Experience and education
I'm an unusual mix of brain and sense. Mostly sense.
I qualified as a general and children's nurse at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street in the early eighties, eventually specialising in children's intensive care at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
By the late nineties I had a first degree - a Cambridge M.A. in biological anthropology, then a Cambridge Ph.D. in cot death and an M.Sc. in Science Communication from Imperial College, London.
If I get very desperate there's a vague memory that I could drag up and mine for your interest - my Certificate in Tropical Medicine and Certificate in Basic Laboratory Experience and Parasite Diagnosis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1988.
I know more than can possibly be useful about such disparate areas as intensive care, prostate cancer, cot death, the introduction of the potato to Bavaria in the 18th Century and the teeth of non-human primates.
Most importantly though, is my interest in service delivery by health charities.
Getting to grips with projects....
The kind of project work I would do for you involves finding, creating or marshalling evidence, identifying gaps and solutions and, usually, writing it all up. I have considerable experience of conducting research and presenting it in a structured, clear and persuasive manner.
I have written in a wide range of ways including
- drafting many NICE responses
- drafting a briefing delivered in the House of Lords;
- assisting in drafting a submission to the Health Select Committee,
- drafting a campaigning document on lung transplant
- creating many conference and seminar presentations
- in the Press and online,
- a chapter in a nursing text book
- award winning patient information
- website copy
- several published peer reviewed academic papers
- and I now blog.
Whilst I can be quite the nerd at times, I do possess the usual range of social skills and I will work effectively on your behalf with the public, medical professionals and charity staff of differing ages and backgrounds from across all the usual charity functions.
Health is social science, not just medicine
I bring familiarity with policy-relevant range of social, health and cultural issues to my work on your behalf.
I will understand the medical aspects of your cause but find social rather than medical models of illness are far more use when working out how best to deliver health charities' operations.
I am interested in the social determinants of health because they impinge so much on the public’s information and health seeking behaviours. Social determinants inevitably feed into thinking about health inequalities and how charities can tackle them through their services.
Then there's 'survivorship' and 'living with'.....
As well as experience in the health, medical and charity sectors I am affiliated to the Institute of Gerontology, King's College, London to facilitate my interests in older people and inequalities in health, particularly in cancer care.
I have recently completed an 18 month stint as a researcher on a ESRC funded qualitative study, of life after liver transplant.
I worked for several years in policy and research at Prostate Cancer UK formerly The Prostate Cancer Charity, hence a working interest in both men's health and gendered health and also considerable media experience.
I have maintained a good grip of England’s policy agenda in cancer and will pick up the details in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with ease. I have recently completed a small policy-based project on lung transplant, for a leading health charity.
Health, ageing and co-morbidities
Whilst enthusiastic about any health issues and service delivery in charities, I am particularly and personally interested in advancing service delivery, charity expertise and knowledge of the support and information needs of older people (those aged 75+) with more than one long term condition and compounded by age related problems like incontinence or immobility.
I am interested in patient and user interviews in these vulnerable populations and so I am developing a parallel interest in the ethics of user involvement within health charities.
One day, I’d like to define the health charity agenda where caring for ageing men and women acknowledges the social determinants of health, the complexity introduced by co-morbidities and geriatric syndromes and mitigates mainstream ambivalence towards older people and which will dovetail with social care.
Where interest fails me….
‘Awareness raising’ by health charities isn't really a health promotional or service delivery activity any more. It is far more aligned to fundraising, PR and marketing objectives than it is with health. As I am neither a fundraiser nor a marketeer I do not do any projects with awareness raising as the expected main outcome.