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Diabetes UK Board of Trustees

Dr Carol Homden CBE (Chair)

Photo of Dr Carol Homden

Carol took up the post of Chair on 1 January 2022. She has been Group Chief Executive of the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, the world’s oldest children’s charity, since April 2007 and has built the Coram group of children’s charities, quadrupling its turnover, and regenerated its historic campus.

Carol has led the organisation in achieving Investors In People Gold status and in developing the group’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion plan, identifying the need for culturally sensitive approaches to the different ways in which families and individuals face barriers to inclusion.

Before joining Coram, with a background as a journalist and in communications, Carol held senior marketing and public affairs’ roles at a number of organisations including The British Museum and the University of Westminster.

Carol is committed to enabling people living with conditions or disabilities to live well and increasing public understanding of them, serving as a charity trustee including ten years as Chair of the National Autistic Society. 


Janice Watson (Vice-Chair)

Janice Watson

Janice became a Trustee of Diabetes UK in January 2015. She first became involved with Diabetes UK when her son developed type 1 diabetes in 2010. Her father-in-law also has type 2 diabetes, giving her personal experience of the challenges of managing both conditions in day to day life.

Janice brings considerable senior financial experience to her role as Trustee. She is a professional treasurer, with over 25 years’ experience in this field, and is currently employed in the financial services sector. She has both current and previous experience as a pensions’ Trustee and sat on the Advisory Investment Committee of WHO from 2006 to 2015. Her early working life was spent teaching English in Sudan, the UAE and Egypt.

In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog in the Chilterns, where she now lives, and relaxing through yoga practice.

Ian King (Treasurer)

Ian King

Ian was appointed as a Trustee in July 2017. He is currently Head of Equities for Tesco Pension Investment, which manages the assets of the Tesco plc pension scheme, containing the retirement savings of over 350,000 current and past employees of the company. He has spent a substantial part of his thirty years in investment following the global healthcare sector, covering pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, as well as many other areas of this industry.

Ian was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1995 and has two close family members with Type 2 diabetes. He has supported the charity for many years, raising money through running charity quizzes, running a half marathon and jumping out of an aeroplane. This is in addition to his senior role at Tesco, which has been a significant corporate supporter of Diabetes UK. Ian has a degree in French and Russian from Brasenose College, Oxford and also is a CFA charter holder (Chartered Financial Analyst). In his spare time he enjoys cycling, skiing, watching his sons play rugby and quizzes.

Alexandra Lewis

Alexandra Lewis

Alex was born and brought up in South West London, where she still lives with her husband and two daughters, who are now 15 and 13.  At the age of 18, she was diagnosed with type I diabetes – so has been living with diabetes for all of her adult life. 

Alex qualified as an accountant in the mid-1990s before joining National Grid in 1997.  Since then, she has undertaken various roles within the finance department, including in Treasury, Investor Relations and Insurance, and was appointed Group Treasurer in 2017.  She is now responsible for managing the group’s financing strategy, including managing its £40 billion debt book, and associated financial risks, and is also responsible for Pensions and Insurance for the group. 

Dr Asiya Yunus

Asiya photo

Asiya is an inner city London general practitioner (GP), and a Medical Director at Londonwide Local Medical Committees. 

She has worked at NHS England and UCLPartners, and has high-level experience leading transformation, collaborating with system leaders within the NHS and beyond to make a measurable difference to population health and patient safety. 

Asiya completed her medical degree at Imperial College, and trained as a GP in Bloomsbury.  Asiya has a long-standing interest in health management and leadership; she holds an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Executive Healthcare Leadership, and has completed a Leadership Fellowship at the Kings Fund.

Bob Swindell

Bob Swindell

Robin Swindell, known to his friends as Bob, is an experienced reinsurance practitioner who writes about the mutual insurance sector, reinsurance, running and diabetes.

He was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes in May 2013, and manages the condition with diet, exercise and oral medication. He is a keen runner, occasional cyclist and can usually be found at Oak Hill parkrun at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning.

He is one of parkrun's Diabetes Champions and joined the board in July 2017.

He tweets as @fractis.


Helen McCallum

Helen McCallum

Helen retired as Director General of Consumers International in December 2013. Her role involved lobbying for consumer rights at international level and helping to build consumer protection in parts of the world where it is weak.

She spent the majority of her previous career in senior roles which involved helping large organisations to understand and meet the needs of their users and customers. She was Head of Communications for the NHS for five years before being appointed the first Director of Communications for the Department of Health in 1999. From there she spent seven years as Director of Corporate Affairs for the UK Environment Agency.

Helen brings considerable experience of campaigning on health and related issues, of listening and responding to the public, and a knowledge of the charity sector. She was a trustee of Keep Britain Tidy for six years from 2005–10, and is now also a trustee of "Arts and Minds", a charity based in Cambridgeshire devoted to providing arts services for people with mental health problems.

