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Head and shoulders portrait of Dr Sarah Rowlings facing the camera smiling she has dark hair and green eyes

Welcoming our new Executive Director of Research and External Affairs

Dr Sarah Rawlings will be joining the MS Society this November as our new Executive Director of Research and External Affairs.

Sarah comes to us from King’s College London, where she is Deputy Director of the Policy Institute, as well as Director of Policy Impact and Engagement. In her current role she oversees communications and engagement, and leads health and mental health research. She also works with senior academics and policymakers to try to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing society.

Sarah works closely with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, which she helped set up in 2018.

12 years in the charity sector

Before joining King’s College London, Sarah worked in the charity sector for over 12 years. Most recently she was at the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, leading teams focussed on policy development, public affairs, campaigning, and service improvements.

As our Executive Director of Research and External Affairs, Sarah will oversee our policy, PR and influencing work, as well as our research programme.

Focus on research and speaking up for MS

Sarah says: “I’m really excited about this role and can’t wait to get started. Having worked in the charity sector for many years I’ve admired the MS Society’s fantastic work for some time. I believe we have a real opportunity to influence change and achieve the maximum possible impact for people living with and affected by MS.”

“Because of the pandemic, it’s a very challenging and unusual time for many people and organisations. But it’s essential our work carries on. My focus will be on making sure our vital research continues, and the changing needs of our MS community get the attention they deserve in government.”

Building dens and getting muddy

Sarah adds: “When I’m not working, you’ll most likely find me trying to keep up with my two sons, who are 11 and 7. We’re very lucky to have Epping Forest on our doorstep where we spend a lot of time cycling, walking, building dens and getting muddy.

"I also love books and one of the things I’ve missed most while working from home has been the time on the tube to read.”

Sarah replaces Dr Susan Kohlhaas, who left the MS Society in July to become Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Sarah will start her new role with us on 16 November, and we're looking forward to welcoming her!