1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Department of Health Studies?
My role as the new Head of Department of Health Studies is promoting healthy and resilient communities and the environment through supporting the development of high quality and inclusive curricula. We are occupying a space where populations engage with their environments for the value of health in a multidisciplinary context. I am an Occupational Therapist by profession and have worked for 25 years in hospitals and communities around the world and am still collaborating with the NHS. My focus and research in the more recent years has shifted from a clinical environment to lifestyle management in the community and higher education in health and social care. This is integral to workforce planning and workforce transformation in the UK for all our health.
2. Could you expand on what it’s like to be Head of a brand new department?
This new role resonates with one of the core values of occupational therapy where health is determined by meaningful engagement with the environment and therefore I am very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this. Being part of developing a new department requires targeted networking and partnership building both internally and externally to position the department strategically for our students and for Royal Holloway. This is an opportunity to build on established resources and the strengths of Royal Holloway and at the same time develop new reach and increase our footprint in health education and research in innovative areas. It is inspiring and exciting to meet new people in a variety of sectors from different disciplines all working for a common goal to achieve health.
3. What are the main aims that you're working towards in the Department of Health Studies?
The Department of Health Studies will cross the human/environment boundaries and develop the space where engagement occurs in innovative ways; drawing on meaningful representative narratives and relevant data. We will develop our curricular and our focus using an advisory board which is diverse and global. The five year plan is to develop five programmes: four postgraduate and one undergraduate programme for this department. All our students will have the opportunity to experience challenge lead placements where they will develop their leadership and enterprise skills as well as their networks for future employment.
4. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway?
It’s a privilege to be able to work for Royal Holloway. It has a notable history and a beautiful site which is awe-inspiring. Everyone is very welcoming and friendly and I feel honoured to be able to collaborate and work with people with such significant research profiles and with a wealth of knowledge and experience in higher education and research from different sectors.
5. How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
Outside of work I am a mother and a dog owner. I appreciate good food, wine, music, friends and family. I like Flamenco dancing and enjoy watching Gogglebox! Travelling was on high on the list before COVID and hopefully will be again soon.