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Refocus on Recovery 2023 international conference

Keynote speakers

Pim Cuijpers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Pim Cuijpers is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Dissemination of Psychological Interventions in Amsterdam. He is specialised in conducting randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses on prevention and psychological treatments of common mental disorders across the life span. Much of his work is aimed at prevention of mental disorders, psychological treatments of depression and anxiety disorders, and Internet-delivered treatments. He has also published on several other research topics, including global mental health and student mental health. Pim Cuijpers has published more than 1,100 peer-reviewed papers, chapters, reports and professional publications, including more than 900 papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is on the Thomson-Reuter Web of Science lists of the ‘highly cited researchers’ since the first edition of this list in 2014 (http://highlycited.com/).


Michelle Funk (World Health Organization, Switzerland)

Dr Michelle Funk is the Unit Head of the Policy, Law and Human Rights team at the World Health Organization. She is responsible for cross cutting work related to policy, planning, service development, human rights and legislation across the mental health, brain health and substance use units of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use. She leads the WHO QualityRights Initiative which builds capacity of stakeholders to understand and promote human rights and recovery approaches, and supports countries to develop services, policies and laws in line with international human rights standards.   Dr Funk, has produced landmark guidance including the mental health policy and service guidance package, the WHO QualityRights modules for training, guidance and transformation in mental health (2019), the WHO guidance and technical packages on rights-based community mental health services (2021) and is currently in the process of developing new guidance on mental health policy and action plans and mental health related laws. She has published extensively on these topics in peer review journals.

Julie Repper (Director, ImROC)

Julie Repper is Director of ImROC, a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with communities to support services, organisations and systems to offer support that enables people with mental health challenges and long-term physical health problems to recover and live well. ImROC supports many organisations nationally and internationally to shift culture and practice in ways that recognise the essential contribution of experiential knowledge at every level and the importance of working with and in communities to enable people to live well.  ImROC offers a full programme of peer support worker training, support to develop Recovery Colleges, a prospectus of Recovery focused courses and bespoke consultancy for organisations however large or small (see www.imroc.org).

Julie has been working for ImROC since its inception 15 years ago, she has also worked as a nurse, a service manager, in universities as a researcher and as a course leader; she has been a trustee of a number of voluntary sector groups and co-editor of mental health journals.  Julie has also used mental health services on and off over the past 45 years.  All of these experiences drive Julie’s passion to improve the expectations and experiences of people who find themselves struggling with their mental health. Julie has published extensively on the subject or Recovery, inclusion, and participation/coproduction.


Mike Slade (University of Nottingham, UK)

Professor Mike Slade is Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion at University of Nottingham. His main research interests are recovery-focused and outcome-focused mental health services, including Recovery Colleges, lived experience narratives, citizen science, wellbeing, needs assessment and developing measures, e.g. INSPIRE, Camberwell Assessment of Need, Threshold Assessment Grid. He has written over 300 academic articles and published 15 books, including Personal Recovery and Mental Illness (2009), Partnering for Recovery in Mental Health (2014), Positive Psychotherapy for Psychosis (2017), Wellbeing, Recovery and Mental Health (2017) and Camberwell Assessment of Need, 2nd edition (2020). His 15 free booklets include Making Recovery a Reality (2008), REFOCUS: Promoting recovery in community mental health services, 2nd edition (2011), 100 Ways to Support Recovery, 2nd edition (2013), The empirical evidence about recovery (2015) and The Business Case for Recovery (2017), all downloadable at researchintorecovery.com.


Jijian Vronka (University of Windsor, Canada)

Dr. Jijian Voronka is Associate Professor and current program coordinator for the Disability Studies Program at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Her teaching uses Critical Disability Studies perspectives to elucidate confluences of power that affect disabled people in everyday, community, and institutional life. Her research uses Mad Studies and survivor research methodologies to explore disability inclusion strategies and their consequences, the politics of peer work, narrating madness, and sites of public confinement for street-involved communities. Her work prioritizes mental health service user knowledge production through service user-led, community-based, discursive, and narrative inquiry.


Shearer West (Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham)

Professor Shearer West, CBE is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Nottingham.

She has held a number of significant leadership roles in higher education, including Head of the School of Historical Studies at the University of Birmingham, Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford University and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield.  She was also Director of Research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council where she chaired the Research Directors Group for Research Councils UK (now UKRI).

As Professor of Art History, she has authored and edited many articles and nine books. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Historical Society, and has held two visiting Fellowships at Yale University.