About us

The Dipex Charity is an independent registered charity. CEO Adam Barnett leads the charity and a board of trustees oversees our work. We work directly with academic partners around the world, to develop qualitative research outputs for public benefit, and support the research process.

We are perhaps best known for our website healthtalk.org (formerly healthtalkonline). But we are also involved in  running several sister sites including our own socialcaretalk.org and our counterparts’ websites in the US and Netherlands. Through these websites, we reach millions of people each year. We also provide support for data collection, in the form of websites, apps and online focus groups.

If you have an interest in disseminating your research to a wider audience, or in talking about how we can support your research, please get in touch with us.

Our Story

Ann McPherson and Andrew Herxheimer

The Dipex Charity was founded in 2001 by the late Drs Ann McPherson and Andrew Herxheimer. Their inspiration came from their own health issues. Though both had medical backgrounds, they wanted to learn about their illness from the stories of other people. So the pair built a resource to fill that gap.

They set up a steering group to decide how to go about it, meeting around Ann’s kitchen table. At the time, many UK homes were yet to have internet access. Looking to the future though, they decided to start a website and fill it with videos.

The original site was “The Database of Individual Patient Experiences” or DIPEx. Now it’s called healthtalk.org but the charity still goes by the name Dipex.

The research

The steering group agreed that qualitative research methods were the best way to gather and analyse these stories. Alongside the charity, they founded The Health Experiences Research Group  based at Oxford University. Though the partnership is non-exclusive, we have worked together on more than 100 projects over the course of more than two decades.

Those research outputs and more are now available  through our websites healthtalk.org and socialcaretalk.org. Millions visit each year and leave feeling better prepared, informed and less isolated. The lay resources are also used widely in professional training and teaching.

Our Team

Adam Barnett - Chief Executive Officer

Adam Barnett joined Dipex in 2008 from his former position at a web-based, VC-funded company. Since then, he has been involved in the digital dissemination of over 70 research projects and has been a co-applicant on over £3 million pounds worth of research funding. He was appointed CEO in 2018.

Jo Kidd - Communications & Marketing Manager

Jo has been working for Dipex since 2010. She previously worked for charities campaigning on poverty, the environment and human rights, carried out research for campaigns for adults with autism and volunteered with VSO in Lahore, Pakistan.

Tracy Noble - Administrator

Tracy is an experienced office manager/administrator with a progressive career record that has embraced general, sales office and HR management in a broad range of high-technology, consumer, business and industrial sectors. She has worked in large multi-national corporations, medium size blue-chip organisations and VC-funded start-ups.

Trustee Board

Professor Sean Hilton - Chair

Prof. Hilton has been Chair of the charity since December 2016. He is a medical educator and academic general practitioner. He is Emeritus Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at St. George’s, University of London and Professor of Medical Education at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus.

John Marsden - Treasurer/Secretary

Prof. Fiona Stevenson

Fiona is a Professor of Medical Sociology and currently Head of Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health at University College London.  Her first degree was in sociology and her PhD in medical sociology.  Her research primarily focuses on communication between health care professionals and patients and she has a particular interest in patient and public involvement and engagement in research.

Bob Gann

Bob is a consultant in digital health, with a particular interest in bridging the digital divide and ensuring nobody is left behind in the digital revolution. He has carried out recent projects on digital inclusion for NHS Digital, Public Health England and Digital Communities Wales. He worked for several years on the NHS website NHS.UK as strategy and engagement director. He is Visiting Professor in Health Informatics at Plymouth University.

Dr. Tess McPherson

Dr Tess McPherson is a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Dermatologist at Oxford University Hospitals. She is an elected member of the British Society of Paediatric Dermatology. Tess has previously worked in the U.S., South America and for the WHO in Guyana. Dr McPherson has an interest in patient involvement in education and uses patient experiences to support patients and inform best practice. She was the lead clinician on the healthtalk.org project young people with skin conditions.

Andrew Rein

Liz Miller

Special Advisory Panel

Magali Redding

Magali Redding is the founder and CEO of Eczema Outreach Support, a registered charity she set up after experiencing the impact of her daughter’s eczema. The charity now offers practical and emotional support to over 2,000 children/adolescents with eczema and their families across the UK.

Ross Jackson

Ross specialises in digital marketing with a particular focus on the healthcare and clinical research. He is a Trustee of the human rights charity, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Carolyn May

Carolyn has a degree in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University. She is Head of the Non-Executive Talent and Appointments Team, overseeing a team supporting appointments of Chairs and NEDs to NHS trusts and building an increasingly diverse talent pipeline towards these roles.