Board of Directors

Meet the Board of Directors at Sussex Partnership

Our board of directors is made up of non-executive and executive directors who set our overall strategic direction, and closely monitor our performance against our objectives.

View our Board member's and decision makers declarations of interest.

Our Non-Executive Directors 

The role of non-executive directors is to provide leadership for the organisation and hold our executive directors to account.

If you'd like to contact a non-executive director email, or email our Senior Independent Director, Anna van der Gaag

Sean Duggan photos.jpgSean Duggan joined the Trust as Chair on 1 April 2024. He was previously chief executive of the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network.

Sean has a background in mental health nursing and he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours List in recognition of his 40 years of service dedicated to mental health service delivery.

Sean was selected to receive the 2024 Skellern Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless efforts to improve care across the sector and in 2013 was awarded the President’s Medal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Sean has been a Sussex resident for over 30 years, now with five grandchildren living locally.


  • President, Royal College of Psychiatrists (2008-2011) JP1_6860-xl.jpg​​​​​​​
  • President, World Psychiatric Association (2014-2017)
  • President , British Medical Association (2018-2019)
  • Professor Emeritus of Mental Health and Cultural Diversity, Kings College London

As a cultural psychiatrist Professor Dinesh Bhugra has always been interested in the impact of culture on mental health. Dinesh led and crafted 20 position statements on various topics, part of the World Psychiatric Association programme, some of which have strongly influenced policy in governments around the world.

He established presidential task forces on child abuse and neglect, inter-personal violence, prisoner mental health care, migrant health care, LGBT populations’ mental health care and those of people with intellectual disabilities.

Dinesh created programmes for mental health promotion and appointed good will ambassadors from Bollywood and Hollywood along with patients and religious leaders. He established six World Psychiatric Association collaborating centres in different parts of the world to share research, policy and training. Following a survey of discrimination against people with mental illness in 193 countries, he developed Bill of Rights for Individuals with mental Illness, signed by 60 organisations, which was then followed by Bills of Rights for Children and young people and for those with intellectual disabilities. 

Dinesh has authored/co-authored over 500 scientific papers, chapters, editorials, and 40 books. Three of his books have been translated into Mandarin and Japanese and various books have won awards including Oxford Textbook for Public Mental Health, which was British Medical Association Book of the Year in psychiatry in 2019. The same year, Practical Cultural Psychiatry was highly recommended. He is the editor of the International Journal of Social Psychiatry and International Review of Psychiatry. On the 75th anniversary of the NHS, conversations on the NHS including interviews with policymakers, doctors, patients and journalists will be published by Routledge. His new book Psychiatrists on Psychiatry will be out in May 2023.
Dinesh is on the Board of Sane and Psychiatric Research Trust charities. Between 2019-2022 he chaired DocHealth charity which provides psychotherapy to doctors and medical students.

Dinesh started his three-year term as Non-Executive Director at Sussex Partnership on 7 February 2023.

Simon BJP1_6867-xl.jpglake is the Chief Executive of the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid England. Prior to joining Mental Health First Aid England he was previously the chief executive of the National Union of Students and Brook, the young people's health charity. 

Simon is Chair of the Dying Matters Campaign and the Support After Suicide Partnership. He is a previous vice Chair of Stonewall, Chair of Diversity Role Models and vice Chair of the Black Health Agency. 

He is passionate about social justice and equalities, and has spent his career working and volunteering in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. He is a keen horse rider and dog lover. 


Kevin Crowley has over 25 years’ experience in leadership and policy roles in health and social care – his career spans third sector, housing association and central and local government roles. He spent 16 years as executive director at CGL where he looked after diverse portfolios of organisational development, people, growth, governance, care quality and strategy. He has led large transformation programmes as diverse as mergers, organisational structure, digital transformation, and rebranding. He has board level experience chairing social enterprises and a housing association. 

Kevin currently works as a consultant in the Health and Social care sector. He specialises in strategy, leadership, culture, patient involvement and quality improvement. 

He is passionate about social justice and addressing the structural unfairness that sees our most deprived communities have much poorer health and life expectancy.


Image5.jpegNitin Mehta joined Sussex Partnership in 2020 and chairs the Finance and Investment Committee of the Trust.

Nitin brings extensive commercial, strategy, analytics and finance experience to Sussex Partnership. He spent over a decade at TUI group where he was a part of the senior leadership team and a member of various executive boards of the organization before starting his own consulting firm. He is a qualified accountant with a B.Sc. in electrical engineering and computer science, an MBA and a masters in finance from London Business School. 

Nitin is also a Non-Executive Director at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) Foundation Trust and chairs the Audit Committee and Partnerships Committee at SLaM.

Abiola Okubanjo - cropped.jpgAbiola Okubanjo is the founder and CEO of Action On Blood, a social enterprise that tackles health inequalities though social marketing and community engagement. She also owns and manages Sahara BioMedix, an international bio-pharmaceutical company that provides blood products for healthcare and human biological samples for medical research.

