Getting to know us – Dr Janet McNally

We have been asking our team members to take a moment to answer some questions that will let you see the person behind the job rather than just the professional.

Let us introduce you to Dr Janet McNally.

Name: Dr Janet McNally

Born (Place): West Yorkshire

Job Title:  Research Assistant

Why did you choose to work in dementia? 

I have a long background in health and social care and have worked with people living with dementia previously as a mental health social worker. I feel strongly that we need to ensure good quality support for people living with dementia and their carers. I’ve been interested in the work of the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies for some time and was really pleased when a role came up there shortly after I finished my PhD.

Now tell us a little about yourself:

Current and past interests, and jobs

I have a varied CV with experience in mental health, social care, communication disability, research and teaching. I started my career working in Mental Health and a few years into that trained as a psychiatric social worker. I worked in that role in the statutory and voluntary sectors for a number of years before becoming a social work team manager. While working in mental health, I also worked with people with brain injuries and as a result, became interested in communication disability. As such, I retrained as speech and language therapist qualifying in 2009. Since then I have worked in research relating to communication in stroke, autism and infant communication. Part of my current work at the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies is concerned with understanding how far language and communication behaviours might be useful in diagnosing different types of dementia. Outside my research work, I teach psychology, research methods and health and social care for the Open University.

Places you have lived and visited

I have lived most of my life in West Yorkshire, having returned to the area a couple of years after my first degree. I feel a strong connection with Yorkshire having grown up and raised my own children here. It is a great place to be and I am lucky to live in a semi-rural area with beautiful views, lovely countryside and great walks.

While I’ve stayed close to my home town, I’ve also visited many places over the years – Egypt, Mexico, Guatemala and many different parts of Europe. I love Spain and am currently learning Spanish ahead of my next holiday there this year. I would also love to go to Peru some time.

What two things do you consider yourself to be very good at?

I make a mean Pavlova and I almost always beat my husband at squash. I’m quite good at growing vegetables too (that’s three things!).

What two things do you consider yourself to be less good at?

I cannot bake a cake to save my life – something always goes wrong and I am very unhappy if I lose at squash…

 Are there any accomplishments that you are really proud of?

I am most proud of my three children and their achievements! For myself, I am probably most proud (and surprised) about having completed my PhD.

A fun fact about yourself      

I fell from a moving car when I was about 4 years old, thankfully without sustaining any significant injuries.

Where/How do you see yourself in the next three to five years?

Hopefully still making pavlova, growing vegetables and playing squash…


Janet McNally

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019 in Team