An assemble of progressive healthcare professionals, advisors and academics, our team are responsible for the strategic direction, logistical operations and external activities of the FGM National Clinical Group's work.

Click the names for the full biography:


Central to our continued efforts, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for their support,
contribution and commitment.

The Ampelos Trust - We are grateful for their continued support in the memory of our founding patron, Baroness Ruth Rendell.


Sarah Creighton
Consultant Gynaecologist, University College Hospital London

Yana Richens OBE (Treasurer)
Consultant Midwife, University College Hospital, London

Honorary Members

Dorcas Akeju OBE
Specialist Midwife for FGM/Inherited Blood Disorders

Elinor Clarke (Chair)
Midwife and Senior Lecturer (Midwifery) at Coventry University

Alison Byrne
Specialist Midwife, Heart of England NHS Trust

Aderonke Gilbertson
Qualified Midwife and member of the Liverpool FGM Group

Comfort Momoh MBE
Midwife and FGM/Public Health Specialist, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital, London

Dorothy Lee Zack-Williams
Clinical Nurse Specialist Lead for Haemoglobinopathies, Liverpool PCT, Merseyside

Tunde Zack-Williams
Professor of Sociology, University of Central Lancashire

Alison Payne
Family doctor in a practice in Coventry; works in a sexual health clinic and a gynaecology clinic

Aïssa Edon
Qualified Midwife and FGM Specialist at Ealing Hospital NHS trust, Southall, Middlesex

Juliet Albert
Qualified Midwife and FGM Specialist at Queen Charlotte Hospital London

Gillian Smith MBE
Director, Royal College of Midwives Scotland

Dame Tina Lavender
Professor of Midwifery, University of Manchester and St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester

Joanne Topping
Consultant Obstetrician, Liverpool Women's Hospital

Support team

Linda Holmes
Company Director, Parenthesis Design Consultancy
(Creators of the FGM NCG brand identity)

Becky Lavender
FGM National Clinical Group Researcher

Mahbir Thukral
Communications & Outreach Advisor

Gaynor Thomas
FGM Secretary
Sarah Creighton MD FRCOG

I am an NHS Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology University College London Hospitals NHS Trust. I have a special interest in paediatric and adolescent gynaecology. I work with adolescents and adult women with acquired and congenital genital anomalies. In 2000 I established the African Women’s Clinic at UCH for women affected by female genital mutilation. This clinic offers a sensitive and holistic approach for women affects by FGM. We offer reversal as an outpatient procedure if wished and psychological support is available. I lecture widely on the health implications of FGM.

I am committed to improving health care available for women resident in the UK affected by FGM and also to the prevention of FGM.

Yana Richens OBE SEN, RGN, RM, BSc (Hons) Nursing,
MSc Midwifery (Treasurer)

I am a Consultant Midwife in Public Health at University College Hospitals London, It was whilst working with women during the postnatal period that I became aware that not all women who have undergone FGM were aware that this procedure is against the law in the UK. It was also clear that, midwives and health care professionals who come into contact with women. It was following an introduction to Baroness Rendell of Babergh and a discussion with Sarah Creighton that the UK FGM clinical guideline group was formed.

Dorcas Akeju OBE

Dorcas has been a practising midwife for over 30 years and work in all areas of midwifery with the last 15 years on Community. She was the co-ordinator of the pilot team which implemented Changing Childbirth at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital in 1996.

In 1999, she was actively involved in the developing of a special Antenatal clinic (The Link Clinic) for women who do not speak English ensuring an effective ways of communication. The clinic is supported by Health Link Workers who have dual languages; interpreters and Telephone Line are used as appropriate.

In 2003, Dorcas was honoured by the Queen with the Order of British Empire (OBE) for her services to the NHS and community. She became the Specialist Midwife for Inherited Blood Disorders in 2004 and was part of the North West Regional trainers. She took active part in the implementation of universal screen for haemoglobinopathies in her unit. She offers support and counselling for women who have been circumcised (Female Genital Mutilation) and ensures they get appropriate quality care. She is the Chair of Liverpool FGM/Multi-Cultural Women’s Advisory Group.

She is actively involved in the equality issues as the Lead for Equality and Diversity Lead. She represents the Trust at the Single Equality Scheme Learning Sites for the Department of Health. She is also responsible for the Equality and Diversity training.