Abiola is an experienced Board member with governance and fiduciary expertise across various sectors.  She is Chair of Blood Ties Donor Foundation (BTDF), a blood, stem cell and organ donor membership organisation in Nigeria; a Trustee of Adventures in Compassionate Commerce (AiCC),  a social impact innovation and investment organisation; and a Board Member of Yinyinola, a provider of care and accommodation services for older people.  Previously, Abiola was Non-Executive Director, Social Inclusion and Youth Director and Acting Finance Director at The National Federation for Music Societies (Making Music).

Abiola studied BSc. International Management with French at UMIST (UK), attended L’ESSCA Business School (France) and is an alumna of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (UK).  She is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA) with over 10 years working in banking and finance (Mergers & Acquisitions, Leveraged Finance and Hedge Funds) and a strong track record of achievement at senior leadership level. As owner of licensed and complex organisations in different health markets around the world, Abiola has the commercial and strategic acumen, sector insight and innovative drive to support Sussex Partnership to face current challenges and flourish in the future. 

Passionate about health equality and innovation, Abiola works to ensure that everyone has equal access to life-saving and life-improving prevention and treatment interventions and shares in the benefits of medical advances.  She is particularly committed to the effective and respectful inclusion of target patients, users and communities in the research, promotion, design and delivery of solutions for global health challenges. Abiola brings to Sussex Partnership extensive experience in multi-agency partnership working, ability to influence a complex range of stakeholders and expertise in engaging diverse communities.


Anna isJP1_6920-xl.jpg a visiting professor of ethics and regulation at the University of Surrey. Anna qualified as a speech and language therapist in 1981 and worked in learning disabilities services before moving into research, higher education and non-executive roles. 

Involving users in the design and delivery of services underpinned her early career and she continues to be a passionate advocate of co-design and co-production in service delivery, policymaking and research.

Anna is currently chair of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling, and Chair of the Midwifery Panel at the NMC. 

Anna has a long-standing interest in quality improvement in health care. She has been involved in national projects on clinical audit, governance and service evaluation and regulation, and is a founding member of the Q Community, a 6000 strong, UK wide quality improvement network led by the Health Foundation. Anna has a strong research background and continues to contribute to research in regulation internationally as well as in the UK. She was awarded the CBE for services to health and care in 2015.

Our Executive Directors 


Dr Jane Padmore is a registered mental health nurse and has worked in mental health and learning disability services since 1990. Jane is passionate about driving continuous improvement to ensure high quality services that are safe, effective and a good experience. She is particularly interested in how the emerging evidence in relation to neurodiversity can be applied to our services.

Initially starting her career as a healthcare assistant, Jane later qualified as a mental health nurse and has since worked in various clinical, leadership, managerial and academic roles, across CAMHS and adult mental health, learning disability, and forensic services.
Jane was our Chief Nursing Officer before being appointed Chief Executive in April 2022 and prior to that she was Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Quality and Safety at Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Jane is currently the chair of the NHS Confederation Learning Disability and Autism Forum. 

Jane was awarded a doctorate from Kings College London following a research study into the mental health needs of young people in street gangs. She has published in relation to child and adolescent mental health, nursing practice and young people involved street gangs.


Dr Peter Aitken graduated from Glasgow University in 1987 and trained in general practice and psychiatry at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London. 

Peter is chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, mental health adviser to the National Association of Primary Care and Liveryman, Worship Company of Barbers.

He was previously director of research and development and medical director at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, deputy lead of the West Hub of the Mental Health Research Network, co-clinical director of the Peninsula Comprehensive Research Network and vice-chair and chair of the Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Peter has published in suicide prevention and has an experience of drawing learning from the national confidential inquiry into effective action for change in services and hard to reach communities. 
During the Covid-19 pandemic Peter worked on staff development and provided liaison psychiatry at the Exeter Nightingale Hospital. 

His current work is in the field of domestic abuse.

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Teresa Barker joined the Trust in January 2023 as Chief Nursing Officer. Teresa is a registered mental health nurse and has worked in mental health services since 1997, both in Kent and in London.  

Teresa started her registered nursing career as a staff nurse on an acute mental health ward and later worked in various clinical, managerial and professional leadership roles across mental health services including youth, adult and older adult services.  

Teresa has a post qualifying degree in Psycho-social interventions for Psychosis and an MBA in Health care Leadership. Prior to joining Sussex Partnership, Teresa worked at Kent and Medway Partnership Trust, as Head of Service for Older Adults and Deputy Director of Nursing and Practice. 

Dan has over 20 years' experience in healthcare communications.JP1_6733-xl.jpg

Having begun his career at South Thames Regional Health Authority, he was head of communications and media at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust for nearly 15 years. In this role he was involved in developing the communications and engagement programme for King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre a collaboration between King's College London and three NHS Foundation Trusts: Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley. 

Dan also coordinated a Bafta winning four-part Channel 4 documentary series called ‘Bedlam’, broadcast in Autumn 2013, which gave unprecedented access to NHS mental health services.