Helen lives in Cambridge – she is an amateur actor and director, helps to look after her three grandchildren and enjoys walking, swimming and skiing.

Professor Linda Bauld OBE

Linda photo

Linda is a Professor of Public Health in the College of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and Interim Chief Social Policy Adviser to the Scottish Government.  Her research focuses on the prevention of non-communicable diseases, in particular behavioural interventions and policies relating to nicotine and tobacco, alcohol and diet. 

From 2014 until July of this year she combined her academic roles with a secondment to Cancer Research UK as their cancer prevention adviser. She leads two research consortia - the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme involving seven countries in Africa and South Asia, and SPECTRUM, involving ten UK Universities, public health agencies and alliance partners including the Obesity Health Alliance.  

Melanie Stephenson-Gray

Melanie Stephenson-Gray

Melanie Stephenson-Gray has been an ambassador for Diabetes UK and other diabetes charities, such as JDRF and IDF for over a decade. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 13. Not letting her condition stop her, she went on to become an international athlete and an Olympic torch bearer in the London 2012 Games.

Melanie is a qualified NHS dietitian, specialising in diabetes (type 1 and 2) and weight management, bringing a wealth of experience as a global patient representative, diabetes advocate and volunteer. In 2013, Melanie set up the Blue Circle Diabetes peer support group in Cardiff, recognising the importance of improving mental health support for young people with T1D. She is passionate about tackling health inequalities and raising awareness and access to diabetes education, nutrition, sport and technology.

Michael Gibbs

M Gibbs photo

Michael is currently a Director at Different Tracks Global Ltd, a consulting and training company that specialises in healthcare management, leadership development and conflict resolution with a focus on equality and diversity. He travels nationally and internationally, assisting healthcare, civil society and public sector organisations to develop the management and communication skills required to support operational success. 


Dr Sarah Ali

Dr Sarah Ali photo

Sarah read Medicine at the University of Oxford then undertook specialist training in Diabetes in North West London and Imperial College London.  She’s now a Consultant Diabetologist at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and am also the Clinical Leads for the Diabetes Antenatal service and the Barnet Community Diabetes service.

Her interests include integrated community diabetes care, diabetes in pregnancy, health inequalities in minority ethnic communities and diabetes in Ramadan.

Sarah strives to improve outcomes for people living with diabetes, including contributing to the NICE diabetes guidelines update and other diabetes projects, including an NHS England project on the delivery of Diabetes in the PCN.  She is a Trustee for the South Asian Health Foundation, which allows her to help address health inequalities.

Sarah is passionate about both science and the humanities.  She is trilingual and an artist, creating contemporary/ abstract medical art and is working on several art projects to raise health awareness and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Professor Wasim Hanif

Professor Wasim Hanif

Wasim is a Professor of Diabetes & Endocrinology, Consultant Physician, and Clinical Director in Diabetes at University Hospital Birmingham. He is an eminent authority on diabetes, obesity, and ethnic health and works with several national bodies, and professional groups in the UK.

He has been involved with major research projects in diabetes and has published widely. He was selected for Kings Fund Leadership Programme in Diabetes. His research interest includes: diabetic kidney disease, diabetes prevention, management of diabetes in Ramadan, obesity, ethnicity and tackling health inequalities. He is involved as a chief and principal investigator in several international multi-centre trials and was instrumental in setting up UKADS (United Kingdom Asian Diabetes Study).

Wasim has been involved at a parliamentary level to advise the government on issues relating to Diabetes and ethnic health. He is the Chair of the Diabetes Working Group of the world-recognised South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF). Wasim is a member of the Parliamentary and Stakeholder Diabetes Think Tank advising the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes.

His involvement in NICE has been extensive, sitting on advisory NICE Health Technology Appraisal Committee since 2009, and acting as an advisor on many issues including the use of health technologies, definitions of Obesity and Waist circumference in British South Asians, prevention of diabetes in high risk groups, physical activity and type 2 diabetes.

He is on the Expert Advisory Committee of Commission of Human Medicine, advising MHRA on new Medicinal agents. He is on the Board of Governors as a Trustee of Diabetes UK, helping in strategy, advocacy, patient empowerment and research to help improve outcomes in people with diabetes in the UK.

He holds the qualifications MBBS MD FRCP.

Wendy Thomson


Wendy Thompson

Professor Thomson is the incoming Vice Chancellor of the University of London.  She is an independent member of the University of East Anglia and the Norwich University of the Arts.  
Professor Thomson was Managing Director of Norfolk County Council until the end of 2018.  Previously she was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham, and former Prime Minister Blair’s adviser on Public Service Reform a role for which she received her CBE in 2005.
Wendy has worked on government reform with heads of state in Nigeria, Ghana and with the UNDP.  Before joining Norfolk for ten years Wendy was Professor of Social Policy and Director of the School of Social Work at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
She lives in Norwich with her teenage daughter, and is a keen tennis player, walker and regular yoga practitioner.

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