ASH Board of Trustees

ASH is governed by a Board of Trustees of twelve people. The ASH Board of Trustees is made up of a wealth of experience and knowledge in the tobacco control field. Its members are chosen at our Annual General Meeting by an Advisory Council of more than 70 eminent people from fields such as medicine, public health, public relations and politics.

Professor Sanjay Agrawal
Professor Sanjay Agrawal is a Consultant in Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Treating tobacco dependency effectively in the NHS has been a key focus as well as wider tobacco control measures. Dr Agrawal chairs the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group.

Dr Somen Banerjee
Somen is Director of Public Health (DPH) at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. He is also co-chair of the London Association of the Directors of Public Health Network (ADPH) and DPH lead for tobacco for the London Network.  He has worked in Tower Hamlets for over ten years. He completed his public health training in Oxford where he gained experience working with the World Health Organisation, Department of Health, National Institute for Clinical Excellence, Public Health Observatories and the British Heart Foundation Academic Unit in Oxford University.

Rt. Hon. Paul Burstow
Paul Burstow holds a number of non-executive leadership roles across the health and social care sector including the Independent Chair at Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System, Chair of St Andrew’s Healthcare, a charity providing specialist mental healthcare for patients with complex mental health needs, Chair of the independent charity SCIE (The Social Care Institute for Excellence) and combines his interests in social care with an interest in technology enabled care (TEC) as President of the TEC Services Association.  Paul interests in mental health saw him appointed Chair of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust where he is involved in promoting the Trust’s work in developing and deploying new models of children and young people’s mental health and new approaches to workplace resilience.


Alison Cox (Vice-Chair)
Alison Cox is Director for Policy and Research at the Global Climate and Health Alliance. Alison is also President of the Smokefree Partnership. Having begun her career with environmental campaigning organisations including Greenpeace International, Alison went on to lead strategy development and direct advocacy for global public health alliances: for the Framework Convention Alliance, bringing the civil society to voice to the WHO treaty on tobacco control; and for the Non-Communicable Disease Alliance working to increase the integration of NCDs and their risk factors into the global development agenda. As Prevention Director at Cancer Research UK, she led successful campaigns for restrictions on tobacco and junk food marketing, and built an international programme to support tobacco control advocacy in LMICs.

Kate Harrison (Treasurer)
Kate Harrison is a Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the ICAEW.  She has worked in charity finance since 2007 and is currently a Finance Business Partner at the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Nicholas Hopkinson MA PhD FRCP (Chair)
Professor Nicholas Hopkinson is a Reader in Respiratory Medicine & Honorary Consultant Physician at The National Heart and Lung Institute of Imperial College and the Royal Brompton Hospital where he runs the Advanced COPD service.  His research focuses on addressing exercise and activity limitation in COPD in areas including pulmonary physiology and lung volume reduction, skeletal muscle impairment and pulmonary rehabilitation. He chairs the British Thoracic Society COPD Specialist Advisory Group and is also active in tobacco control advocacy. He trained at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and The London Hospital Medical School and subsequently at St George’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals.

Jonathan McShane
Jonathan has a wealth of experience in public health at a local and national level. He was Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Devolution in the London Borough of Hackney, Chair of Hackney’s Health and Wellbeing Board and represented the Local Government Association on public health issues for many years. He currently chairs a number of national public health committees and advises NHS organisations and councils on all aspects of health and social care. He is also Chair of the Terrence Higgins Trust and a trustee of the Shoreditch Town Hall Trust.

Dr Debbie Robson
Debbie is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. Her current role involves the development, implementation and evaluation of tobacco dependence treatment initiatives for people with a mental health condition and/ or substance use disorder who smoke.

Dr Helen Walters
Dr Helen Walters is Public Health Consultant Advisor to the Public Health Research Programme for NIHR working at the national coordinating centre in Southampton University. She focuses on the funding of research that is relevant to Public Health practice, particularly in local government. Helen brings extensive experience of coal-face Public Health practice having led the Health Team in the Mayor of London’s office for five years. Prior to this Helen was Director of Public Health for the City of Westminster, Consultant in Public Health in Portsmouth, has been a GP partner and served as an elected member in her district council. Helen is the Tobacco lead for the UK Faculty of Public Health and a trustee of St Mungo’s.

The ASH Advisory Council

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a small public health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco. ASH was established in January 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians. We do not attack smokers or condemn smoking.

The governing body of the Charity is the Advisory Council which is made up of around 90 individuals whose activities and experiences are relevant to our work. The involvement of such people is invaluable to the work we do. The Council meets at least once a year. As ASH is both a charity and a company limited by guarantee, from a legal point of view, the Members of the Council are also the Members of the Company.

The Council has three important functions:

  1. To elect the Board of Directors (who are also the Trustees of the Charity).
  2. To advise the Board on important matters of policy and strategy.
  3. To approve the annual accounts, receive activity reports, appoint the auditors and generally hold the Board to account for the work of ASH in the previous year.

These functions are mainly carried out at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) though, from time to time, additional meetings of the Advisory Council may take place. The AGM usually takes place during December of each year.

ASH welcomes applications to join the Advisory Council from BAME, LGBT+, women and those with disabilities.

ASH has limited resources and does not provide renumeration for either Trustees or Members of the Council. However, we welcome expressions of interest in joining the Council from suitably experienced people. If you are interested, you should send your curriculum vitae and covering letter, marked for the attention of the Company Secretary, to .

Phil Rimmer
Company Secretary
22 June 2020