advice on best practice.

Professor Christl Donnelly

Christl Donnelly Christl is a Professor of Statistical Epidemiology at the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling within the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. She has two young sons who brought a welcome balance to her work-focused life.

Professor Majid Ezzati

Professor Majid Ezzati Majid is a Professor of Global Environmental Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and at the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health. He is also the Director of the Imperial College Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research.  He tries, with moderate to good success, to tell his trainees that it is possible to balance academic careers and personal life, and encourage them to pursue careers in research. Being in a two-academic-career family with a young daughter, he does so using personal experiences.

Dr Sondus Hassounah

Dr Sondus Hassounah Sondus is as research assistant in the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at the Department of Primary Care and Public Health. She is actively involved in health system strengthening research, assessing and building health leadership capacity with particular focus on low-middle income countries, health systems in transition and post conflict countries. Sondus joined the Opportunities Committee in 2014 and will be contributing to improving student career opportunities as well the wider objective of Athena SWAN.

Professor Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin

Professor Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin Marjo-Riitta has a Chair in Life course Epidemiology leading a research programme in population-based genetics studies. She is Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Public Health and has a keen interest in supporting female career development in academia and has recently reformed teaching within the School.

Ms Gale Lewis

Ms Gale Lewis Gale has enjoyed working at Imperial College since 1994 as a PA to various Heads of Departments, which has given her unique insights and connections that greatly assist the Athena SWAN Committee. She has led on organisation of events and led research into parental experiences of staff and students across the School.

Dr Lucy Okell

Ms Lucy Okell Lucy is a Lecturer and Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology working on the mathematical modelling of malaria. She joined the Opportunities Committee in 2015 and looks forward to contributing to their work. She works part time having taken maternity leave in 2014, and thoroughly enjoys being able to continue her academic career while also spending time with her young daughter.

Dr Inga Prokopenko

Dr Inga Prokopenko Inga is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Genomics of Common Disease. She has contributed to the Athena SWAN programme through the Opportunities Committee and as deputy head of her unit has taken the lead on reforming working practices.

Professor Elio Riboli

Elio Riboli Elio is Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Head of Imperial School of Public Health. In the 20 years at WHO and now in the UK he has actively promoted equal opportunities across different genders and ethnicities, both in academia and society. Father of two he has faced the challenge of combining work with family life and child care.

Dr Sonia Saxena

Dr Sonia Saxena Sonia is a Clinical Reader and leads the Child Health Unit at the Deptartment of Primary care and Public Health researching child and maternal health inequalities. She chairs the Opportunities Committee at the School of Public Health and led on the strategy for change. She juggles academic and clinical work as a GP with raising two teenagers independent in a household where both parents work.