News & Blog

Sue Ziebland, Health Experiences Research Group, 16th September 2010

It all seems very back to schoolish this week...

... end of September deadlines for grant applications (and doctorate submissions ...) are suddenly very close, cycle lights will soon be needed at both ends of the day and the lunchtime soups will start seeming more appealing than the salads.

We had our largest ever Health Experiences Research Group Researchers’ meeting this week (19 of us , how did that happen?); it was splendid to see everyone and to welcome Ulla back from maternity leave. There is an incredible amount going on. I also attended the DIPEX charity Trustees meeting this week where everything seems really buzzy and positive with lots of new projects and improvements to the website lined up. The launch of the menopause section in December already seems to be attracting lots of press and media interest – Jenny Hislop is working with the Charity’s PR team to line up some interviews and case studies for news articles to coincide with the launch.

The charity have commissioned a film about our work and at the end of the meeting we were shown the near final version, which will appear on Ann McPherson and Jenny Hislop were absolute naturals (and I look as embarrassed as I felt at engaging in open air puffery outside the Bar at Green Templeton College).

Conference season
We’ve been presenting our work at various conferences during the last few weeks. Sara Ryan went to the International Sociology Association conference in Sweden, four of us were at the BSA Medical Sociology conference in Durham (Alison Chapple presented our paper on viewing the body after traumatic death – now published in BMJ ; Jenny Hislop talked about HRT and menopause and Laura Griffiths gave a paper on her psychosis study). There were good plenaries from Anne Rogers (Manchester) and Carl May (en route from Mewcastle to Southampton) and we all very much enjoyed catching up with our med soc tribe, which of course required a certain amount of celebratory eating and drinking.

Louise Locock, Jenny Hislop and Lisa Hinton had a flat share in Verona for the few days of EACH conference (Louise on people’s experiences of taking part in clinical trials, Lisa on infertility and the internet and Jenny on menopause). And then in a few weeks Ann McPherson, Louise, Adam Barnett and I are all presenting at the Royal College of GPs conference in October, in Harrogate. We’re aiming to get some appealing materials (information prescription pads, sticky notes etc.) designed for to remind GPs to let their patients know about the site.

Women of the year lunch, Balliol College
Ann McPherson and I have just attended (16th Sept) an Oxfordshire Women of the Year lunch at Balliol College run by the Mulberry Bush Organisation. Nicola Horlick (professional juggler of work and 6 children) and Emma Soames (editor of Saga magazine) were the after-lunch speakers. Seating is randomly allocated yet I ended up next to someone I had published with about 18 years ago and someone I’d once interviewed as part of my oral history training. Am feeling encouraged that we fairly quickly worked out how we knew each other – unlike a conference a few years ago where I got chatting to a woman over coffee who felt sure that she knew me from somewhere. I explained that I just have that sort of face; people often think they know me (true) but she was quite adamant so we started running through where I was at school, where I’d lived (takes a long time) where I’ve worked (this is quicker), child’s school, jobs, partner’s jobs. .... until she suddenly slapped her forehead and pronounced that she’d finally remembered where she knew me from: she had seen me present a paper at another conference the previous Tuesday.


Random tips
Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes (dir Campanella). Fabulous acting, sparky dialogue, great characters, nasty murder, revenge, a romantic scene on a railway platform (and no car chase). Fabulous.


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