After working for over 20 years in the NHS in local and regional roles she moved into Higher Education and helped shape the Health Care Evaluation Unit, a pre-curser to NICE. She was pivotal in the educational developments introduced to support and recognise the potential of Nurse Specialists in the delivery of Diabetes Care.
In the early 2000s, as the lead of the New Generation Project (NGP), she transformed curriculum across health, medical and social work programmes to bring students together to learn on an interprofessional basis. The work of the NGP gained international recognition across health care and education systems that were focused on improving interprofessional team work in practice.
Moving into leadership roles Debra has held posts as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Southampton and Vice-Provost (Education) at Imperial College. In both institutions, she led and enabled change and innovation to the curriculum and the wider student experience.