Meet the staff team

Vinny Smith
Chief Executive

Besides meeting my wife and having two wonderful kids, leading MRF is the greatest privilege of my life.

The team are amazing. Our supporters are unbelievably inspiring. The cause is unquestionably important for global health.

Since joining in 2015 I’ve helped develop and launch a new brand identity, new website and a new strategy. We’ve held governments to account on vaccine policy and called for and achieved a new World Health Organisation global task force for meningitis to 2030.

In previous lives I have been, amongst other things, an international consultant, Chief Operating Officer, and Head of Direct Marketing for organisations as diverse as Cancer Research UK and the African Center for Economic Transformation (Ghana).

I juggle the most important things in my life (see above) alongside being a guest lecturer at the University of the West of England on organisational development; being a Steering Committee member of the Global Meningococcal Initiative; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturers; and a Trustee of Autistica.

For leisure I cycle; visit art galleries; fight the weeds at my allotment; and keep four small fish and two snails.

Research, Evidence and Policy
Linda Glennie
Research, Evidence and Policy
Director of Research, Evidence and Policy

 I'm Linda Glennie and I'm Director of Research, Evidence and Policy at MRF where I've worked since 1997.

I work with scientists and health professionals across a range of disciplines to develop information materials for the public and for health professionals, and I've co-authored several educational resources for nurses and trainee doctors.

I also organise the scientific programme for the Foundation’s biennial international conferences.

I'm responsible for managing the administration, peer review and monitoring of the Foundation’s international research programme.

Liz Rodgers
Research, Evidence and Policy
Research Projects Manager

Hi, I’m Liz and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in October 2016.

My role involves working with the Scientific Advisory Panel on the Foundation's research programme. It’s really exciting to see how our research programme evolves, from the initial selection of research applications, to working with our communications team to help publicise our research in novel ways.

In addition to this, I help organise smaller, more regular events throughout the year. I particularly enjoy planning our Research Discovery Days – which gives our members and the general public a chance to meet the scientists leading the research.

Claire Wright
Research, Evidence and Policy
Evidence and Policy Manager (Prevention)

My name is Claire and my role as Evidence and Policy Manager (Prevention) involves working on the educational materials that MRF distributes to health professionals and the public, making sure that it is up to date with findings from current research.

I also try to answer specific medical questions we receive about meningitis and septicaemia and promote the charity's work at conferences around the country.

It’s very rewarding to work on awareness literature which may go on to help save lives and support those who have been affected by this disease.

Advocacy, Communications and Support
Elaine Devine
Director of Advocacy, Communications and Support
Advocacy, Communications and Support
Cat Shehu
Advocacy, Communications and Support
Support and Membership Manager

My name is Cat, I manage the Support service and Membership here at MRF.

My professional background involves Complex mental health, Safeguarding and providing a safe and consistent Support service to anyone who needs to access it. I am immensely proud of the support that we have delivered to so many people over the last 30 years. I am very lucky to meet some amazing members, ambassadors and people who reach out to our expertise in this awful disease and my passion is to continue to make knowledgeable, inclusive support available to anyone who needs it. Outside of MRF I am a mum, and I love to travel and explore new countries. If you have any questions or need support please contact me.

Katherine Carter (Maternity Leave)
Advocacy, Communications and Support
Information and Support Officer

Katherine is currently on maternity leave.

Hi, I’m Katherine and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in August 2015. I raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia by sharing medical information about the disease with the general public and health professionals.

I am involved in organising MRF events for families and health professionals, and meet our members and supporters in the community offering our support, whatever their experience of meningitis and septicaemia.

I also take helpline calls and answer emails from people with a range of queries about meningitis and septicaemia, including symptoms and after effects, and offer them support if they or their loved ones are affected. I am humbled by the inspirational people we meet.

Rosanna Russell
Research, Evidence and Policy
Community Engagement Officer & Meningitis Mentors Project Manager

I’m Rosanna and I joined MRF in January 2018. I work as Meningitis Mentors Manager and also, temporarily, as the Community Engagement Officer whilst covering maternity leave.

I am currently leading on the development of Meningitis Mentors, which is a new, online platform where users can watch, upload and comment on videos focused on sharing tips, experiences and advice for those affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

These videos will cover a range of topics on living with the effects of these diseases, such as driving with amputations, coping with the death of a loved one or managing the invisible after effects. Meningitis Mentors will expand MRFs support services, offering an easily accessible form of support for those unable to reach us through our traditional services.

We want to ensure that this project is informed by our members, so we’re going to need your help in making this platform an engaging form of peer-to-peer support.

Meningitis Mentors will go live later in 2020, so look out for opportunities to get involved!

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90p/€1 produces a detailed ‘Your Guide’ information pack for parents when a child is recovering from meningitis

The MRF Membership and Support team are here for you for any questions you might have about meningitis and septicaemia and their effects on you or your family and friends.

We fund research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and sepsis
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.