Our team

Meet the team involved in the interdisciplinary multi-national project, entitled:
'Understanding the varied experiences of frailty in older age with respect to ethnicity: a mixed methods approach'.
This project runs from September 2022 to June 2025, and is funded by UKRI ESRC.

Investigators are drawn from the fields of sociology, clinical medicine, EDI, GP education, public health and philosophy,
with third sector partners including Age UK Leicester and the Race Equality Centre, Leicester, where the fieldwork will take place.

Professor Susan Pickard
Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department for Sociology, Social Policy, and Criminology in the School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool. 

Susan is the Principal Investigator for the project and has spent over two decades researching ageing and the society. Susan’s past and ongoing research interests are centred upon lay and medical conceptualisations of the ageing body, especially frailty, gender, and its intersection with age, age theory, gender (and feminist) theory, and time and temporality. 

Further details of her work can be found at: Susan Pickard – University of Liverpool

Professor Jay Banerjee
Professor in Emergency Care and Academic Champion in Clinical Leadership, University of Leicester.

Jay is an Emergency Physician at the University Hospitals of Leicester with special interest in caring for older people, and an Honorary Professor in Emergency Care and Academic Champion in Clinical Leadership, University of Leicester. 


Further details of his work can be found at: Dr Jay Banerjee – The Health Foundation

Professor Simon Conroy
Consultant in Geriatric Medicine, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, University College London.

Simon is an Honorary Professor of Geriatric Medicine in the MRC Lifelong Health and Ageing Unit at UCL. His research improves outcomes for older people living with frailty by embedding evidence-based medicine into clinical practice. 


Further details of his work can be found at: Iris View Profile (ucl.ac.uk)

Professor Surinder Sharma
National Director, Equality and Human Rights at UK Department of Health.


Surinder is the Co-Founder and Co-Director for the Centre for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) and School of Media, Communication, and Sociology at the University of Leicester. He was appointed as the first National Director for Equality and Human Rights at the Department of Health, and has over 40-years experience in achieving cultural organisational change and championing equality, fairness, diversity, and inclusion. Surinder also serves as a Trustee on the Boards of various charities, including, Leicester Race Equality Centre. 


Further details of his work can be found at: Professor Surinder Sharma Deputy Lieutenant (leicestershire.gov.uk)


Dr Victoria Cluley
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Nottingham.

Victoria’s research interest is sociology of health and illness with a particular focus on health and illness experiences, ageing, chronic illness, and disability. 

Victoria previously worked on the ‘Understanding Frailty’ project and has published papers using sociological perspectives to progress the understanding of frailty.  

Dr Bram Vanhoutte

Associate Professor of Public Health, Free University of Brussels.

Bram is an empirical quantitative sociologist, researching the heterogeneous experiences in ageing from an interdisciplinary perspective, bridging psychological, sociological, and medical perspectives. 

Further details of his work can be found at: Bram Vanhoutte – University of Liverpool

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Dr Christopher Williams
Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester.


Further details of his work can be found at: Christopher Williams’s research works | University of Leicester, Leicester (LE) and other places (researchgate.net)

Dr Hanne Laceulle
Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Life Course and Art of Living, University of Humanistic Studies. 

Hanne’s research interest broadly includes ethics, ageing, and identity, addressing topics such as self-realisation, narrative and moral identity, moral agency, autonomy, authenticity, virtue, dignity, and meaning in life. 

Further details of her work can be found at: Search employees – University of Humanistic Studies (uvh.nl)

Dr Upanish Oli
Research Assistant, Department for Sociology, Social Policy, and Criminology, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool.


Upanish is a clinician with a specialisation in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is passionate about teaching and has some years of experience as a Lecturer in a Medical School in Nepal.

His areas of interest in research are reproductive health, injury, and health and well-being of the elderly. Upanish has conducted clinical and community-based research projects and published them in peer-reviewed journals.

Gifty Thomas-Ekweh
Research Assistant, Department of Sociology, Social Policy, and Criminology, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool.


Gifty has immense experience working with ethnic minority individuals and groups in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. She worked for the United Nations for over a decade, serving in various international criminal tribunals. Gifty is a legal advisor currently employed by The Race Equality Centre (TREC) as a Race Discrimination Caseworker, and community development worker, jointly overseeing the management of the Racial Minority Voluntary Sector Assembly.


She also works closely with TREC’s CEO, Dr Iris Lightfoote, delivering training in line with the oganisation’s mandate of promoting a just and equitable society by empowering individuals to challenge inequalities.
Gifty is interested in further professional development in research and intends to pursue a PhD.

Dr Iris Lightfoote
Chief Executive Officer, The Race Equality Centre in Leicester and Leicestershire.


Iris has been The Race Equality Centre’s CEO for over twenty years. The Race Equality Centre’s mission is to challenge racial discrimination, promote the benefits of a racially just society, and empower individuals and communities affected by racial disadvantage to join us in challenging inequalities. 


Further information on The Race Equality Centre can be found at: The Race Equality Centre (trec.org.uk)

Anthony Donovan
Executive Director, Age UK Leicester, Shire, and Rutland.



Anthony has been Age UK’s Executive Director for over thirty years. His many years of experience have greatly assisted in the charity becoming the largest and one of the most respected Age UK’s in the country, providing probably the most diverse range of any Age UK organisation.


Age UK works to enhance the quality of life of older people, through health, social care, housing support, and a whole range of services that can assist the older person and any carers involved. 


Further information on Anthony and Age UK (Leicester, Shire, and Rutland) can be found at: Senior Management | Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland