About us

About us

The Dipex Charity is an independent registered charity. We are led by our CEO Adam Barnett and overseen by a board of trustees.

Working with academic researchers around the world, we support research and develop research outputs for public benefit.

We are perhaps best known for our website healthtalk.org (formerly healthtalkonline) but we are also involved in the running of several sister sites to healthtalk.org. This includes our own socialcaretalk.org (coming soon) as well as the websites of our counterparts in the US and Netherlands.

In addition to developing lay video and audio outputs from research, we also provide support to research in the form of websites, apps and online focus groups.

Find out more about working with us.

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Our Story

Ann McPherson and Andrew Herxheimer

We were founded in 2001 by the late Drs Ann McPherson and Andrew Herxheimer. After their own experiences, they wanted to help patients know what to expect when they faced a health condition.

Ann and Andrew wanted to learn from the stories of other people who had been in the same position as them. They wanted to make sure that these stories were balanced and reliable. So they started to interview people and use qualitative research methods to analyse what people said. To share the interviews with the world, they filmed the interviews and put video clips on a website. The site that they started was originally called “Database of Individual Patient Experiences” or DIPEx. Now it’s called healthtalk.org but the charity still goes by the name Dipex.

Research outputs on more than 100 health issues are now available to the public though healthtalk.org. Millions visit the website each year in order to find out more about their health. When they leave, they feel better prepared, informed and less isolated. The lay resources on healthtalk.org 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.

Mike Russell - Treasurer

Mike is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants, having qualified as an Accountant in 1979. For over 20 years, Mike held various financial and general management roles within Oxford Instruments Plc. He was a Non-Executive Director in the NHS in Oxfordshire for 14 years. Mike was the Finance Director of the Zoological Society of London from 2006 until his retirement in 2014.

Pauline Droop - Secretary

Pauline is a solicitor who worked for 15 years for the Citizens Advice Bureau, initially as a generalist but ultimately developing an employment law specialism. She then moved into private practice, becoming a partner in the employment department of Russell-Cooke LLP. She has now retired but continues as a Consultant. Pauline is an Honorary Solicitor to West London Action for Children, a charity providing counselling and support to disadvantaged children and their parents and/or carers in west London.

Bob Gann - Trustee

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.

John Marsden - Trustee

Dr. Tess McPherson - Trustee

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 studied medicine at Cambridge University and the Imperial College School of Medicine and completed her specialist dermatology training at Oxford University. She 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 our healthtalk.org resource for young people with skin conditions.

Liz Miller - Trustee

Andrew Rein - Trustee

Prof. Fiona Stevenson - Trustee

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.

Special Advisory Panel

Magali Redding

Magali Redding is the founder and CEO of Eczema Outreach Support, a registered charity she set up in Scotland in 2011 after experiencing first-hand the impact of her daughter’s eczema on life. The charity now offers practical and emotional support to over 2,000 children/adolescents with eczema and their families across the UK through a range of free services led by 7 staff and 10 sessional workers. Prior to leading EOS, Magali had over 10 years’ experience in both private and voluntary organisations, eventually specialising in charity projects that fulfil her passion for family support, health improvement and community action. In her free time, Magali is a busy mum of 3 daughters who loves playing squash and going on long walks with the family’s 2 dogs.

Ross Jackson

Ross has been specialising in digital marketing since the late 1990s, with a particular focus on the healthcare and clinical research categories since 2015. He primarily focuses on Facebook Ads as he suggests they are the most effective form of advertising he's ever been involved with - especially in the healthcare and medical fields. He is a Trustee of the human rights charity, the Peter Tatchell Foundation. And is delighted to be able to provide Dipex with relevant assistance as required.

Carolyn May

Carolyn has a degree in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University. She initially qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, worked briefly in consultancy at IBM, before moving to Singapore to work in financial services. She was then one of the first directors of a start-up company in financial spread-betting Spread Co) which she helped to establish and build for 6 years, latterly as FSA-regulated Director of Finance and Director of Marketing. Carolyn was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2006 after many years of health issues which also put paid to what had been a promising career in track and field athletics. Her experience with the NHS during this time led her to change direction so in 2010 she joined Monitor (regulator of NHS foundation trusts) to help support leadership development in executive and non-executive directors across NHS providers. Carolyn’s substantive role since June 2019 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. Carolyn also qualified with Distinction in 2019 as a Nutritional Therapist and is greatly interested in the importance of nutrition, both preventatively and in chronic health conditions. She is also a huge believer in how support from other patients can help with the journey of chronic health conditions, both in terms of emotional support and increasing learning.