Following on from International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March, we share stories of five inspiring Edinburgh alumnae from the spheres of medicine and health.
Women in Medicine
In the almost 50 years that separate the graduations of this month's featured alumnae, the gender split in medicine has flipped around and new technologies have enabled online studies.
1966 classmates Christa Hook and Judith Mackay share details from their lively international careers and the battles along the way. 1990s alumnae Sarah Tabrizi and Catherine Elliott both describe working at a university, but with different responsibilities. And Clara Mpanga, the first female Malawian graduate of Surgical Sciences, shares her experiences of being an online distance learner.
From South Africa to Somalia and hospital wards to war zones, Dr Christa Hook's global career can be described as a spiral.
So the results of field research, contextual knowledge of different countries and socio-economic systems, and an understanding of the restraints experienced by dedicated workers in conflict and resource–poor circumstances, came together with the sound clinical and public health foundation gained from my time Edinburgh.
Based in Hong Kong since the late sixties, committed feminist Professor Judith Mackay is a leading advocate of tobacco control, a role that comes with powerful industry adversaries.
My proudest accolade is to have been identified by the tobacco industry as one of the three most dangerous people in the world.
Professor Sarah Tabrizi describes her journey to setting up the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre and her focused efforts to find an effective treatment for this devastating neurodegenerative disease.
I really did love medical school and threw myself wholeheartedly in. Those of you who knew me at the time and remember me at medical school always said that I was very enthusiastic!
Two-time Edinburgh graduate Dr Catherine Elliott returned to the University to become College Registrar for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine after roles in clinical medicine and medical law in London.
I made fantastic friends in Medicine and other courses – a group of about ten of us still meet for an annual weekend and the friendships made at University have remained a very important part of my life.
After juggling Edinburgh's online MSc in Surgical Sciences with a masters in Malawi, Dr Clara Mpanga is now an orthopaedic consultant and board member of Women in Surgery in Africa (WiSA).
The study format was very engaging and the smaller groups encouraged every individual to participate and acquire the necessary knowledge on the topic, irrespective of the resources available in each country.