School of Dental Sciences

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee


The School of Dental Sciences is committed to providing a good working environment for all its staff and students. In 2018 the School of Dental Sciences joined a successful submission for a Faculty Silver Athena Swan award led by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team in Faculty of Medical Sciences. This recognises our progress towards gender equality and demonstrates the University has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias.

It shows we're developing a culture that is inclusive and values all staff.

The Athena Swan Charter recognising employment practices which promote gender equality. 

Moving forwards we recognise that there are many aspects which may prevent an individual from reaching their full potential. Therefore the School has created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)committee in order to address more of these factors. 

Current members of the EDI committee

Dr Hawa Fathi (Director of EDI, Lecturer)

Dr Paula Waterhouse (Clinical Senior Lecturer)

Mrs Jill Lloyd (Administrative Lead, Deputy School Manager)

Prof Justin Durham, Head of School

Dr Bana Abdulmohsen (Lecturer)

Mrs Cath Caravan (Associate Lecturer BSc)

Mr Jamie Coulter (Clinical Fellow and Postgraduate Research Student)

Dr Nick Jakubovics (Senior Lecturer)

Mrs Katya Kozhevnikova (Technician)

Ms Susan Ramsay (Secretary to School Management Team)

Dr Sarah Rolland (Clinical Senior Lecturer)

Dr Nadia Rostami (Research Associate)

Mr Joshua Adekoya, BDS Student

Mr Khaleel Shazada, BDS Student


More information

Find out more about Newcastle University Athena Swan.

Athena swan silver

Staff Profiles

Find out about how our employment practices have supported our staff.

Charlotte Currie‌

Charlotte Currie

I’m a Clinical Fellow in Oral Surgery at Newcastle Dental School.  A career in academic dentistry first appealed to me after completing a vacation research project after my second year of dental school.  Following this I decided to take a year out of my dental studies to intercalate and complete a Master of Research degree, confirming my desire to follow the academic career pathway.

Once graduating from my BDS degree I completed my foundation dental training over a two year general professional training post at Newcastle, working in both primary and secondary care.  Following this I was awarded my clinical fellow post.  I am currently working towards my PhD, before completing speciality training in oral surgery. 

Rhiannon O’Connor

Rhiannon O'Connor

I'm a Clinical Fellow in Restorative Dentistry at Newcastle Dental School. I feel my academic career progression has always been supported by the school.

I was an undergraduate here (graduating 2009) before progressing to my current role. The school has always encouraged and supported my progression into an academic career.

Feeling supported

It works hard to help me balance commitments in research, teaching and clinical development. I went on maternity leave early in 2015. The management team were proactive in keeping in touch while I was away. They have supported my return to work and management of my work and family commitments.

Ashleigh Stamp‌

Ashleigh Stamp

I am a Clinical Fellow at Newcastle Dental School, working across the Departments of Sedation, Child Dental Health and Restorative Dentistry.  After graduating from Newcastle Dental School in 2010, I worked across a number of dental settings within primary and secondary care before returning in 2014 as a part-time Clinical Fellow.  Recognising that I enjoyed my new role, the school supported my transition into academia and I became a full time Clinical Fellow in 2015.  


As a young clinical academic, there are a number of women who I look up to within the School of Dental Sciences, providing inspiration and proof that I can balance being a dental professional alongside a family life.  Using their experience and expertise, they have helped me to develop ways to balance my commitments in research and teaching whilst also encouraging and helping me to remain clinically active as a dentist.

Rebecca Wassall

Rebecca Wassall

I am a Clinical Lecturer. I conduct research in an National Institute for Health Research transitional research fellowship. I also provide clinical specialist training in special care dentistry. 

I have worked within the school since 2004, first as a Clinical Fellow and now as a Clinical Lecturer. I support the work of the school in helping to promote women working in science. 

Tackling equality

I am aware of the challenges which remain for women working in dentistry and academia. The school has impressed me in tackling these issues with enthusiasm.

Challenges I faced centre on balancing a demanding career with caring for three children. I was supported by the school during two maternity career breaks, one in 2004 and the other in 2011.

Back in 2004, there was a clear lack of female senior academics within the school. I lacked a mentor and felt isolated on my return to work.

Access to senior female academics

I balanced full-time hours and caring for twins with long-term conditions due to premature birth. In contrast, in 2011 I have benefitted from access to a variety of female senior academic role models

They have come from within the school and as a result of stronger and more tangible links with NHS staff. This has enabled me to gain a better understanding of my role within the school.

It allows me to work more effectively to develop this role. I can better meet my personal aspirations as a mother and an aspiring clinical academic.

Ruth Valentine

Ruth Valentine

Ruth is a Senior Lecturer. She joined the school in 2007 as a lecturer and gained promotion in 2010. Ruth has benefitted from the School’s supportive working environment

Childcare commitments

She has had two periods of maternity leave but is able to balance her work and family commitments. She can alter her working hours to fit with childcare commitments


Chris Vernazza

Chris Vernazza  

I moved to Newcastle after my undergraduate degree initially taking a job split between the trust and a dental practice before moving into the university to do a 5 year clinical fellow post where I completed a PhD and undertook clinical teaching. I then held an NIHR funded clinical lecturer post for 4 years combining specialist clinical training with research before securing my current post and fellowship. 

Feeling supported

I have been really impressed with how the school and university has supported me moving through my career with lots of advice and forward thinking before each change of position. I have had access to a wide range mentors both informally and formally who have been invaluable in advising and supporting me in balancing my different commitments and interests at work as well as developing a healthy work-life balance.


Iad Gharib

I’m a Clinical Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry at Newcastle Dental School. Newcastle University have always supported my career development. Newcastle University have helped my transition and settling in at the beginning of my job and gave me equal chance to upgrade my teaching skills.


Bana Abdulmohsen

I joined Newcastle University on 2015 as a Teaching Fellow in the School of Dental Sciences (SDS). This was after completing a PhD in Dentistry at Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London.

To begin with, one of the main challenges I faced was to ensure a high standard of teaching delivery due to having worked many years in a purely research environment. I have been privileged to be supported by many colleagues and have learned a lot from them in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. I understood that making mistakes is not something to feel shamed about, but it is a something to learn from, reflect on and aim to improve. Later on, my teaching skills were refined to a large extent through the Newcastle training I had for my Fellowship in Higher Education (FHEA).

Last year, I had my second child and faced a new challenge; balancing between life and work at my return from maternity leave. I was very blessed having had great support from the FMS/University when I was awarded the FMS Returner’s Support Programme fund to attend and present my research in a prestigious international conference (International Association of Dental Research and Pan European meeting IADR/PER general Session 2018, London, UK. This was an opportunity to network with experts and I learned about the recent innovations in my research field.

The Head of School and the School manager were both supportive in changing my pattern of work and provided me with the facility that allows me to continue breastfeeding my baby. Not to forget the benefits that NU parents can get from the Childcare Voucher Scheme for Nursery/School clubs vouchers for my two children.

Being involved as a member in the SDS Equality Diversity & Inclusion EDI Committee helps me to understand and appreciate the efforts exerted to respect the diversity and ensure fairness among all employees. All of the above makes me feel satisfied and happily committed to my work at the Newcastle University.