Meet the team
We are a large, and growing, team consisting of a range of professionals. Listed below is each of our team members, plus a short biography. Click the drop down menus to see the biographies.
Dr Donald Hodge
Dr Aida Semic-Jusufagic
Aida Semic-Jusufagic is a consultant in paediatric allergy at Leeds Children’s Hospital. She has wide range of interests including allergen specific immunotherapy, drug hypersensitivity reactions and transitional care for young adults with allergies.
Dr Semic-Jusufagic has graduated from Marmara Medical School in Istanbul, Turkey. Her professional training includes specialty training in Paediatrics and Child Health and subspecialty training in Paediatric Allergy at Marmara University Hospital (1999-2005). Following this she has moved to Manchester, UK to carry out PhD research project as a part of a large birth-cohort study set to investigate early life risk factors for asthma and allergic disease development. She has been awarded her PhD by University of Manchester in 2010. During and after this time she was also a Clinical Research Fellow in Allergy at University Hospital of South Manchester with regular clinical sessions in adult and paediatric allergy clinics (UHSM; 2006-2016). In 2012 she was awarded Certificate in Human Pharmacology by Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Royal College of Physicians which underpinned her interest in clinical research. Following completion of her PhD she has she was responsible for food allergy research at UHSM as a part of EU-funded collaborative project. She was a principal investigator for study looking into reporting of accidental allergic reactions to food in community among adults using web-based reporting tool. Her other research interests included understanding the effect of food matrix on allergen thresholds among peanut allergic subjects using a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge, allergen specific immunotherapy in allergic rhinitis and asthma in children.
Dr Semic-Jusufagic is a member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI). She has a number of publications in international journals and has presented the findings of her research in a number of international meetings.
Dr Sapna Vadher
Scarlett Davis - Psychologist in Clinical Training
“I often feel that being a Psychologist comes with a bit of mystery about what we actually do and who we are so let me tell you a little bit about me. To become a Psychologist, you have to complete two degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate). I have completed all clinical components of my postgraduate degree but have a small bit of research to finish over the next few months. I studied for both my degrees at the University of Hull and love the University and the city. I am new into the world of allergies and am constantly learning from children, young people and families. I have experience working with children and families with different challenges including physical health difficulties and mental health difficulties. My job involves supporting children and families with allergy related difficulties which can include: anxiety about allergy reactions (particularly if a child has experienced anaphylaxis), support with introducing new foods into a child’s diet, support for parents who are worried about their child’s allergies, support for children who are worried about having an allergy food challenge. Sometimes I meet children and families and we agree that another service would be able to provide more appropriate support. In these circumstances I support families by signposting to other services and completing referrals. When I’m not at work I love being creative, cooking and relaxing with a good book.“
Children's allergy nurses:
Brenda DeWitt - Children’s Allergy Nurse Specialist (Team Leader)
"I am originally from Canada and have worked as a children’s nurse in Canada, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand before moving to the UK in 2004. I initially worked as a Children’s Community Nurse (CCN) in Leeds and completed my MSc (Specialist Practitioner CCN) in 2008.
I have been the lead Children’s Allergy Nurse Specialist (Team Leader) at the Leeds Children’s Hospital since 2009 and have helped develop the allergy service as it has rapidly expanded. I completed my MSc in Allergy (Distinction) at Southampton University in 2014.
Clinically, I am an independent prescriber and I offer twice weekly independent nurse-led allergy clinics as well as monthly medication and immunotherapy clinics. I am responsible for overseeing and managing the inpatient food/medication challenges, as well as coordinating and administering sublingual immunotherapy. I am enthusiastic about participating in allergy research and our allergy team are active in several national and international trials.
My favourite aspects of my role are providing on-going support and care for children/young people and their families, as well as providing formal and informal allergy/anaphylaxis management education sessions to caregivers, nurseries, school nursing teams, university students and at professional conferences.
I am very proud to be the team leader of a fantastic team of experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable children’s allergy nurses."
Gemma Stanley - Children’s Allergy Nurse Specialist
Rebecca Wall - Children’s Allergy Nurse Specialist
Hayley Meers - Children’s Allergy Nurse
I graduated from the University of Salford in 2013 with an honours degree in children's nursing. My beginnings as a staff nurse arose in paediatric intensive care, where I worked for 18 months before joining paediatric general medicine in Spring 2015, where I worked for a further two years. My time as an allergy nurse was only intended to be a six month secondment, however my love for the job and the world of allergies has led me to remaining in this role permanently.
Sally Weir - Children’s Allergy Nurse
I qualified as a paediatric nurse in Newcastle in 1993, where I worked on a children's surgical ward before commencing my career at Leeds General Infirmary in January 1995.
I have spent all my time in Leeds working on busy children's medical wards until joining the children's allergy team in May 2017. It is a great team of medical staff, nurses, dietitians and admin staff who all work closely together to support children and their families on their individual allergy journey. "
Amber White - Children’s Allergy Nurse
Children's Allergy Dietitians:
Anne Cushen - Senior Specialist Children's Allergy Dietitian
Anne graduated in 2003 from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC) with a BSC honours degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with registration. She completed her dietetic placement at: Barts Health NHS Trust (London). Anne has also completed the Newcastle Allergy Course at MSc level.
Anne has gained a wealth of experience over the years from working in various roles in the NHS to provide dietetic advice and expertise. She is particularly passionate about working with children with allergies to improve growth, well-being and overall quality of life. She has extensive experience in dealing with children and babies with allergies and in particular cows’ milk allergy.
She is a Member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) including specialist groups and is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).
Renia Richardson - Children's Allergy Dietitian
Renia graduated in 1995 with a Bsc(Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics degree and commenced working as an adult dietitian at St Lukes hospital in Bradford. In 1999 she moved to Leeds to specialise in paediatrics and has been working in children's allergy since 2014.
Renia is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council and is a member of both the BDA Food Allergy Specialist Group and Paediatric group.
Charlotte Veitch - Children's Allergy Dietitian
Charlotte graduated for Leeds Metropolitan University in 2005 with a Bsc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics degree. In 2005 she began working within Oldham Community Dietetic Service as an adult dietitian. Continuing in Oldham Community she started working in paediatrics in 2010. Moving to join the Leeds allergy team in 2018.
Charlotte is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), she is a member of the British Dietetic Assocation (BDA) where she is also a member of both the Food Allergy Specialist Group and Paediatric group.
Annette Weaver - Children's Allergy Dietitian
Children's Allergy Team Secretary:
The allergy team also works closely with other specialist services including:
- Paediatric respiratory medicine
- Paediatric gastroenterology
- Ear, nose and throat surgery