These are the stars responsible for leading the young people's mental health reseach unit.  

They meet regularly to share skills, knowledge and experience to make sure the unit grows from strength to strength.

Click on their names to find out about our backgrounds and areas of interest, in their own words:

Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan

Dr Prathiba.jpgConsultant child and adolescent psychiatrist for Pennine Care; associate national clinical director for children and young people’s mental health for NHS England.

Brief background

I graduated in medicine from The University of Manchester before completing my MD (this stands for doctor of medicine and is a higher level degree).  This inspired my interest in the needs of children and young people who are in contact with the criminal justice system.

I am currently a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry and work in our community Stockport Healthy Young Minds Service. 

I was a lead consultant for our Trust from 2005 until 2015, at which point I became clinical director. 

I hold a national role with NHS England as associate national clinical director for children and young people's mental health.   

Over the last 12 years I have published articles in a range of journals and books. I have also contributed to national reports, guidance and tools for the Department of Health, Youth Justice Board and Office of the Children’s Commissioner. 

Areas of interest

I have a particular interest in young people with a neurodisability (i.e. issues associated with the nervous system, such as cerebral palsy, autism or epilepsy) and those who have been exposed to traumatic events. I'm also interested in developing models of effective service delivery.

Why research is important

Children and young people’s mental health is a priority area nationally and locally. There are significant opportunities to improve service delivery and outcomes, by supporting evidence-based practice. I am committed to promoting research that improves the quality of care and benefits young people, families and staff.

Dr Bernadka Dubicka

Dr Bernadka.jpgConsultant psychiatrist and research lead for Pennine Care; honorary reader for The University of Manchester; chair, faculty of child and adolescent psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Background

I qualified in medicine and psychology at University College London and completed my child psychiatry training in Manchester.

I joined Pennine Care in April 2018 as a consultant psychiatrist. In addition to leading the research unit, I am involved in developing rapid response teams and an admissions assessment centre covering Greater Manchester.

Previously I was a consultant for a hospital-based child and adolescent mental health service in Lancashire for over 10 years.

In 2015 I was elected as vice-chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' child and adolescent faculty and became chair in June 2017.  As part of my national role, I regularly speak to the media and at national and international events and conferences.

I have been a principle investigator in one of the largest adolescent depression treatment trials to date (IMPACT) and previously the ADAPT trial. 

I am a member of the National Institute of Health Research, editor of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Journal and I contribute to NICE guidance.

I am a clinical advisor for the North West Strategic Clinical Network, where I led a project on admission and self-harm.

Areas of interest

I have interest in bipolar disorder and have conducted a cross-national study in diagnostic differences.  I am also interested in mood disorders and have expertise in clinical trials in this area.

Why research is important

If we want the best outcomes for our children and young people, research is vital to tell us what helps, what does not help and what may even be harmful.

I became involved in research by having an inspiring, enthusiastic role model, Richard Harrington. I hope that through the activities of our research unit we will also inspire other clinicians to become involved in research. Together we can make a real difference.

Dr Samantha Hartley

Dr Samantha Hartley.jpgSenior clinical psychologist for Pennine Care; clinical lecturer with Health Education England and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) integrated clinical academic programme.

Brief background

After completing an undergraduate degree in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, I explored various clinical and research roles. I completed a PhD in clinical psychology and later the clinical psychology doctorate programme.

I spent some time working as a university research assistant, where I gained one-to-one experience of people living with mental health difficulties in the community.

I volunteered in India for three months, working with children with autism spectrum conditions. 

I am a senior clinical psychologist working within our Hope and Horizon units.  I work with a range of other professionals to provide a unique package of care for each young person.

I am also a researcher with The University of Manchester.  My research has previously focused on investigating the experience of psychosis. 

I'm currently delivering a three year research project with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) integrated clinical academic programme.  This allows me to investigate how we can improve therapeutic relationships.

Areas of interest

I have a particular interest in formulation (understanding why things become difficult and what can help), therapeutic relationships, trauma, psychosis, transdiagnostic approaches (models and strategies that apply to varied problem areas) and supporting young people through adolescence. 

Why research is important

Research is the way that we advance our understanding, our practice and our services. I am passionate about research and clinical work informing one another.  I want to implement new knowledge and learn from real lives; working alongside and in collaboration with people who use our services. 

Dr Leo Kroll

Dr Leo Kroll.jpgResearch child psychiatrist for Pennine Care.

Brief background

I first trained as a paediatrician and then as a child psychiatrist, working in Stockport and Salford.

I have been fortunate to work with a number of eminent researchers, not least Dick Harrington who taught me research methodology and the value of research in developing good clinical practice. 

This grounding in research helped me during my clinical career to think carefully about the needs of patients and staff.

I worked with John Stancombe and other colleagues to develop and research an assessment and brief intervention called "2+1".  This is used by a number of clinical teams nationally and we continue to improve and update this assessment.

With the University of Manchester and the Youth Justice Service, we developed interviews to assess the strengths and needs of young people in contact with young offending teams.  We also adapted this interview for use with hospital-based mental health services for children and young people.

Areas of interest

My interests lie broadly in developing patient-centered research and improvement projects. These need to be based on interventions that are likely to work, be brief and are deliverable through partnership working between clinicians, parents, young people and professional networks. 

Why research is important

Research and improvement science keeps your curiosity going and is needed to counter the established status quo! 

Dr John Stancombe

Dr John Stancombe.jpgClinical psychologist for Pennine Care.

Brief background

I trained as a clinical psychologist and spent more  than 30 years working in children and young  people’s mental health services.  I worked in  Stockport and then Trafford, before retiring in  2015. 

Since retirement I have worked part-time on Pennine Care's bank, focusing on a range of quality improvement, training, research and evaluation projects.

I am currently involved in the research and evaluation of the Manchester Resilience Hub. 

During my career I have been committed to making child and adolescent mental health services more efficient, effective, relevant and accessible to families.

I have completed training in family therapy and a discourse analytic PhD on how therapists and families manage moral judgement and decision-making in clinical sessions.

I’ve been a long term advocate of the need for different services working together, to deliver the very best care.

Areas of interest

I am particularly interested in the study of talking in therapy sessions and other qualitative methods, consultation and brief intervention, evaluation of early intervention and prevention services and how to bring together values and evidence-based practice.

Why research is important

Research is important in order to improve access, outcomes and experience of services for families.  We need to encourage their active involvement in clinical decision-making, service development and quality improvement and promote good values and evidence-based practices.