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Meet the learning disability team

The team are all learning disability nurses and focus on a range of specialist health areas in their teaching and research activities.

Chris Knifton

SBStJ, MSc, MSc, MA, LLB(Hons), BSc(Hons), FHEA, FAETC, PGCertHE, RNLD, DipSW, Dip Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy

Admiral Nurse and Senior Lecturer in Dementia, Mental Health and Learning Disability

Chris initially trained as a learning disability nurse and then as a social worker before going back into nursing. Chris has personal and family experience of learning disability. His clinical experience includes people with a learning disability with mental health problems as well as older people and people with dementia. Dementia remains Chris’ main interest and he is an Advanced Dementia Care Mapper. Chris was also the first Learning Disability nurse in the UK to become an Admiral Nurse, a post he still holds with the charity Dementia UK. Chris has published widely in both these areas. He remains an active member of the Higher Education Dementia Network (HEDN), and sits on the Expert Advisory group for dementia for Health Education England (HEE). Chris is completing his doctoral thesis (DHSci) on the sociology of dementia.

Jillian Pawlyn 

BA Hons (Luton), MSc PCTHE (OBU,) Associate Teaching Fellow (OBU); RNLD  SCLD  TCH (UK), RN (New Zealand)

Senior Lecturer and Interim Academic Lead - Learning Disabilities

Jillian has a background in Learning/ Intellectual Disabilities Nursing and is an enthusiast and advocate of Technology Enhanced Learning. During her years as a registered nurse Jillian has developed a specialist interest in the health needs of people with a learning/ intellectual disability in particular those individuals who have Profound Intellectual and/or Multiple Disabilities (PIMD/ PMLD). She is a member of both the national and local PMLD Networks. Her areas of teaching include Learning/ Intellectual disabilities; Profound and Multiple Learning/ Intellectual Disabilities; Service User and Carer Engagement; Global Health; Clinical Skills.

Justine Barksby

MSc, BSc (hons), PGCHE, PGcert (management), RNLD, Dip.Nurse, Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Justine’s clinical experience is working with people with learning disabilities who display challenging behaviours. She also has specialist interest in working with people with Autism and Epilepsy. She has published several chapters in academic books/ journals and presented at conferences on Challenging Behavior, Autism and Epilepsy. Her areas of teaching expertise are in the above subjects plus Evidence Based Practice and research. She is also an associate of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities and has undertaken many activities with them include writing a book on Duty of Care.

Justine is currently undertaking a PhD on restrictive physical interventions for the management of challenging behaviours.

Raghu Raghavan

PhD (OBU), PGCE (University of Wolverhampton), MSc. in Medical Psychology (University of Surrey), BA in Psychology (University of Kerala, India), RNLD

Mental Health and Disability: Group Lead 

Research interests/expertise: Intellectual Disability and mental health; User and family carer perspectives; Resilience; User journeys through health and social care services; Cultural diversity, ethnicity and access to services; Assistive technology; Psychosocial interventions; Service evaluation.

Jackie Ellison

Kathleen Dabbs

Richard Postance

Tony Gregory

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