Launching a new AphA branch in the North East
Rob Robson and Shevon Licorish both work at the NHS Business Services Authority, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Rob is Head of Data Strategy & Governance and Shevon is a Management Information Senior Analyst. They are talking about their plans to launch an AphA branch for the North East of England and what they hope to achieve.
Representing the region and championing diversity and inclusion
Shevon and Rob are driven by a desire to see the region better represented in the profession, to provide a networking and mentoring space for healthcare analysts and to champion the professional recognition that AphA provides. They plan to launch the branch this July.
Shevon said: “We want to stand tall, proud and recognised as the North East – we want to play our part in this region and the NHS as a whole.
“For me, one of the key benefits of AphA membership is that it offers you a level of professional recognition. As the professional body for healthcare analysts, AphA offers all its members the chance to become professionally registered with the Federation of Informatics Professionals. I see NHS colleagues and friends from other industries with many different kinds of certification and we want to achieve the same thing for our profession.
“Becoming an AphA member has really opened my eyes to the benefits; the AnalystX space on the FutureNHS collaboration platform, options for training, certification guidance, the mini huddles and tons of other resources. Often, I take a copy of the resources to share with my team and others, so it’s benefitting my NHS colleagues as well as myself. There is so much potential for more, too.
“I would really like our branch to provide career guidance and options through mentorship and coaching. In my experience, there hasn’t been clear guidance from someone who could help me as my career advanced. I’ve found I’ve had to sail the boat while building it, as it were, so I’d like to provide that guidance for others.
“I’m also hoping this branch will make diversity and inclusion (D&I) a primary topic. I’d like to build awareness around it and create a safe space for discussions. As an analyst I’m constantly looking at D&I related data and there is currently an imbalance in representation in the industry. I want to put my voice out there to say: ‘There’s a space for you here if you have that drive to succeed in the profession and don’t quite know where to go’. I’d like to offer up my journey and tell people what’s worked for me and what hasn’t.
“For me, setting up this branch is about being able to go out there and say we have a sense of pride in the North East. The branch is a community that’s being built for everybody. It’s a place that can take you to the next step in terms of your career, offering growth, advice and space to think. That’s what I want and that’s what I hope we can offer. I’m hoping we’ll put these roots down and see it blossom like a rose. “
Increasing professional recognition within the industry
Rob said: “There’s a real understanding now that the data profession has a big role to play in improving healthcare. We want to give healthcare analysts in the North East a voice, to contribute to how the profession is shaping, and make sure our region is feeding into wider discussions. I would also want to use the influence of a big regional branch to help suggest ideas of improvement for the whole association.
“I’d also like to explore both being a mentee and a mentor with AphA’s mentorship programme, a relationship-based sharing of knowledge between analysts from across the UK, currently in its pilot stage. I’m at a point in my career where I want to give a little back and help people starting on their journey.”
“I started my career in finance for the NHS and there is a professional body for healthcare finance which is very established. I found being part of a professional association extremely helpful early in my career and would like to help bring my experience to others in the NHS data space. I’ve a real passion for data and this has led me to my current role. Professional certification for the analyst profession is still quite new so we really want to be a part of that.”
“We’re planning to keep our goals modest for the first few years. I’d like to raise awareness and engage with other analysts and organisations across the North East to get them on board. There are around 100 analysts working in our organisation, so that’s a community we can promote the branch to initially before reaching out to wider networks in the region.
“I also find that sometimes we focus too much on the front end data roles. Behind the healthcare analysts you have people like data engineers and modellers, the technical side that tends to get forgotten about. There’s a lot of focus on making things look pretty with data visualisation but it’s a lot wider in terms of the data life cycle, so I’d like to bring attention to the whole span of data roles.”
Rony Arafin, AphA CEO, said: “I’m delighted that Shevon and Rob are dedicated to launching a branch in the North East region, where so many healthcare analysts will benefit from the networking and relationship building opportunities, to share best practice and have a dedicated space for learning and development.”
Anyone interested in joining the North East AphA branch should email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or Shevon at email@example.com. To apply for AphA’s professional registration form you will need to fill out an application form and submit a portfolio of evidence and reflective practice – you can find more information here. The AphA mentorship programme is currently in its pilot stage and you can learn more about it here.