Alison, you are a trainee at EuroHealthNet, what motivated you to come and work in our organisation?
I’m just starting in the field of Public Health, and I’m based in Brussels. EuroHealthNet is the perfect place to get an overview of a wide range of Public Health organisations throughout Europe, and to get a sense of how decisions are made and influenced. I’ve just started studying Public Health with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and every day at EuroHealthNet I’m learning about the challenges faced by our society and how they are being addressed.
What is your greatest interest in EuroHealthNet’s work?
I think there’s enormous value in constantly bringing the debate back to equity. There have been amazing advances in health, but I know from my own experience, if you are living in a rural area, or if you are a foreigner, or if you already have an advanced illness and don’t have anyone to fight for you, your health is much more vulnerable. I think the kind of treatment or medical advice we receive is often down to luck. Isn’t that crazy, in modern Europe? So EuroHealthNet seems to be banging a drum, saying, “Don’t forget that everyone needs to move forward, everyone’s needs should be considered.”
Do you intend to continue working in the health sector / EU world?
I’d like to work in raising awareness on maybe a single public health issue, but more generally in improving people’s awareness of their own health. For better or worse, I think we are moving towards individuals having to bear much more of the burden of fighting for their own health, and how can they do that if they don’t understand the health system, or don’t know the right questions to ask? Even the most educated person can find the health system bewildering. So I’d like to work with an organisation that’s addressing those challenges directly.
Alison reports to the Operations Officer and supports the implementation of our Network Development Action Plan. She has got s a degree in International Relations from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and a Master’s in Rural Development from Queen’s University Belfast. She worked with several community development organisations in Northern Ireland, and spent one year in South Africa, studying Rural Development. She has just started studying Public Health modules from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Distance Learning programme. She has lived in Brussels since 2006.