Professor George Crooks


Professor George Crooks is currently the Chief Executive of the Digital Health and Care Institute, Scotland’s national innovation centre for digital health and care. He leads an organisation that is tasked with delivering innovation in digital health and care that will help Scotland’s people to live longer, healthier lives, deliver sustainable health and care services for the future and create economic benefits for Scotland. DHI provides opportunities for Scotland’s public sector, academia and industry to co-design digital solutions to some of the country’s biggest health and care challenges working with patients, service users and their families.

He was previously the Medical Director for NHS 24 and Director of the Scottish Centre for Telehealth & Telecare. George was a General Medical Practitioner for 23 years in Aberdeen latterly combining that role as Director of Primary Care for Grampian. George is on the Board of the European Connected Health Alliance and is past president of the European Health Telematics Association. He is a Board member of TEC Quality, a UK organisation leading the implementation of quality standards and practices across the assisted living sector in the UK. He is an assessor for the European Commission on programmes involving digital health and care provision and is a member of the WHO roster of experts for digital health. He has been an advisor to several European governments and organisations on digital health and care. He is an advisor to Innovate UK for its Industrial Grand Challenge programme for Health Ageing. He is also an adjunct Professor of Telehealth at the University of Southern Denmark.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List 2011 for services to healthcare.

Email address:

George Crooks

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Ruth Dorman MCC, DiPSW, RGN

I am an experienced Chief Executive and a health and social care professional. I appreciate a challenge and believe that improvements can be and are ongoing. I have worked in the field of Health and Community Care since 1981, initially training as a nurse then in the early 90’s training as a social worker, working in the Public Sector until 2005 when I joined the Not for Profit sector. I have gained considerable experience within these fields, holding various executive leadership positions including those of Board Director and Executive Director and currently as Chief Executive Officer of the NHS Credit Union for Scotland and North East England and Chair of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our communities in Scotland, the UK and beyond, now and in the coming years. The realities of the vulnerability experienced within communities, not least through poverty, social exclusion and social expectations. This compounded with less certain security of employment, pensions, benefits and housing is leading our communities into what can be described as a very uncertain time. This together with the challenges of development within limited resources all make the relationships and partnerships we develop key to reducing risk and ensuring all are valued within, and out-with, communities delivering with citizens to develop and improve the control they have of their lives.

I firmly believe that working together we can contribute to the discussion and influence the strategic development and direction of services and poverty reduction in Scotland, the UK and beyond.

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Martin Malcolm | Head of Public Health Intelligence (R&D Lead) | NHS Western Isles

Experienced Public Health Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the health and care sector. Currently Head of Public Health Intelligence & Information Services at NHS Western Isles leading a team of Data Analysts in the design and application of population health and healthcare information systems and evidence.

Also as NHSWI R&I Lead manages a programme of national and international R&I projects aligned to organizational priorities. This includes researching, developing and testing solutions for overcoming the mental and social wellbeing challenges in remote and rural populations. As R&I Lead oversees adherence to research governance standards for research activities in NHSWI.

Skills in Research, Health Informatics, Public Health Informatics, and Quantitative Research. Specialising in researching the area of loneliness and social isolation and their health impacts. Masters in Population Health with Distinction from Manchester University. Ongoing PhD doctorate at University of Stirling in loneliness and Social isolation associations and causal pathways with ill health among older adults. Started a Churchill Fellowship Study to Canada and New Zealand researching Innovative solutions to tackling Social Isolation and Loneliness In Rural Communities.

Email: Tel: +44(0)1851708011

Martin Malcolm

NHS Western Isles | Eilean Siar


John MacDonald (Chair)

Community Engagement Coordinator, SCVO

John MacDonald works for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and is Community Engagement Coordinator for the mPower project. This is an EU funded project involving selected rural health authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which connects older people who are isolated with community based services and activities and with digital tools which enable them to manage their health. Prior to this he was Director for Scotland for the Community Transport Association, Chief Executive at the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Development Officer at SCVO and worked for several years in the IT industry.


