The Association for Medical Humanities Council is a small, elected group who represent the interests of the Association’s members in developing the medical humanities culture in the UK and internationally. The membership and functions of the Council are set out in the AMH CONSTITUTION. Council meets four times a year including the Annual General Meeting at the Annual Conference. We encourage members to seek admission to Council as and when membership posts arise.


Dr Joseph O’Dwyer (President 2016-19 and Acting Treasurer 2016-17)

Joe has worked as a doctor in the NHS for over 30 years. He has always had an interest in medical ethics; becoming a consultant in anaesthesia and pain management stimulated a broader interest in medical humanities and the impact that engagement with the arts might have on the pain experience.   In 2008 he joined the Association for Medical Humanities and in 2012 completed a MA in Medical Humanities at Swansea University. Joe served as the Treasurer of the AMH from 2010-2016 and became President in July 2016 at the AGM in Greenwich. His focus as president will be to strengthen the core structure of the AMH and to increase its value to members.

Vice President 

Dr Jennifer Patterson (Vice President (2016-19) and Membership Secretary (2013 – ) Conference Convenor, Greenwich 2016)

Jennifer-Patterson-2Jennifer is a Senior Lecturer currently working in the Faculty of Education and Health at the University of Greenwich and a practicing Complementary Therapist of over 15 years. She has served as membership secretary of the AMH since 2013. A feminist critical theorist, her doctoral research background is in radical embodied readings of 20th Century French theory, literature and Art History. She believes focused study in Humanities fires creative imagination through encounters with others and with other ways of thinking and being and refines ethical practices in patient and therapeutic relationships. She is also principal investigator for the Listening to Patients’ Project and the Natural Learning and Environments Centre. She has been a visiting lecturer on the interdisciplinary MA in Women’s Studies at Ruskin College, Oxford.

She is particularly interested in the use of narrative, both diagnostically and as a new paradigm, a discursive diagnostic method that focuses on the medium of communication rather than a repositioning of hierarchies or ontologies as a means of developing greater equity within research methods and practices.

Secretary (2016-19)

Linda Turner Conference Convenor (Southampton, 2014)

image010Linda is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton with a MA(Ed) in Literature and Language in Education. She introduced Medical Humanities into year 1 of the BM curriculum in 2008 as a mandatory module and leads an interdisciplinary staff group that teaches options in art, drama, music, creative writing, film and cultural studies to medical students. She has 25 years’ experience of innovative curriculum design and delivery in further and higher education and her own speciality is literature and narrative in medicine. She has presented papers nationally and internationally on curriculum delivery, teaching and learning and Medical Humanities and has supervised research projects in these areas.

Linda organised and hosted the AMH 2014 conference, ‘The Art of Compassion’, at Southampton and has co-curated two Medical Humanities exhibitions (2011 & 2014) at the Hartley Level 4 Gallery, Southampton, featuring work created by students and artists exploring experiences of health and illness.

Membership Secretary (2016 – Present)

Dr Angela Hodgson-Teal  (2016-19)

Angela is an artist and researcher at the University of the Arts London, where she is in the final stages of a collaborative, socially engaged doctoral study Drawing on the Nature of Empathy.

Her research focused on the benefits (and complications) of drawing within a multi-ethnic series of hospital communities in South East London, where she was a consultant microbiologist and college tutor for many years. Drawing was used to touch the craft skills of medicine, explore emotions and thoughts, referencing the work of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, in the late 1960s and 70s.  Special study modules in Medical Humanities, with final year medical students, fed into the research.

Hon Treasurer (2017-20)

Dr Michael Van Dessel



Lloyd Houston (Humanities Student Representative, AMH blog editor)   (2016-19)

Lloyd Houston

Lloyd is a doctoral student at the University of Oxford where he holds the Hertford College – Faculty of English DPhil Scholarship in Irish Literature in English. His thesis explores the political and aesthetic roles venereal disease and discourses of sexual health played in the emergence of Irish modernism. His work has appeared in the Review of English Studies, The Library, and the Bodleian Library Record. Lloyd edits the AMH Blog and convenes the University of Oxford Graduate Literature Work in Progress Seminar. Follow him on Twitter, check out his Academia page, or visit his Website.

