Executive committee

The Executive Committee is elected annually at the Annual General Meeting (usually held late Sept/early Oct).   Those who are interested in making a key contribution to the running and direction of the MJA must submit their nomination, supported by another full member of the MJA, at least four weeks prior to the AGM.   This can be done by email to .

Each year, notice of the date of the AGM, and the key deadlines for nominations and other matters relating to the AGM, are posted as members’ only news on the MJA website and sent out to members in the regular e-newsletter.

For full details of the rules and regulations that govern the MJA download a copy of the MJA constitution.

If you want to chat to any of the existing EC members to find out what a role on the EC entails do contact the administrator Sallie Robins .

Nigel Praities: Chair

Nigel was appointed executive editor of the Pharmaceutical Journal in 2018, after being editor of GP magazine Pulse for four years. He started out freelancing for the Guardian newspaper and as a reporter at Research Fortnight magazine before joining Pulse in 2007. As a reporter, he specialised in clinical news and broke a number of exclusive stories that made national newspaper headlines.He  named ‘Editor of the Year’ two years running in the Business category at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards in 2015 and 2016 and ‘Publication Editor of the Year’ by the Medical Journalists’ Association Awards twice, in 2014 and again in 2017. Under his editorship, Pulse was named ‘Business Magazine of the Year’ by the Professional Publishers Association in 2016 and twice at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards, picking up the prize in 2014 and 2015. He has a MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London and a BSc in Physiology from University College London.

Status: Re-elected 2022 AGM/appointed Chair at October 2022 MJA EC meeting


Jane Symons: Vice chair and website editor

Jane Symons is a prolific freelance health writer and media consultant and a regular contributor to the Daily Express and Daily Mail. She edited the health pages of The Sun for five years and was health editor of Woman’s Own for  two. She has also written for a broad range of national titles including The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Sunday Express, Women’s Health and Woman and Home. She was the launch editor of the Feeding For Life Foundation magazine, a specialist publication for healthcare professionals and others working with infants and under-fives and has edited reports including Stop the MS Lottery for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Jane has written several pregnancy books including How to Have a Baby and Still Live in the Real World, which have been published  in the UK, USA, Europe and Russia. She has also edited a volume on Health System Performance Assessment and website material for the World Health Organisation. As a journalist who also provides media consultancy she offers bespoke advice in effective media messaging and press materials, identifying the best story angles, report writing and media training. Jane also chairs media advisory boards and meetings and is the Public Patient Information lead on the CovidenceUK longitudinal study into all things Covid-related.

To view Jane’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Follow Jane on Twitter

Status: Re-elected 2022 AGM/re-appointed Vice-Chair at Oct 2022 MJA EC meeting

Emma Wilkinson: Vice chair

Emma is an award winning freelance journalist specialising in medicine and health. She did a BSc in Biomedical science before decided she wanted to write about but not ‘do’ medical research. After an MA in journalism where she well and truly caught the reporting bug, she started out as an assistant editor at The Lancet Oncology editing scientific reviews, writing news and doing some commissioning. From there she went to work as a clinical reporter at Pulse, where she won several awards before moving to BBC News online to work as a health reporter. Emma has been fully freelance and living in Sheffield for more than a decade writing for Pulse, the Pharmaceutical Journal, Chemist and Druggist, the BMJ, the limbic and more. She is also an associate lecturer in the Journalism Department at Sheffield Hallam University teaching news writing and digital journalism with a bit of moral panics and research methods thrown in. More recently Emma has teamed up with a colleague to develop the Freelancing for Journalists brand which includes a book, podcast, Facebook community, online course run with Journalism.co.uk, webinar series and newsletter. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they developed a Journalism Work Experience Initiative to buddy up freelance journalists with students and recent graduates. Co-opted at Dec 2020 MJA EC Meeting

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM/re-appointed as Vice-Chair at October 2022 MJA EC Meeting

To view Emma’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Follow Emma on Twitter @emmajourno.

