Professor George Metsios

Chair/ Co director
Professor Metsios is a Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology in two Universities, the University of Wolverhampton, UK and the University of Thessaly, Greece. He is a principal researcher in different randomized controlled trials at the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK and at Erikkos Dinan Hospital, Greece. He is also an Honorary Researcher in Action Heart, the UK’s largest cardiac rehabilitation center. His work primarily focuses in improving disease outcomes and quality of life via non-pharmaceutical interventions (i.e. physical activity) in patients with the most common diseases including Inflammatory Diseases, Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease. He has been successful in securing competitive research grants both national (Medical Research Council) and international (Horizon 2020 and FP7). He has published more than 150 scientific articles, many of which in high impact factor journals and has won research awards, including best national project and best national publication. His research work has a significant impact and has been used in revising guidelines for chronic disease from different policy makers, including the British Heart Foundation, the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Professor Metsios is an expert reviewer in several peer-reviewed journals and funding bodies and has published several invited articles in his area of expertise.

Panikos Panayiotou

Vice chair/Co-director
Panikos is a Sports Development Manager for Birmingham City Council and is the co-founder of HEAT. Panikos graduated from Birmingham University and pursued further studies at the University of Bedfordshire. His research in exercise physiology was focused on exercise referral programmers and adherence trends. He has designed various community engagement models in which un-lock the power of the third sector showing sustainability, community cohesion and use of positive role models and enthusiastic community advocates to make a difference. Panikos has also designed a holistic after care package for gastric band patients based on evidence highlighting a multi-disciplined approach towards post gastric band surgery.

Dr Pantelis Kourtellaris

Co-director
Dr Pantelis Kourtelaris is a consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at the American Medical Centre in Nicosia Cyprus. He graduated from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School. His research in cardiology was focused on the endothelial function and oxidative stress in patients with coronary artery disease. He completed his cardiology training at Russell’s Hall Hospital, West Midlands, where he worked as a locum consultant. He subspecialized in Electrophysiology and cardiac devices at the university hospital of Birmingham-The Queen Elizabeth before returning to Cyprus to run the Electrophysiology and cardiac devices service.

Nicholas Sozou Papadopoulos

Co-director
Nicholas Sozou Papadopoulos, is a business development professional with extensive solid experience within International premium companies, operating from senior management positions with focus in EM.ME & Africa regions. With a diverse experience from Hospitality Industry, FMCG industry to Sanitary ware Industry, allows him to be a solid asset in the team. He holds an MBA in General Management from the University of Leicester, a B.A (with Honours) in Combined Studies from University of Birmingham City with focus on Strategic Management and Marketing Research & Planning and a Swiss Hotel Management Diploma from Ecole Hotelier “Les Roches”, in Crans Montana.

Sally Fenton

Committee Member
Sally obtained both her BSc (2008) and PhD (2014) from the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. From 2009 – 2013, Sally worked as a member of the European Commission (FP7 Health) funded Promoting Adolescent Physical Activity (PAPA) Project research team (www.projectpapa.org). The project revolved around the customisation and evaluation of the Empowering CoachingTM education programme in grassroots football across five EU countries. This formed the basis of her PhD on youth physical activity behavior change. After completing her PhD, Sally begun working as a Research Fellow on the Physical Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis (PARA) Study, and it now working jointly across the University of Birmingham and the Dudley NHS Foundation Trust (Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley) on projects related to physical activity and sedentary behavior change in several clinical populations. Sally has published her research in peer reviewed journals, and presented at several international conferences, including; the European College of Sport Science, American College of Rheumatology, and the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Dr Basiru Gai

Researcher

Basiru graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the International University of Africa. He then worked as a medical doctor at the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health for a period of one year. He then returned to the Gambia where he headed one of the medical wards in the country’s only teaching hospitals.

His key roles included the day-to-day clinical management of people living with HIV/AIDS and clinical management of patients admitted to the ward he was heading. He also helped in the personal development and capacity building of many of his junior staff.

He later joined Africmed Clinical Services where he rose from being one of the Medical Officers, to the Principal Medical Officer, and later became the clinic’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Over the decade, Basiru has successfully managed patients with complex medical conditions. He is very personate about health inequalities. He attained a Master of Science in Public Health from Birmingham City University, where he is currently a PhD researcher. His area of interest is on health promotion for black people.

