In this short article, our new interns provide a brief introduction to who they are and what they hope to achieve by leveraging their position in Parliament and the wider BSAC network. In addition, Baroness Bennett provides some thoughts on outcomes from the first cohort, and how these new additions to her team will continue to help her advocate for action on AMR…
I was delighted to host the first cohort of BSAC-funded interns as part of the BSAC Parliamentary Internship Programme starting last September. Emily Stevenson and Julius Cesar Alejandre did an excellent job across multiple programmes of work, helping me with draft written questions to Government, working together on mainstream media articles, and producing a fantastic policy brief on Eco-directed and Sustainable Prescribing of Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom.
It is exciting to welcome Lorna and Katy into my team in Parliament. They each approach AMR from completely different angles, and have very unique skillsets, which I look forward to seeing them apply to the work we have collaboratively decided they would undertake in my Office. Katy and Lorna are both off to a flying start, having drafted half a dozen written questions to Government and written two mainstream media articles in their first month. I have no doubt that this cohort will be just as successful as the previous one, in its own unique way.
A strong relationship between science and policy is crucial to ensure that research leads to positive outcomes for society. As researchers we need not only to be asking the right questions and generating the right evidence, but also actively seeking to ensure this evidence is applied correctly. This internship is an amazing opportunity for me to work directly at this science-policy interface, deepening my understanding of policy development and scrutinization.
I hope that I can apply my skills and knowledge to contribute to raising awareness and promoting effective strategies for facing the critical threat of AMR. I am passionate to advocate for a more holistic view of health, applying the One Health approach and recognising the interconnected nature of health and the environment.
In a world of ever-conflicting priorities, with decision-makers and policy more visible than ever before, there has never been a more critical time to champion change. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a fast-growing threat to global health security and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support the vital work that Baroness Bennett has already achieved to spearhead this topic in the House of Lords. I feel privileged to undertake this internship and aspire to advocate change by reinforcing the foundations laid by my peers before me.
Through my experience working in both healthcare and private research companies, I have seen first-hand the impact that changing health policy can have on how we protect our population. I am excited to continue this internship’s unique opportunity to influence that policy and I specifically hope to shine a spotlight on lesser-known aspects of AMR, especially in relation to the gut microbiome. I highly value the rare chance to engage with the inner workings of government and hope to use this opportunity to act as a conduit for academic researchers, health campaigners and the global community alike to deliver positive change.
Natalie Bennett is one of two Green Party peers in the House of Lords, with particular interests in soil, ecosystems microbiomes and general public health. Her first degree was in agricultural science and she spent 20 years working as a journalist, including five as editor of the Guardian Weekly. She spent five years in Bangkok, including with the Thai National Commission on Women’s Affairs.
Katy Stokes is a third year PhD student at The University of Warwick, researching Artificial Intelligence for health screening and monitoring. Alongside her PhD Katy has maintained an active interest in medical science policy, contributing to the WHO Research and Development Blueprint through systematic review of topics relating to Infection Prevention and Control and completing a three-month policy internship with The Academy of Medical Sciences.
Lorna Flintham is a second-year PhD student at the University of Bath, researching the influence of lifestyle factors and age on antimicrobial resistance genes in the gut. Lorna has worked in healthcare and AMR education with the International Students’ Pharmaceutical Federation and is currently pursuing an interest in public intervention initiatives as a research member of Project ACE.