Our Director

SPZ Associates Director, Dr Sophie Olszowski is an award- winning writer who – a little longer ago – was a medical researcher; she has a PhD from London University which explored the chemistry of motor neurone disease and dementia. For the last thirty years, Sophie has worked at the junction where patients, the public and the medical/social care professions meet, including as an editor for Research Involvement and Engagement, Director of Biomedical Science at The Mental Health Foundation, Head of External Relations at the Association of Medical Research Charities and Director of Patient Involvement for the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

Sophie has worked with a vast range of NHS organisations, from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Health Foundation Trust, as well as writing for all the UK broadsheets, the BBC, New Scientist, Nature, British Medical Journal, Lancet, Health Service Journal, the Wellcome Trust and several pharmaceutical and related companies. She was an Editor for several journals of the Rapid Communications group and lead journalist for the Department of Health mental health anti-stigma campaign (2001-4), devising an approach that she was invited to adapt for the Open Society Institute (Budapest) and for mental health reporting in the USA.

Sophie’s passion is creating clear and compelling messages from often complex information and has much enjoyed collaborating in many ways for more than 20 years with the award-winning Theatre of Debate (formerly Y Touring). As their scientific adviser she has supported many of their projects which, through drama and written resources, bring scientific dilemmas to school and public audiences. She has written two books along the way: Doctor, What’s Wrong? Making the NHS human again (Routledge), which was praised by the Guardian as “Clever, unconventional…. This important, original book ought to be in every doctor’s waiting room” and How to be an Even Better Chair (Pearson). In spare moments, Sophie writes fiction: in 2015 she won the Red Line international short story award forDon’t go, darling boyand in 2017 was runner up in the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival Award, with https://www.budlitfest.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Sophie-Olszowski-runner-up-17.pdf

On March 3rd 2021, Sophie’s world changed beyond measure with the death of her beloved husband, Simon. His incredible, holistic hospice care, echoing that Sophie’s mother received 23 years earlier, sees Sophie now working to improve access to good end of life care for all who need it, and encouraging greater openness about death and dying, bereavement and grief.