Carol Komaromy is a medical sociologist who has worked as a full-time academic at the Open University since 1994 and is now a visiting research associate. Prior to this, she worked in health care, midwifery and counselling. Since moving from practice to academia, Carol has been involved in research and teaching in end-of-life and palliative care. She has also worked as media fellow and is currently co-editor of the international journal, Mortality, and vice president of the Association of Death and Society. She is committed to the belief that sociological research should make a difference to the experience of service users and providers. With Jenny Hockey and Kate Woodthorpe, she is co-editor of The Matter of Death: Space, Place and Materiality (Palgrave, 2010), and with Sarah Earle and Linda Layne, she co-edited Understanding Reproductive Loss (Ashgate, 2012).
Sue Ledger is a researcher with the Faculty of Health & Social Care at the Open University. Her interests include life-story methods, consent, inclusive research, health-care improvement and the involvement of people with high support needs in research. Sue published, peer-reviewed and presented with people with learning disabilities on a range of issues. Most recently she has co-edited a book entitled Sexuality and Relationships in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities: Standing in My Shoes (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015).
Gayle Letherby is honorary professor of sociology at Plymouth University and combines freelance academic activities with work as a civil celebrant. Her academic research and writing interests embrace all things methodological (including feminist, auto/biographical and creative approaches); reproductive and non/parental identities; gender, health and well-being; loss and bereavement; travel and transport mobility and working and learning in higher education. Her most recent publications include An Introduction to Gender: Social Science Perspectives (revised 2nd edn, Routledge, 2014), with Jennifer Marchbank, and ‘Gendered Methodology’, in Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies (4th edn, Palgrave, 2015), edited by Victoria Robinson and Diane Richardson.
Paula McGee is emeritus professor of nursing in the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at Birmingham City University. Her main interests are in nursing practice and in the impact of race, culture and diversity on care. She has published widely on both subjects. In 2005 she was awarded the title of Transcultural Nursing Scholar in recognition of her work, the first nurse in the UK to receive this award. She has launched and edited several international professional journals, including British Journal of Nursing and Diversity and Equality in Health and Care, and has acted as guest editor for other publications. She is currently associate editor of the Journal of Transcultural Nursing.
Catherine Needham is a reader in public policy and public management at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham. Her areas of special interest include: reform of public services through co-production and personalization; public-sector workforce change; and individualized budgets within public services. Her most recent book was published by the Policy Press in 2014, entitled Debates in Personalization.
Lindy Shufflebotham has worked for the past twenty-five years in both statutory and voluntary sectors, in the provision of support to people with learning disabilities. Particular areas of interest include: access to ordinary housing, user involvement in organizational strategy and governance arrangements and the role and contribution of community organizations in enabling improved health care.
Kate Thomson has been teaching health policy and sociology at Birmingham City University since 2004, where she has gained substantial experience in curriculum development and in teaching health practitioners at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is currently director of postgraduate research degrees in health. Her research interests centre on health and social policy, with a particular focus on international and cross-cultural comparisons (particularly in relation to Russia and Eastern Europe), and on the wider politics of health.
Jan Walmsley is an independent researcher and teacher with honorary chairs at both the Open University and London South Bank University. She is a fellow of the National Institute of Health Research’s School of Social Care Research, and on the editorial board of two leading disability journals, Disability and Society and the British Journal of Learning Disabilities. She has practised and written extensively about ‘inclusive research’, working and publishing alongside intellectually disabled researchers.