As a Supervisor of Midwives, she does not only ensure safety of mothers and babies but also has a great interest in encouraging midwives to develop themselves and giving support as necessary.

She is an active member of the Royal College of Midwives and was on the RCM Council for 7 years but is now on the RCM (England) Board.

She is very involved in the community and believes that health should be equal to all. She also believes that as professionals, we can reduce the “gap of Inequalities in health”.

She enjoys reading and most of her spare time is spent with fellow Christians and different community groups.

Juliet Albert

My name is Juliet Albert and I am Specialist FGM Midwife at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, (part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust). I set up the FGM clinic in 2003. I am also Project Lead for a community-based clinic, the Acton African Well Woman Centre which is partnership funded by Ealing Community Services and Imperial College. In both clinics we offer services for pregnant and non-pregnant women with FGM including:- deinfibulation under local anaesthetic; referral onto gynaecology support for more complex perineal trauma; and psycho-sexual counselling. The Acton clinic won a Guardian Public Service Award in Diversity and Equality in 2011.

I provide training for Midwives and other healthcare & frontline professionals and am involved in community initiatives such as speaking at Somali women’s coffee mornings and the Somali summer university. I have an MSc in Advanced Practice Midwifery from Kings College.

Alison Byrne

Alison is a specialist midwife at Heart of England NHS Trust which incorporates Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital. Since 2002 Alison has ran The African Well Women's Service for women who have undergone FGM.

The service is designed to support pregnant and non pregnant women whom have had FGM.

Elinor Clarke (Chair)

Elinor has been a registered midwife since 1982. She has worked in hospital and community maternity services until 1995 when she started working in education. Since 2001, Elinor has worked at Coventry University with responsibilities around undergraduate midwifery education and Inter professional learning. Main teaching responsibilities are; normal childbirth, Law and ethics, health inequalities, leadership and management and midwifery clinical skills.

Elinor utilises a variety of information technology to support her work. Elinor has developed teaching materials around FGM and is interested in how midwives in the UK are prepared for and support women who have experienced FGM/circumcision.

Aïssa Edon

My name is Aïssa Edon and have been a midwife since 2009. I was born in Mali, but raised in France. I have worked across Europe, in France, Belgium and Switzerland before coming to the UK in June 2011.

I am currently a midwife at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, Southall, Middlesex. I am in the midst of becoming a FGM specialist midwife with which, I will be creating an FGM-specific clinic at the hospital. This will be known as "The Hope Clinic." In 2014, I recently became a member of the FGM National Clinical Group.

Aderonke Gilbertson RN RM.

Aderonke qualified as a nurse in Nigeria and the UK. Since she qualified as a midwife in 1991 she has practiced in all areas of midwifery and took the Foundation Course in Critical Care for Obstetric Patients 2006. She is involved in mentoring and assessing students during their placements.

In the last few years Aderonke (‘Ronnie’) has worked with the Specialist Midwife in Inherited Blood Disorders. For some years she has been concerned with female genital mutilation (FGM). She is a member of the Liverpool FGM Group and has been actively involved in organising conferences in Liverpool and London.

Dame Tina Lavender

I am a Professor of Midwifery at the University of Manchester and St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. I am an experienced researcher with a number of research interests, which focus on women’s expectations, experiences and outcomes. Much of this work is International, through partnerships with groups such as the African Midwives Research Network.

Although not a specialist in FGM, I actively seek to improve women’s lives through research, education and practice. My main role within the FGM group is to lead the national research strategy.

Comfort Momoh MBE, RN, RM, FPN, BSc MSc

Comfort Momoh is a FGM Consultant/Public Health Specialist and has is a staunch campaigner for the eradication of FGM.

Comfort established and runs the African Well Woman’s Clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas Foundation Trust in London, this is a support service for women and girls who have undergone FGM. The clinic provides counselling, advice, support, information and surgical reversal of FGM As a result Comfort was awarded became the first ever nurse/midwife of the year by the Trust in 2003.

Comfort is an expert in the field, she is well known both nationally and internationally, providing training, workshop, seminars and conferences.

