She was the college's first female Chair for 50 years, the previous female Chair having been Dr Annis Gillie. She qualified in medicine at UCL Medical School in 1982 and then trained in psychiatry. Gerada cites her main interests of work as being around mental health and substance misuse and has spent over her professional career leading the development of primary care substance (alcohol, drugs) services in England.
She started work in general practice in Lambeth, London, in 1992, after working at the Maudsley Hospital, London, on substance abuse. She was awarded an MBE in 2000 "for service to medicine and to drug misusers". She has also been Director of Primary Care for the National Clinical Governance Team and Senior Medical Advisor to the Department of Health, and is Medical Director of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme, which provides confidential medical advice for doctors and dentists.
She is one of the partners in the Hurley Group which runs a number of GP practices and walk-in centres across London. She was Chair of Clinical Board, Primary Care Transformation, NHS England (London Region) but resigned in April 2015 so she could speak out against what she calls the Conservatives’ ‘desperate quest for privatisation’.