Sallie Robins: Administrator

Sallie leads a double life as both a science publicist and a fitness instructor.   After some disastrous practical exams during her BSc in Medical Biochemistry, Sallie realised that bench research might not be her forte, so after an MSc in Science Communication Sallie cut her teeth in public relations at the then British Association for Science (now the British Science Association) running the press office at the annual media jamboree that is the Festival of Science.   Prior to working in public relations Sallie researched, wrote and promoted science and public health policy at the British Medical Association, writing reports on boxing, alcohol, the age of consent, cycling and other public health issues.   For many years now Sallie has worked freelance initially as publicist to many popular science authors including Richard Dawkins and Martin Rees, but more recently with a variety of organisations including the Royal Society, the Science Museum, the Cheltenham Science Festival and the Big Bang.   Sallie’s work in books has also seen her diversify into publicity work for children’s books and children’s poetry.  Sallie is currently Committee Executive Secretary to the ABSW running their annual awards, fellowship schemes, conferences and journalism training events.  Sallie is also treasurer of the science PR organisation Stempra.  Sallie lives in London with her partner and son.

Status: Non elected post

Dawn Connelly: Membership secretary

DawnDawn Connelly is features editor at The Pharmaceutical Journal, a monthly print magazine and website for practising pharmacists. She initially trained as a pharmacist and spent several years practising in hospitals where she gained a clinical diploma. She has also worked as a locum community pharmacist and as a researcher within academia. She joined The Pharmaceutical Journal in 2001 and has held several staff positions, including contributions editor, senior news and feature writer, and deputy news editor. She now writes and commissions features on a wide range of topics, including science, practice and policy, with the aim of appealing to all sectors of the pharmacy profession. She also works alongside the art editor to create infographics and won the 2014 MJA award for data journalism.


To view Dawn’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here

Status: Re-elected at 2022 AGM/re-appointed as Membership Secretary at October 2022 MJA EC meeting

Sarah Comery: Treasurer

Sarah cropped

Sarah has worked as a freelance book-keeper/accountant to a number of different industries for over thirty years. She is currently acting as Treasurer to a charity researching childhood leukemia and has previously been Treasurer to a number of other charities in the UK. She is also a qualified CELTA teacher.

Status: Re-elected at 2022 AGM/re-appointed as Treasurer at October 2022 MJA EC Meeting



Jessica Beresford: Student Ambassador

Jessica Beresford is a fourth year medical student at the University of Manchester, with a growing interest in writing about health and medicine as well as training to practice. Though her story with journalism is at its beginnings, she has written for the Mancunion, and published a poster for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. She has recently completed a Masters in International Development which has helped her explore health through a wider lens. By experiencing first hand the difficulty of finding both the time and resources to explore health journalism alongside medical studies, Jess has joined the MJA as the student ambassador, aiming to facilitate student participation in health journalism with the guidance of experienced MJA writers. She is working to give students the chance to explore their writing skills, form meaningful connections between students and established writers, and make space for voices to be heard that may not have been at the forefront before.

Student members can contact Jess on:

Aasma Day

Aasma is currently Northern Reporter at the i paper.  She is a multi award winning journalist and before joining the i, was North of England correspondent with the Huffington Post.  She previously led the JPI Investigations Unit and was Lifestyle Editor of the Lancashire Post

Status: Elected at 2022 AGM

Lucy Elkins



Lucy is a Consultant Editor, Good Health, Daily Mail.

To view Lucy’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here

Follow Lucy on Twitter

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM

Nicola Hill

NicolaNicola Hill started work on local and national newspaper, before moving into broadcasting.  She has presented radio and TV programmes: for the BBC and independent radio and for Sky News where she was health correspondent. She also edited the health pages on Sky News online. She has been nominated for both an Royal Television Society and a Sony award. Among her scoops: gaining permission from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to film in Riyadh, and from Fidel Castro to film in Cuba. Since becoming freelance Nicola has reported on, and spoken at, international health conferences and made health documentaries in the UK and abroad.  She acts as a media consultant, hosting interactive web-casts, chairing media advisory boards and medical symposia, and presenting corporate films and podcasts. Nicola spent 18 months covering the Covid19 pandemic for the global TV news channel TRT World. Her website is: www.ncmedia.org.uk

To view Nicola’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Follow Nicola on Twitter

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM

John Illman

JohnJohn Illman spent eight years as the Guardian‘s health editor and five years as the Daily Mail’s medical correspondent. A former GP newspaper editor, he is now lecturing, writing a series of books and has set up a video production company. His publications include The Body Machine with the heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard.

