Global Women’s Health Ambassador
I trained as a doctor many years ago and loved learning every last microscopic detail about how our amazing bodies work and how far we’ve come in improving healthcare, but I always felt a little disillusioned about the lack of holistic approach to patients once I started working.
Growing up in Austria, a country with a public health system very supportive of complementary medicine and raised by a mother who has a herbal tonic for every ailment, I found myself a little torn between my intrinsic trust in all things natural and my newly acquired, evidence-based knowledge about disease and their treatments. I could not understand why the various aspects of healing are so estranged. I’ve always believed that one approach need not exclude the other.
I left my medical career mid-path when my husband got the opportunity to move to Spain with his work and threw myself into the next adventure, motherhood! Whilst societal pressures often made me reevaluate my choice, I am so grateful for the last ten plus years, which allowed me to give 100 per cent to this multi-tasking position!
I have an incredibly supportive husband and we are lucky enough to have been able to sustain me being a stay at home mum for the past many years. We lived seven years in the wonderful Girona, where I met Mun and where I first began to understand the power of the female support system. With neither of our families nearby, support from other women during the process of integrating into the culture of a new country, learning a new language and adapting to the role of being a mum was indispensable. When we moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2012, again, the power of the female network made the transition easy.
I feel privileged to live in a country where so many cultures live and strive alongside each other, and the relationships amongst the women of the UAE are built on curiosity, respect, embracing differences and searching for commonalities.
My children are older now, and I am ready to rediscover all the other aspects my feminine soul is passionate about. Whilst I never truly missed clinical medicine, I missed the altruistic aspects of being a doctor, and I also really missed science. I had long played with the idea of doing a Masters in Public Health at the renowned London School of Health and Tropical Medicine in London, but they only just recently opened up their program to be available fully online. So at the ripe old age of 44 I enrolled myself and am currently studying in my second year! I still have doubts and worries about opportunities and being a “mature” student with a huge employment gap, but as soon as I started the first few modules, I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do. Not treating individual patients that are already ill, but working with communities in improving all the wider distal and proximal determinants of health and wellbeing. Whilst there are so many exciting aspects of Public Health, I am most excited about Women’s Health and hope to become an active part in changing women’s lives for the better locally and globally. Adolescent Health gets a lot of attention, and I believe the foundations of female empowerment are certainly laid there, but there seems to be a lack of focus on the transitionary phase of menopause, something I am excited to change.
I’m honoured to be part of GRACE of No AGE.