Two women, two conferences, one tiny car

In August 2018, Jo and Lucie went to the West Coast of Ireland for two very different, excellent conferences. Being Change Exchangers, we decided to take a different approach and thus began an epic road trip in a smart car.

Drive to Holyhead, ferry to Dublin and a drive across Ireland, and we arrived in Limerick for the Towards Unity for Health Conference. A truly international affair, the conference reported on the work of educators all over the world, working to make health professional education more socially accountable. Social accountability is really ensuring that the work of the university serves the community. In some countries, medical schools were setting up clinics in areas of low-resource, staffed by the tutors and students. Students were learning, communities were being served and the benefit of the community coming together was greater than the sum of the parts.

A trip along the Wild Atlantic Way led us to a couple of days in the Wild Atlantic Lodge, working hard and enjoying the scenery. We found a few hours to take in the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are famous for two reasons: 1) they are the second most visited place in Ireland and 2) they are home of the cave in the Harry Potter films. The Atlantic lived up to its wild reputation but thankfully we had our sea legs and were able to enjoy the Doolin Ferry.

From then, a short drive to the beautiful city of Galway and the annual conference of the European Health Psychology Society. Here, we presented our Change Exchange work and took part in a round table discussion about translation and knowledge exchange. The European Health Psychologist community is small and perfectly formed. Jo, as Chair of the Division of Health Psychology, British Psychological Society, had a DHP members meeting – to ensure members who attend EHPS and not DHP conference have a chance to make their feelings known. Lucie became Chair of the EHPS United Nations sub-committee. EHPS has special consultative status with the UN and the sub-committee coordinates the EHPS activity in this area.

One final long drive to Dublin and an overnight ferry with 200 truckers returned us to a rainy Liverpool. A long week, combining work, networking, laughing and workplace karaoke (it’s a great livener – you should try it!).

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