To view John’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM


Thea Jourdan

Thea croppedThea Jourdan is a health writer and editor who has worked on many national newspapers as well as magazines over the past 20 years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, the Daily TelegraphHarpers Bazaar and The Economist. She currently edits Apothecary, the journal of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London which was incorporated as a City Livery Company by royal charter from James I on 6 December 1617. In her capacity as editorial director of The Jourdan Agency, she commissions Careers in…Special Reports for the Daily Telegraph, as well as devising and commissioning online content for Netdoctor. She is also President of Jourdan Editorial LLC, New York, New York.

To view Thea’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM

Shaun Lintern

Shaun Lintern is health editor of The Sunday Times. An investigative health journalist for more than a decade, he has helped expose some of the worst scandals in NHS history, including the Shropshire and Telford maternity disaster and poor care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and subsequent public inquiry. He was health correspondent for The Independent and previously bureau chief for the Health Service Journal.

Status: Co-opted at December 2022 EC meeting to fill a vacancy on the EC



Elisabeth Mahase

Elisabeth is the clinical news reporter at the BMJ. She previously worked at GP magazine Pulse, where she won the MJA Newcomer award for her investigation into how pharmaceutical companies use charities to drive worried well to their GP. Elisabeth also won the first MJA Podcast of the Year award 2020 for her work at the BMJ reporting on the war in Syria and how medics are targeted and attacked. She has an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London and a BSc in Biomedical Science from Brunel University London. Elisabeth was named in the PPA 30 under 30 list in 2019.

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM

Lawrence McGinty

Lawrence McGinty has reported on health and science for more than three decades. First for New Scientist magazine, then for Channel Four News, and most recently for ITV News. During that time he has covered an extraordinary breadth of stories. He has flown a Harrier jump jet, reported live from the military hospital at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, and presented a week of reports from Papworth Hospital that persuaded over 100 000 people to sign up as organ donors.  In 2014 he won the Lifetime Achievement award of the Association of British Science Writers. The citation said he had “a profound effect on the scientific community”.He has interviewed every health minister for the past two decades. More importantly he has interviewed thousands of patients – some delighted by new developments that have transformed their lives, others blowing the whistle on appalling NHS treatment. He has won awards from BAFTA, the RTS, the ABSW, the Medical Journalists Association and an Emmy. He also won the British Video industry’s award for the best comedy video (beating Morecombe and Wise!) He has chaired an international conference on drugs for the World Health Organisation and given talks to many professional bodies. But more important to him, he has won the respect of the many doctors, scientists and patients he has met. Lawrence stood down as MJA Chair in 2021.

To view Lawrence’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Follow Lawrence on Twitter

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM

Jill Palmer

JillMedical Correspondent for the Daily Mirror for 18 years until September 2003 when made redundant. As a freelance I wrote for various consumer magazines and national newspapers and was involved in media consultancy work with pharmaceutical companies and medical PRs for around nine years.

Now semi-retired I still do some writing and am a trustee of the Journalists’ Charity.

To view Jill’s contact details and conflict of interest declaration click here.

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM


Isla Whitcroft

Isla is highly experienced journalist and writer who has covered health for national newspapers and magazines for over fifteen years, in the process building up extensive contacts with clinicians, charities, patient groups, government bodies & across the health media. Isla is also currently working with health charities and clinicians to create informative and engaging patient information on often complex medical conditions, something she finds extremely rewarding.

Isla has been a national newspaper journalist since the early nineties, writing on subjects ranging from overseas property to celebrities and hugely enjoyed a three year stint in Australia helping to launch a woman’s news magazine for ACP. She is the author of the YA fiction series The Cate Carlisle Files (Piccadilly Press) and takes her ‘Thriller Writing Workshop for Young Adults’ into schools & libraries across the UK. She is currently writing her fourth novel, a fictionalisation of real life Victorian murder. Away from writing, Isla is a school governor at Northampton School for Boys with responsibilities for …… student health and welfare!

Status: Re-elected at the 2022 AGM