Comfort has served as a temporary consultant with The World Health Organisation, and is Chairperson for the Black Women’s Health and Family supports (A non-governmental organisation working and supporting the community), and vice-president for EURONET (European Network on FGM). In June 2014, Comfort was a recipient of the Nigerian Centenary Awards' 100 Outstanding Nigerians that are currently living or who have lived in the United Kingdom over the past 100 years for her contribution to public service.

Recently Comfort has edited a book on FGM.

Alison Payne

I am a family doctor based in a deprived suburb of Coventry. Our predominant non white ethnicity in the area is sub Saharan African. I have also worked for several years in a health centre for asylum seekers and refugees, which is where I first learnt about the phenomenon of FGM and its effects on women. Since then I have presented to medical students about FGM and am committed to raising awareness among my colleagues.

I also work in sexual health and gynaecology – I enjoy the luxury of being able to keep my brain (predominantly) on one part of the body for a whole day - unlike general practice!

I worked in Sri Lanka at the start of the civil war in 1983, and in 2005 I worked in a rural clinic in Guatemala for three months. I am privileged to have travelled a lot over the years – hiking, cycling and backpacking - and have visited countries where FGM is practised. As long as I am fit enough I intend to continue to explore the world – a curiosity about and experience of other cultures helps me to broach difficult subjects with my patients with empathy and respect.

My partner and I lived and worked in New Zeland from 1994 – 2006 and we are now back in the UK to care for elderly parents. The opportunities for activism here are great, and there is much work to be done.

Gillian Smith MBE

Gillian trained as a midwife in Ninewells in Dundee qualifying in 1978. She then practiced as a midwife in Rutherglen Maternity Hospital and spent three years in the Sultanate of Oman, on secondment from Greater Glasgow Health Board. This was a very exciting time as she was part of a team, there to help improve the maternity services. During this time she delivered a number of babies some by breech but considers one of her most exciting experiences delivering triplets vaginally. She also was the first person to do ultrasound on pregnant women in the south of Oman. FGM was regularly carried out on the new born babies in this region.

She has worked with the RCM in Scotland since 1995 as a National Officer and since April 2008 as Director. She has extensive experience of representing members in different settings. Gillian completed an MSc in Industrial Relations from Stirling University and sits on the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Scotland having been appointed to that in 2003.

Gillian sits on Police Scotland HBV working group and also on the Scottish Government working group around FGM.

Married in 2006 she inherited a ready made family complete with grand-daughter.

Dr. Joanne Topping MB ChB FRCOG

I am a Consultant Obstetrician at Liverpool Women's Hospital. Liverpool Women's is one of the largest purpose built maternity units in Europe delivering approximately 8000 women a year. When planning the services at the new hospital we were lucky that to an extent the needs of our established multicultural community was recognised and an antenatal clinic established to serve our ethnic minority population. I am lucky to work with a great multidisciplinary team within this clinic and thus tend to see most of the women who have undergone female genital mutilation.

Whilst supporting those who work hard to abolish FGM, my main focus is teaching doctors and midwives how to support those women who have already undergone FGM and offer training to all staff in the techniques used to " open " women to allow for safer delivery.

Dorothy Lee Zack-Williams, RN, RM, HV, CPE, BSc (Hons),
MSc Ethics in Health Care

I am currently working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist Lead for Haemoglobinopathies (Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thalasaemia, & G6PD Deficiency) for Liverpool PCT, Merseyside. I am also Associate Lecturer at Liverpool University, Honorary Lecture at Liverpool John Moores University and Edge Hill University.

I have worked with women in the various communities in Liverpool and through my work, I became sensitised to the issues around FGM. Together with other women, we were able to set up the Multicultural Advisory Group to support, educate and train women in community and to raise awareness of health issues identified by these women. We convened a number of conferences leading to the setting up of a clinic for women suffering the effects of FGM at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

I have worked with sickle cell sufferers for many years in the community and have given support towards raising awareness, founding of support groups and general fund raising. I am currently a member of the Research Adult Ethics Committee, where we scrutinise research applications involving adults in the Northwest of England.

Tunde Zack-Williams

I am Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston and Vice-President of the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom. I have published extensively on Africa and the African Diaspora.

I have worked with local groups of multicultural women in raising awareness of the problems surrounding FGM. I feel that I can bring a radical sociological perspective to the discourse on FGM.