John MacDonald

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Prof Sandra MacRury

Consultant Physician, NHS Highland

Chair of Clinical Diabetes

Scottish Rural Health Partnership Executive chair and academic lead, University of the Highlands and Islands

I am a Consultant Physician with a specialty interest in Diabetes and Endocrinology working for NHS Highland. Since 2006 I have been Chair of Clinical Diabetes and from 2019 Head of the School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences at the University of the Highlands and Islands. As a clinician practising in a region with significant rural health challenges my academic interests have evolved around service delivery and innovations in diabetes and remote and rural health care. Within the University this has involved generating research projects and grant funding, establishing the Division of Rural Health and Wellbeing and securing funding to establish the Scottish Rural Health Partnership (SRHP) a membership organisation hosted by the University. SRHP is predicated on knowledge exchange to facilitate multi-sector, multi-disciplinary collaboration with the ultimate goal of improving remote and rural health and social care both nationally and internationally.

Prof Sandra MacRury

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Dr Andrea McColl

Andrea is an experienced economic development specialist and supports life sciences businesses across the Highlands and Islands in their growth ambitions. She engages with potential and existing inward investors who are active in digital health, medical technologies, animal health and marine biotechnology. With a background in project management, marketing and graduate recruitment, she is passionate about growing the talent pool for life sciences and technology in the north of Scotland. She holds a PhD in biomedical research from the University of Dundee and volunteers as a STEM

Ambassador in local schools, and at the Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centre in Inverness.


A McColl

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Ralph Roberts

Chief Executive, NHS Boarders

Ralph Roberts took up the role of Chief Executive of NHS Borders on 22 April 2019 and understands very well the key challenges associated with being the Chief Executive of a rural Board.

During the past 9 years he has been the Chief Executive of NHS Shetland which was a challenging remote and rural environment where he had to take an innovative approach to service delivery and transformation, deploying many different strategies and approaches to delivering the best possible services for patients whilst developing and creating sustainable services moving forward.

He is a professional NHS Manager who has worked for the NHS in Scotland for nearly 30 years. Prior to taking up the role of Chief Executive of NHS Shetland he worked for 15 years in the Scottish Borders in a wide range of roles including Chief Operating Officer where he was responsible for the delivery of all operational services including Acute Adult, Children's, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Primary Care Services. His previously held roles included Director of Planning, Corporate Affairs and General Management. Prior to this he worked as Business Manager and Project Manager at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh having joined the NHS in 1989 as a management trainee for the, then Lothian Health Board

Ralph Roberts

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Claire Stevens

Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Scotland

Since her appointment in 2012 Claire has led a programme of change that has seen VHS build a reputation for punching above its weight as Scotland’s national network and intermediary for voluntary health organisations. Under her leadership VHS has set out to realise the vision of a healthier, fairer Scotland served by a thriving voluntary health sector.

Driven by a strong commitment to social justice Claire has held a wide range of executive and non-executive roles in Scotland’s third and public sectors in a career spanning welfare rights, homelessness, older people, children and young people, and social action. She is proud to be a Fellow of the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations and an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health. She is a Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management, and an Associate Member of the Royal Society for Public Health. Outside of work she is an active Trustee of Bridgend Farmhouse in South Edinburgh, and a striving artist and linguist.


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Profile: Jim Hume, Dip Ag, MBA, ARAgS, Hon Assoc BVA

Jim Hume set up and Convenes the National Rural Mental Health Forum. The Forum has over 180 membership organisations from third, private and public. The Forum run by the mental health organisation Support in Mind Scotland, which has nearly 50 years’ experience in supporting those experiencing poor mental health, mainly in rural Scotland and employs over 120 people.

Jim is a former Member of the Scottish Parliament, having served 9 years from 2007-2016, he co-convened the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Rural Policy, and sat on its Rural Affairs Committee. During his time in Parliament he was a health spokesperson and advocated for mental health, holding the Parliament’s first summit on mental health.

When in Parliament Jim succeeded in getting his own Members’ Bill passed on protecting children in cars from second hand smoke (Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles)(Scotland) Bill).

Prior to being a MSP Jim was a Hill Farmer in the Scottish Borders, during which time he sat on Scottish Enterprise Borders’ board (chairing its Rural Group), he was a founding Director of the South of Scotland Loan Fund Scheme, a member of the Forestry Commission’s South and Central Scotland Forums, a Borders’ Forest Trustee, Chaired the Borders’ Foundation for Rural Sustainability, and was twice on the Board of National Farmers’ Union of Scotland NFUs, once as their Environment & Land Use Committee and once as the President of NFUS Lothians and Borders during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001.


Jim Hume