Professor Mary Cowern
Born in South Wales Mary has spent the last 20 years working in a needs-led environment within the third sector. She has significant experience in policy and public affairs work, patient representation and research. Her policy work began when she became board lead on UK policy at Arthritis Care in 1999 and chaired the UK Public Affairs Committee from 2004 – 2010. Currently, Mary holds a senior leadership post with the UK charity Versus Arthritis as Wales Director, heading up the strategic and operational leadership of the charity in Wales and leading on the Nation’s policy and public affairs agendas.
Mary has 19 years experience in public and patient representation work. She was co-author of Building Partnerships – Involving Patients and has given presentations on best practice in public and patient involvement at key forums including the European Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare and the Welsh Government’s Clinical Governance Forum.
From 2006 – 2015 Mary was a patient advisor with the National Joint Registry (NJR). The registry helps to monitor the performance of joint implants across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and measures the effectiveness of different types of surgery, improving clinical standards and benefiting patients, clinicians and the orthopaedic industry.
She is a patient partner with OMERACT (linked to the Cochrane Collaboration Musculoskeletal Review Group). OMERACT strives to improve endpoint outcome measurement through a data-driven, iterative consensus process involving relevant stakeholder groups. Mary is also currently Chair of the Long Term Conditions Alliance Cymru, participates in a number of Welsh Government working groups, task groups and boards and is a member of the Welsh Arthritis Research Network (WARN).
As well as winning a number of awards for her work supporting people living with arthritis, Mary has given lectures and presentations on arthritis, pain, musculoskeletal conditions, disability, co-production and self-care to audiences across National, European and International platforms.
Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 20, Mary is a passionate advocate of patient empowerment and self-management principles and is delighted to have the opportunity to put her strategic, management, analytical and leadership skills to effective use as a member of the Bevan Commission.