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Dr Jennifer Dixon

Centenary Souvenir

CBE

Chief Executive of The Health Foundation, London Dr Jennifer Dixon has spent the past twenty years influencing health policy. As a leader, it seems an oxymoron that such a public figure was once the shyest girl in school. Her earliest ambition to play Cleopatra in the school play did not materialise due to her dislike of acting and public speaking.

Jennifer attended eight different schools and describes her childhood as ‘unsettled’ due to her father’s frequent job moves. She studied medicine in Bristol and was elected as the only ‘independent’ candidate to the Student Union Council. Perhaps this was a show of her early interest in politics. After graduation, Jennifer took up junior doctor posts in paediatrics in London, but five years after qualifying, she changed her career. For Jennifer, against all advice, taking the risk of leaving clinical medicine in 1989 to develop her skills in policy analysis was her best career move. This was originally at the suggestion of a

colleague, but she still remembers the look of disbelief on the face of the Professor of Cardiology. Soon after, she completed an MSc in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was awarded the prestigious Harkness Fellowship in New York in 1990-1991. There she studied healthcare reform both at national and state level in what she recalls was a nonhierarchical atmosphere. She completed a PhD in health services research and started working at the King’s Fund, where she was Director of Policy. Despite her childhood reservations about public speaking, Jennifer has published and presented widely on NHS policy and health care reform, both nationally and internationally. In 1998, she was seconded to the Department of Health as the Policy Advisor to the Chief Executive of the NHS, Sir Alan Langlands, for two years. In 2008, she was appointed Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust where she developed a new strategy and business model resulting in a well-respected organisation using data to benefit NHS patient care. Jennifer has served as a Board member on several national regulatory bodies, including the Audit Commission from 20032012 as a Non-Executive Director; the Health Commission from 2004-2009; and in 2013, she joined the Care Quality Commission, where she still serves as an expert advisor. Often faced with uncomfortable and awkward situations in the political arena, Jennifer’s advice is to keep calm and carry on. In 2009, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and in 2016, she was awarded a Doctor of Science from Bristol University, her alma mater. She has held visiting Professorships at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the London School of Economics, and Imperial College Business School. She is a Member of the Parliamentary Review Panel for the Welsh Assembly Government on the future of the NHS and social care. In October 2013, Jennifer became Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, where she currently works. The same year, she received a CBE for services to public health. Jennifer lives in London with her husband, who is also a Bristol graduate, and their two daughters. * Favourite Music: Shostakovich’s 8th symphony * Three objects Jennifer cannot live without: Pyjamas, Easel, Armenian brandy

Jennifer’s advice to junior doctors is “Work hard, practice humility and follow your instinct.”

www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk

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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...

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...