In December 2019 Dan became a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Communications Research at New Bucks University.

You can find him on Twitter @Dan_Charlton1

John ChJP1_6746-xl.jpgild was appointed as the Trust's Chief Operating Officer in October 2021. John holds a BSc from Cardiff University and a Master's in Social Work from Sussex University.
John started his career as a Social Worker within Brighton & Hove Specialist Older Adults Mental Health Services and has worked within mental health services in Sussex since 2002 in a number of operational roles across both the NHS and Local Authorities.

Prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer John was the Head of Service for Older Adults and Neurodevelopment Services at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, Operational Director for Adult & Older Adult Mental Health Services in Sussex and the Chief Operating Officer for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.

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Rachel Goldsworthy joined the NHS in 2002 and has held a number of leadership positions, including as Associate Director of Corporate Affairs, Company Secretary and most recently as Chief of Staff, Governance and Corporate Affairs at Solent NHS Trust.

Previously Rachel worked in a number of corporate sector industries, including banking, recruitment and IT.

Whilst in the NHS, Rachel has worked in a variety of corporate support and management roles. She supported the programme to bring together the provider arms of both Southampton City Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Portsmouth PCT to establish Solent NHS Trust in 2011.

In her prior role at Solent, Rachel was recently heavily involved in the corporate governance associated with the transformation programme, Project Fusion, bringing together community and mental health services from Solent, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, the community and mental health services on the Isle of Wight, as well as the community adolescent and mental health services (CAMHS) provided by Sussex Partnership, to create a new Trust. 

Rachel joined Sussex Partnership in August 2023 and provides support and advice to the CEO, as well as leading corporate governance and information governance. She is also a Trustee for Saints Foundation, the Charity of Southampton Football Club.
Rachel is a values-based leader who believes deeply in developing a culture where people can thrive and be at their best and has a passion for working in partnership to ensure patient-centred care for the benefit of local people. 


Colin is a registered counselling psychologist, accredited cognitive behavioural therapist and has over 15 years clinical and operational experience working in mental health and learning disability services. 
Colin graduated with a doctorate in counselling psychology and psychotherapeutic practice from the University of Surrey in 2006 and subsequently undertook a masters in business administration at the University of Bath. 

He has been the director of mental health collaborative programme for NHS Sussex since January 2021 and prior to that was the service director for mental health and learning disabilities at Dorset Healthcare. He has significant operational and strategic leadership experience managing a range of services including IAPT, CAMHS and adult community and inpatient services.

Colin has a passion for improving the quality of care for people who use our services and has delivered significant transformational change at scale and in partnership with health, social care and third sector partners and champions coproduction with people who use our services.

Colin was previously seconded to the post of interim Director of Integration and Partnerships in September 2022 for six months.

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Usman Niazi joined the Trust as Chief Finance Officer in April 2022 and alongside this role took up the role of Deputy Chief Executive in July 2022.

Prior to this Usman was Chief Finance Officer and Financial Senior Responsible Officer at NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group and Integrated Care Service.

Throughout his career in health, Usman has led corporate and finance functions in a range of complex NHS organisations, including acute, Clinical Commissioning Groups and strategic health authorities; working with frontline teams to balance the need between high-quality service delivery and financial sustainability.

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Funmi Onamusi joined the Trust as Chief People Officer in April 2023. With a career that spans 20 years across consulting and industry roles, Funmi's experience includes specialities in strategic human resources, workforce development, EDI and organisational development & talent management/coaching.

Funmi has previously held roles at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where she was Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and was responsible for the inclusion agenda for 14,000 staff and 1m patients. In this role, she led the development of the Trust's Roadmap to Inclusion 2022-2024, which sets out the steps that King's is taking to become a more inclusive place to work and be treated. Prior to joining King's, Funmi worked for the global management consultancy EY (formerly Ernst & Young) in their workforce transformation team and was Director of HR and Operations in the charity sector. 

Funmi has an MBA in Strategy & Human Resource Management and is a Chartered Fellow in CIPD.

Gurprit.jpgDr Gurprit Pannu has worked in the NHS since qualifying in medicine from Cambridge University in 1992. He subsequently trained in psychiatry in London before moving to Sussex where he has held multiple consultant psychiatrist roles. He is passionate about the benefits to service users and clinicians that digital and data developments can bring, and has developed to move into digital healthcare leadership.
He has experience within the third sector having been the national lead for mental health in a national charity, and has held multiple senior posts in leading and managing health services within the NHS. He has senior qualifications in healthcare leadership, including digital healthcare leadership which have informed his prior role as a chief clinical information officer leading the global digital exemplar programme within Sussex and more widely as the chair of the South East Region Digital Working Group. 
Gurprit previously chaired the Sussex regional forum for digital clinical leaders across health and social care, and clinically led the Sussex Shared Care Record Programme to digitally connect patients, clinicians and create a linked dataset to support population health, commissioning, service development and research.

He continues to practice clinically to ensure digital and data developments are linked to patient benefit.