Help from my mentor is continuing to prove invaluable

I have now been mentored by Dr. Rowan Hillson for almost 5 months and already her help and guidance has proved invaluable. Continue reading


The first meeting of an exciting year ahead (Blog 1)

It was during my medical elective whilst I was working in South Africa that I sent off my application for the ALMP. I hadn’t heard about the ALMP prior to applying for it so I was unsure what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised when I was invited to attend an interview at the university. I felt that the ALMP would be a great opportunity to learn from the experience of previous alumnus and also would be a way of enhancing my career once I graduate from the University.

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Invaluable Counsel and Amazing Advice

Hannah Coakley’s blog – Dr Rowan Hillson

I applied to the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme to increase my understanding and knowledge of possible future career options. I wished to learn from the experience and wisdom from an accomplished alumnus and gain a greater appreciation of how to succeed after university.

I was fortunate to be paired with Dr Rowan Hillson, a retired consultant physician and former National Clinical Director for Diabetes for the Department of Health. I was particularly interested to learn from her about the realities of combining clinical work with academic research, something which I hope to do in the future. I have considered public health policy as a possible career option and I wanted to learn more from her about this particular area of medicine where there are few accessible role models.

From our first phone call, I have found Dr Hillson to be a very encouraging and helpful mentor. I didn’t know quite what to expect from the mentorship process but I have really appreciated her advice and found her counsel invaluable. During our first chat we got to know one another and I explained what I hoped to get out of the mentorship programme. She explained her experiences and the ways in which she could support me during my final year of medicine, and later during my future career.

We arranged to meet in November for dinner and she was kind enough to review my CV and offer tips and suggestions for improvement. There was also opportunity to discuss in-depth her career and, in particular, the work she has done for the Department of Health. We chatted about my aspirations to work in public health and she offered a fascinating insight into the realities of working with the Department of Health to develop public health policy. During her role as the National Clinical Director for Diabetes Dr Hillson drove improvements in diabetes care nationally. She was able to share her passion for improving patient care and health outcomes, and reminded me that that is the ultimate goal for all medical professionals. I was inspired by her enthusiasm and appreciated her advice as I look to begin my first job as a junior doctor.

Dr Hillson subsequently put me in touch with her colleagues who work in public health. I had a fruitful and interesting conversation with the training programme director for public health in the West Midlands. I was given practical information about how to purse this career path which has given me food for thought and possible avenues to pursue.

Dr Hillson’s support during my final year at university has been invaluable and I am appreciative of her support as I prepare for my medical school finals and beyond in my future career.

Help with Medical Applications (Blog 1)

After a year out doing science and lab work, the thought of starting my final year at the start of the summer was incredibly daunting!  This was soon tempered by finding out I’d been successful and been accepted onto the University’s Alumni Leadership Mentor Programme (ALMP). I’d successfully got my chosen mentor, Dr Rowan Hillson MBE. Having being on the ALMP programme for 8 months now, it’s been a great process so far, and the advice and insight I have gained from someone so successful has been far beyond my expectations.

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Good news (Blog 1)

I have now been on the Alumni Leadership Mentor Programme (ALMP) for 6 months and it has been a very stimulating and rewarding experience. I applied in March 2013 hoping to be paired with a Mentor who could help guide me on how best to utilise the opportunities I have both within and outside the university. Following a written application form and a Skype interview over the Atlantic from Chicago (minutes before I was to sit the US medical license exam!) I was successful in being selected for this sought-after programme.

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Dissertation help (Blog 3)

My second conversation with Rowan Hilson took place via telephone as I had called her for a catch up so that she was aware what I have done towards my goals and how I had acted upon the advice and information she had given me. This conversation was fairly quick as I just updated her with my progress informing her that I had been in contact with the professor she had advised me to talk to about my dissertation topic as this was his area of interest.

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Food, a tour and some advice (Blog 2)

Today I had my first face to face meeting with my mentor Dr Hilson.  We had arranged to meet a few days earlier through a telephone conversation. During this conversation we began to get to know one another and discussed where our first meeting should take place.

Although Dr Hilson does travel to Birmingham occasionally we decided that it might be nice to meet in London. This meant I would be able to see where she worked, meet her colleagues who are work in the diabetes policy team. The meeting place in London was a gorgeous building that had previously been a Japanese bank and is now the Department of Health.

When I arrived I was welcomed into the building by Dr Hilson and she introduced me to her colleagues. Where she explained about what her work involves and who the other members of her team were and what their responsibilities are. Afterwards we found a quiet spot that created a nice, relaxed environment.

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Getting my chosen mentor! (Blog 1)

I am just beginning my journey through the Alumni Leadership Programme and I can already see it is going to be an exciting and challenging time. I am looking forward to building on my skills, learning to take the lead more so that I can develop as a professional.

My mentor is Dr Rowan Hilson; I was very pleased when I was told that she would be my mentor as Dr Hilson was my first choice.  There were many reasons for this but particularly it was her years of experience in diabetes an area that I am interested in working in the future.

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