Dr Lisetta Lovett (2013-19) Current Conference Convenor (Keele, 2017)

Photo%20on%2012-16-13%20at%2012.06%20PM%20#2-2Lisetta was a Consultant psychiatrist for 20 years before her recent retirement from the Health service and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education for 10 years at Keele Medical School. She is now an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities at Keele University. At the medical school she introduced medical humanities into the undergraduate curriculum and built up a range of topics for Special Study modules. Her research interest is history of medicine on which she co -authored a book designed to help busy tutors introduce history into their specialist area (Medical History Education for Health Practitioners, Lovett, L. and Tomkins, A. Radcliffe 2013).

She has also published on the asylum keeper Thomas Bakewell, written a chapter on the neuro-novel (The Syndrome Syndrome, ed. Lustig, T.J. and Peacock, J. Routledge 2013) and coauthored a book on medical ethics (Practical Medical Ethics. Seedhouse, D. and Lovett L.J. Wiley 1991). She holds a Diploma in History of Medicine and is a Fellow of the Faculty of History and Philosophy of Medicine, Society of Apothecaries . She is currently researching a book on medical practice in the 18th century.


Dr Deborah Padfield (2016-19)

Deborah is a visual artist specialising in lens based media and inter-disciplinary practice and research within Fine Art and Medicine.  She is currently a Teaching Fellow and Honorary Research Associate at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL (where she also received her PhD). She has collaborated extensively with clinicians and patients exploring the value of visual images to clinician-patient interactions and the communication of pain.

Her recent collaboration with Professor Joanna Zakrzewska and facial pain clinicians and patients from UCLH led to several exhibitions, symposia and the current UCL CHIRP funded project Pain: speaking the threshold. She lectures and exhibits nationally and internationally, most recently at the Houston Center for Photography and the 16th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Hong Kong. She co-organised the Encountering Pain Conference at University College London (UCL) in July 2016 and is the recipient of a number of awards including: Sciart Research Award and the UCL Provosts Award for Public Engagement 2012.
Photo  © Liz Treacher

Prof Zoe Playdon (2016-2019)

Zoe is Emeritus Professor in Medical Humanities at the University of London. She is the former head of postgraduate medical education at NHS Regional  Deanery for Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Zoë acts as a mentor and consultant on ethical innovation for medicine, universities, and for the NHS, focusing on creative partnerships from innovation to implementation.

Dr Vassilka Nikolova International member  (2017-20)

Medical Student Representatives 

Corinne Dignan  (2016-19)
Eleanor Wilson   (2017-20)

Council Members 

Dr Ciara Breathnach  (2017-20)

Dr Bridget MacDonald  (2017-20)

Dr Bob Whalley  (2017-20)

Past President (2013-2016)

Professor Alan Bleakley ( Conference Convenor, Dartington 2015)

Alan BleakleyAlan is Emeritus Professor of Medical Education and Medical Humanities Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, and Visiting Scholar The Wilson Centre University of Toronto. He first studied Zoology and Physiology and Biochemistry, then Psychology and Education – also training as a psychotherapist and gaining his DPhil from Sussex University. He has worked clinically as a psychotherapist and has become a leading figure in medical education and medical humanities internationally.

His published work includes many articles and book chapters in medical education and medical humanities and ten books, most recently Patient-centred Medicine in Transition: The Heart of the Matter (2014, Springer) that was shortlisted and won ‘highly commended’ in the British Medical Association’s (BMA) ‘Books of the Year 2014′. Alan is a widely published poet and a keen surfer, now in his 51st year of surfing. His new book on the medical humanities is Medical Humanities and Medical Education: How The Medical Humanities Can Shape Better Doctors (2015) London: Routledge.





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