The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation
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Doctor Catherine Heffernan

Nationality: Ireland

Year: 2000

Subject Area: Social Sciences

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In 2000, I was awarded a Wingate Scholarship for my doctoral work on sexually transmitted infections and sexual behaviours in Ireland. My thesis, entitled “STIs, Sex and the Irish”, investigated the reasons why reported rates of sexually transmitted infections (other than HIV/AIDS) in Ireland increased threefold over the last decade of the 20th century. In 2002, I completed my thesis and graduated with a D.Phil. in Sociology from the University of Oxford. I had a number of publications arising from my work, including a monograph, which was used in Irish national policy for sexual health. It attracted some media attention too! That same year, I commenced a three year post-doctoral position at the Department of Public Health, University of Oxford. My research consisted of developing clinical guidelines for the provision of care for patients with motor neurone disease and statistical methods for dealing with missing data in quality of life instruments. I also held a lectureship in health and disease and taught public health, social science and research methodologies. In 2005, I became a Specialist Registrar in Public Health at Yorkshire Deanery. My job has entailed rotating to a number of locations and since July 2007, I have been based at the Department of Health where I have led on the national guidance for pandemic flu planning for mental health services and pandemic flu planning for vulnerable groups. I recently started work on two national screening projects and I am developing a strategy for prevention of violence in schools in the United Kingdom. I hope to finish my training in January 2009 and take a post as a Consultant in Public Health. I have retained my academic background, becoming a Lecturer in Public Health at University of Leeds in 2007 and I continue to publish on sexual health and other public health issues.