Helen Blackman – lead research nurse
Helen is a senior research nurse with over 20 years’ experience in nursing, the last 10 in clinical research. She has worked in a variety of settings, including areas of specialist surgery and sexual health and HIV. More recently, Helen has led on a variety of clinical research studies.
Helen is the lead nurse for the ADVANCE Study, and was responsible for setting up the clinical aspect of the study and the training and management of the clinical team. She is now responsible for the day-to-day clinical management of ADVANCE.
Melanie Chesnokov – senior project manager
Melanie came to the ADVANCE Study in 2017 as a senior project manager from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (King’s College London), having coordinated several studies with the military over the previous years. One of these studies involved screening thousands of military personnel for mental health issues following operational tours to Afghanistan.
After this, Melanie ran a study investigating the impact of having a military father with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on adolescent children’s emotional well-being and behaviour. This tri-service study involved visiting over 100 families in their homes to undertake a variety of interviews and video interactions.
As ADVANCE Study project manager Melanie is responsible for recruitment of participants to the study cohort, leading the clinical and administrative members of the fieldwork team, and fostering links with academic and funding partners of the study.
Daniel Dyball – research assistant
Daniel graduated from University of Kent with a degree in Applied Psychology in 2010. He then spent several years working in clinical mental health fields, ranging from forensic mental health to child and adolescent mental health. His research interests include military, physical and mental health interactions, and mental health stigma.
Daniel started working for King’s Centre for Military Health Research in 2015, where he was involved in a study of mental health in (ex-)serving personnel and help-seeking behaviour / barriers to care. As part of this project, Daniel interviewed over 550 armed forces personnel about their mental health.
Daniel then moved on to join the ADVANCE Study team and to endeavour on a PhD in Psychological Medicine. His work on ADVANCE includes IMPACTS (Interactions between Mental and Physical health Among Combat-injured and non-injured veTerans and serving personnel Study). The study investigates how mental health affects physical health, both negatively and positively.
Sarah Evans – research assistant
Sarah is a research assistant working on the ADVANCE Study. She joined the team in 2017 after completing an MSc in War and Psychiatry at King’s College London. Prior to this Sarah graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Psychology and worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, working on studies looking at parent-child relationships in new family forms. Before starting her masters Sarah was an assistant psychologist at the Evelina London children’s hospital, working as part of a clinical psychology team supporting children, young people and their families.
Sarah is part of a military family and has always been interested in the armed forces. Her research interests include the experiences of service members and their families, as well as mental health and mental health stigma.
Howard Fairey – research nurse
Howard joined the ADVANCE Study team as a clinical research nurse in October 2018. He qualified as a nurse in 2000 and, following this, spent two years working in general medicine before specialising in cardiology. In 2011 Howard commenced with the Clinical Research Network Research Support Team and in that role supported research delivery teams across the East Midlands region.
As ADVANCE Study research nurse Howard’s role involves assisting the study team and supporting the study participants with undertaking clinical assessments and ensuring clear and accurate data capture.
Meliha Kaya-Barge – healthcare assistant
Meliha qualified as a nurse in 2006 from Birmingham City University and currently works as a healthcare assistant in the ADVANCE Study. Originally from Turkey, she has been in the UK since 1999 and is married to a serving soldier in the nursing corps. Together they travel around Europe for her husband’s work.
Urszula Pucilowska – administrator
Urszula joined the ADVANCE team in 2016 following many years working in finance and business administration in the private sector as well as in the NHS.
As ADVANCE Study administrator Urszula is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of effective and professional relationships with stakeholders and participants. As the first point of call when visitors arrive at the ADVANCE office at Stanford Hall or call in, Urszula ensures everyone gets a warm welcome and is fully aware of where they need to be and when.
As well as dealing with participants face-to-face and over the phone and e-mail, Urszula supports the clinical team, helping ensure the smooth and effective running of the Study.
Molly Waldron – research nurse
Molly has been a clinical research nurse since 2013 and has a background in mental health nursing. She has led on several research trials in a variety of settings, including cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and mental health. She started in the ADVANCE Study research team in October 2018 and her main role is to recruit participants to the study and carry out assessments.