Dr. Kevin Mc Kenna : Conference Chairperson

Dr. Kevin Mc Kenna

Conference Chairperson

Kevin has extensive healthcare experience in Ireland and US in clinical practice, administration, education, and research roles. In addition to nursing qualifications he holds undergraduate and post graduate degrees in psychology and education.

Kevin has a special interest in conflict and aggression within health and social care, and in supporting organisations in providing services free from restrictive practices. He has led a number of national and international educational, practice and research initiatives related to these subject areas including authoring ‘Linking Services and Safety’, the Irish Health Service Executive strategy on responding to aggression within Irish health services, the Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Strategy of the Irish Mental Health Commission, and serving as subject expert within the Irish and UK health services.

Kevin is a lecturer in Dundalk Institute of Technology Ireland where he led the development of the first academically accredited programme for instructors in complex behaviours [including aggression and violence] within health and social care. In addition to his academic post, he is a part time practitioner, and remains research active in a number of practice related areas.

Dwayne Smith : Conference Chairperson

Dwayne Smith

Conference Chairperson

As an EBLE (Expert by Lived Experience), Dwayne has extensive lived experience and forged cross-organisational partnerships and collaborations with entities such as CQC (Care Quality Commission), BILD, NHS England, Cygnet Group, and Priory Healthcare. Working with these organisations has enabled close collaboration with diverse physical and mental health service stakeholders, from service users and caregivers to clinicians, managers, directors and commissioners. His commitment lies in preserving the voices of lived experiences at the core of our conversations.

At a senior management level, Dwayne actively engage in Clinical Governance meetings, Safeguarding sessions, and Policy Review and Development, advocating for service user representation. His leadership extends to chairing meetings and promoting culturally competent care whilst fostering effective communication.

Furthermore, Dwayne played a pivotal role in shaping care models, challenging KPI data, and influencing the national QI program on MHA, emphasising equity and genuine user needs.

Iris Benson MBE : Conference Chairperson

Iris Benson MBE

Conference Chairperson

Iris is a Service User Carer Rep, Expert by Experience, Lead on No Force First and Service User Lead on Values Based Recruitment and a Peer worker, for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool. She is passionate about Co-production, Co-delivery and Recovery.

Iris has been accessing services for over 25 years, with both good and bad experiences, even though most days she can be very symptomatic, with distressing voices, hallucinations, she lives a meaningful fulfilling life, despite her mental and physical health.

Iris is passionate about using her lived experience of being restrained, and many inpatient stays over a long period of time to help inform the transformation of services to further support peoples recovery. She believes that everyone has a gift, and that service users (people) should be enabled and fully supported to be able to use their many talents, to harness all the strengths they have to help others, and give Hope and Opportunity to all for a very different future.

Iris is involved in a wide range of things within Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, working alongside staff and others who have supported and helped her on what has been a long, difficult and sad journey at times. She remains in services and feels that without all the support from her family, friends and many staff that she wouldn’t be alive today.

Dr. Brodie Paterson : Conference Chairperson

Dr. Brodie Paterson

Conference Chairperson

Dr. Paterson is an experienced clinician, manager, and researcher with degrees in psychology, education and social policy and has published more than a hundred papers, book chapters and research reports. He has held posts in the NHS, academia, and the private sector. His present research interests include the development and evaluation of trauma informed professional curricula, the significance of compassion fatigue in human services and how we can ensure an understanding of the significance of trauma underpins policy and practice at a national level. He presently Chairs the European Network for Trainers in the Management of Aggression, is a trustee of UK Restraint Reduction network and a member of Scottish Restrictive Reduction Network. He is an Honorary fellow Ad Eundem of the Faculty of Nursing of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and a Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Scientists.