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Honorary titles within the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing are conferred upon persons of appropriate distinction, other than members of staff, who have an on-going association with the University in the area of research. They are leaders in their field, and below is a list of our current Honorary Professors.

Professor Andrew Owens

Honorary Professor in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Professor Andrew Owens is a consultant cardiac surgeon and Director of Innovation at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where he has also held the position of Director of R&D and Clinical Director for Cardiothoracic Surgery. He sits on the Executive of the Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria and is an elected trustee of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland. 

His clinical interests include surgery of the aorta, aortic valve and minimal access cardiothoracic surgery, including transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI); he is also a TAVI proctor (USA and Europe) for Edwards Lifesciences. He is currently an investigator in an NIHR funded trial of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. He is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England and in Ireland, has held fellowships from the National Heart Foundation of Australia and Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, was winner of the McCormack Medal in cardiothoracic surgery and awarded a Hunterian Professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


Professor Paula Whitty

Honorary Professor in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 

A picture of Paula Whitty Professor (Dr) Paula Whitty is the Director of the North East Quality Observatory Service (NEQOS) as well as the Implementation Lead for the North East and North Cumbria’s Applied Research Collaborative (ARC NENC) and Joint Director of Research, Innovation and Clinical Effectiveness at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Previous posts include the national Lead for the ‘Better Metrics’ project and the Clinical Effectiveness Lead at the Healthcare Commission. Originally trained as a consultant in Public Health, Paula continues to be an accredited Public Health Physician and has a Doctorate in patient-reported outcome measurement.

Paula’s current research interests are in ‘implementation research’ and she has previously collaborated with Professor David Hunter in Durham University’s Centre for Public Policy and Health on the evaluation of the ‘North East Transformation System’. Paula is an Honorary Professor of Practice at Newcastle University.

Professor Sam Eldabe

Honorary Professor in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 

A picture of Sam Eldabe

Professor Eldabe is an NHS consultant based at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust with 18 years’ experience. He is a consultant in anaesthesia and pain medicine at the James Cook University Hospital and clinical professor of anesthesia and pain medicine at Exeter University. 


His interests include the role of medical devices in improving patient care. A background in anaesthesia has given Sam a broad exposure to all classes of medical technologies from simple Class I devices to the more complex Class IIB.  Work as a chronic pain treatment specialist has afforded Sam experience in research with various class III active implantable devices. He has puplished more than 60 articles on the subjects of pain relief and cost-effectiveness of various pain procedures.

Professor Emily Oliver

Honorary Professor in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 

Professor Emily Oliver

Professor Emily Oliver is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Fellow of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health. 


Her research takes the form of two inter-related strands. First, motivation, in particular how this is sustained and strengthened during crises. This includes understanding how and why people cope differently, with a focus on mental health outcomes.

The second strand focuses on translating these ideas to design equitable interventions and policies to support health and wellbeing. Here, the role of physical activity is centred, alongside consideration of how activity-based interventions can engage individuals or groups who may be excluded from standard approaches or services.