Angela Kumah

Researcher

Angela Kumah is a PhD researcher at the Birmingham City University. Her research aims at improving culturally sensitive mental health promotion among Black African and Afro-Caribbean communities in Birmingham. Employing a strength-based organizational development model called appreciative inquiry, she hopes to explore the subject of resilience within the Black community in relation to culture and mental health, in an attempt to encourage service user input in mental health service design and delivery. Before joining BCU, she lived in Swansea, Wales, where she completed her MSc in Abnormal and Clinical psychology.

During this time, she volunteered in a dementia care home and worked as a placement student in the palliative care ward of Morriston Hospital, Swansea.
As part of her GRTA/Assistant lecturer role, she supports various projects run by United Community Activity Network (UCAN) a Birmingham-based charity, within her capacity as a mental health professional. She also provides advice, online resources and deliver digital mental health and wellbeing related programmes. She also provides pro-bono talk therapy sessions to clients in her home country, Ghana, making use of online platforms to provide accessible mental health support.

Dr Ayaz Safi

Researcher

Dr Ayaz Safi is a Lecturer and Co-Course Leader for MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition at University of Westminster. Prior to this he was assistant lecturer at Birmingham City
University where he also completed his PhD focused on the impact of workplace physical activity interventions on university employees’ health, wellbeing, and behaviour change.

Ayaz has attained his BA in Sport studies and MA in sport and physical education from Newman University Birmingham. He also attained his PgCert in research practice and PgCerts in higher education including a fellowship in Higher education academy (HEA) from
Birmingham City University. Ayaz was head of the physical education department in a high school and sixth form college. Ayaz was also the founder/director of ‘Safi’s Sport & Fitness’, focused on promoting physical activity/exercise, nutrition, health, and wellbeing of BAME and underprivileged minority groups such as Muslim communities (e.g., Afghans). Ayaz also worked with the ‘Workers Educational Association (Tandursti) in which he designed curriculum and tailored exercise, nutrition, and behaviour change interventions for individuals with physiological and psychological health conditions.

Ayaz is the founder/director of ‘Anywhere Active’ an online platform focused on promoting health and wellbeing through sport, physical activity/exercise
and nutrition via social media reaching out to wider communities especially Afghans in the UK and across the world. Ayaz has an exceptional national and international media profile regularly appearing on various national and international TV/Radio channels. He has won various awards including the Birmingham City University ‘Researcher of the Year 2018/19 Extra Mile Awards as a ‘recognition of his excellent research contribution’ and the British Psychological Society annual conference 2019 for his excellent intervention focused on improving employees
physical activity and health. Ayaz has published more than 30 articles including scientifically peer reviewed, conferences, media channels and invited articles on his area of expertise. Dr. Ayaz is also an expert reviewer in peer reviewed journal.

Dawn Carr

Associate Researcher

Dawn Carr is leading on a fixed term project with UCAN Birmingham called ‘This Is My City’, which is a food, arts, sports and culture programme, in the run up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Dawn has a proven track record of leading and developing projects focused on black and minority ethnic groups at local and national levels. She started as a caseworker for Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU) and part of the team leading the case for Mikey Powell (the Birmingham equivalent of George Floyd).

Dawn has also worked at Commission for Racial Equality, a funding officer for Improving Reach at Capacity builders and Equality Performance Officer at Legal Services Commission.
She is very passionate about reducing the risk of long-term health conditions within minority communities. Her expertise enables her to develop user-led programmes, build community capacity, and deliver accessible interactive workshops for people of all ages and backgrounds..
Dawn was a Community Development Project Leader for the Stroke Association and has also supported Diabetes UK as a Volunteer Risk Assessor, where she engaged black communities. Dawn also led on the development and delivery of the Family Fit project at Legacy WM, a health programme funded by Big Lottery. She is also trained in nutrition and delivers health checks and weight management workshops for Weight Off Workshops Ltd.

Dawn is a trained walk leader and community researcher for Black Heritage Walks Network developing and documenting black heritage walks and recruiting walk leaders. Dawn also leads on the heritage education programmes in schools, libraries and out of school settings. In particular, Dawn joined forces with Pearl Support Network to use heritage and reminiscence as a vehicle to provide culturally sensitive support services for Black people living with vascular Dementia
Dawn is currently undertaking a MRes and researching the impact of social prescribing and its implementation at a local level.

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