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Published: 15 May 2024

In conversation with Dr Therese McGlacken, Specialist Registrar in Public Health Medicine

Dr Therese McGlacken, Specialist Registrar in Public Health Medicine

Dr Therese McGlacken has joined us for six months as part of her Higher Speciality Training in Public Health Medicine. Having worked as a GP for several years, Therese tells us about her placement with us and why she chose to train in public health medicine.

“I’ve always been interested in the interrelationship between environment and health and the importance of preventative medicine. For these reasons I have a particular interest in population health screening and identifying those who have an increased chance of developing a disease and its complications. So, I’m invested in our four national screening programmes which aim to improve population health by reducing illness and death, and reduce inequities in screening.”

Therese’s placement with us is part of a four-and-a-half-year training scheme coordinated by the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. As part of her training Therese received a first-class honours masters degree in Public Health from University College Dublin. Prior to this Therese completed a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Galway and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at the University of Warwick, UK, before finishing GP training with the Irish College of General Practitioners.

Therese says her placement so far has helped her gain an in-depth understanding of the principles of screening, the potential benefits and risks to the population, and the importance of quality assurance and governance structures.

“I’ve been given the opportunity to demonstrate my ability to evaluate health services, and develop my knowledge and understanding of quality improvement. I’ve been working with a multidisciplinary team assessing population needs, taking a whole-systems approach, and improving quality through research and evaluation. So far, I’ve worked with research and information experts, GPs, colposcopy and pathology advisors, communications and behavioural science experts. I’ve engaged with public health clinical experts and have been working collaboratively with senior clinical leaders to assist in quality and service improvement initiatives.”

Therese has also had the opportunity to collaborate nationally and internationally to share best practice, align research priorities and contribute to research. “I’m involved in research into attitudes relating to HPV self-sampling for cervical screening, evaluation of the personal cervical screening review process, and a quality improvement initiative relating to equity in cervical screening for women in their 60s.”

On a day-to-day basis, Therese works with the team to progress these projects. She attends a variety of meetings and chairs research and learning seminars.

Therese says the work is varied and interesting. “I would highly recommend the National Screening Service as a specialty placement to other Specialist Registrars. I’ve developed leadership skills and am working with a wonderful team and trainer.”