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Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones

FRCPsych BA(Hons) DOccMed MD

Director of The National Problem Gambling Clinic, London Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones was born and grew up in Italy. She knew from the age of seven years that she wanted to be a psychiatrist. An avid reader, Henrietta loved reading the Peanuts cartoons, which not only shaped her career path but also provided her with her first role model.

Lucy, one of the characters who is full of vitality and energy in the books, has a stall with a sign that says ‘The psychiatrist is in’ and the other characters go and ask for advice on how to sort out their problems. Henrietta studied medicine at Pavia University, Italy and qualified in 1996. She then came to the UK to continue her training in what she regards as one of her best career moves. She trained at the Charing Cross and Imperial College rotation in London, and her first teaching hospital post was at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which she is particularly grateful for as she met her future husband there. She obtained an MD at Imperial doing research on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain of alcohol-dependent subjects while doing a full-time job and raising young children. As part of her research, she started to study the neuronal pathways involved in pathological gambling and the more she read, the more fascinated she became with the subject. Gambling grabbed her attention. After completing her membership exams and specialising in addiction psychiatry, Henrietta ran the inpatient NHS detoxification service for alcohol and drugs in Central London as well as leading the Soho Rapid Access Clinic, treating homeless drug addicts. Henrietta was appointed Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College and is also Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, based in Soho, London. The clinic is the first and only NHS multidisciplinary treatment centre in the UK for the treatment of problem gamblers and their families. Since opening in 2008, the clinic has had over four thousand referrals and holds the most extensive national database on pathological gambling. Henrietta is most proud of this achievement. Henrietta admits that setting up a new national clinic was stressful, and recalls staying up all hours, trying her best to persuade people the value of such a clinic. She has learnt the importance of exercising regularly, even if it means getting up extremely early to fit this in, which has kept her calm through her challenging times She runs the UK Problem Gambling Research Consortium, a group of twelve researchers from Imperial, Cambridge, Oxford and University College London collaborating on different research projects exploring the neurobiology of pathological gambling. Much of her time is spent lecturing at conferences and teaching medical postgraduate students, psychologists, mental health professionals, magistrates, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists.

Extensively interviewed by the national press, including interviews in The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Observer, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and Vogue, Henrietta is The Royal College of Psychiatrist’s (RCPsych) Spokesperson on behavioural addictions. She has done many radio and television appearances and in 2013 gave a TED talk. She spent nine years as an elected member of the UK’s Executive Committee Addictions Faculty at the RCPsych and also held the posts of Finance Officer and Academic Secretary. She continues on the committee as a co-opted Member. While serving on the College executive committee, Henrietta was the link person to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and has collaborated with them on guidelines for managing substance misuse in the workplace. She is an advisor to London Underground on alcohol and drugs misuse and works closely with the unit carrying out assessments on their staff. She is a Member of the World Health Organisation Behavioural Addictions Advisory Group, the Royal Society of Medicine’s Psychiatry Council and has published extensively on behavioural addictions. She has written nine book chapters and edited two textbooks. A Trustee of Sporting Chance since 2006, Henrietta also set up a charity, Gambling Concern, dedicated to fundraising for the treatment of problem gamblers. She is the current President-elect of the Medical Women’s Federation. * Favourite Music: Goosebumps by Travis Scott * Three objects Henrietta cannot live without: A novel, Notebook to jot down ideas for my blog, A pen

Henrietta’s advice to junior doctors is “Please use the Medical Women’s Federation as a source of advice and support.”


Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

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