Working together: how can researchers and patients cooperate for policy change on obesity?
Moderators: Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, Policy Lead, EASO and Euan Woodward, Executive Director, EASO
Joining the conversation:
- Jason Halford, President European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO)
- Susie Birney, Secretary European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO)
- Maura Murphey, Secretary Irish Coalition for Patients with Obesity (ICPO)
- Dr Jean O’Connell, Consultant Endocrinologist in Blackrock Clinic, St Vincent’s Private Hospital & St Columcille’s Hospital Weight Management Service and Association for the Study of Obesity in Ireland (ASOI)
Obesity policy at national level must have the needs of patients at its core. To achieve policy change, researchers, clinicians and professional associations must work closely with patient communities to ensure their needs are taken into account at every step of the process.
But how well do researchers really understand patients’ needs and values? How can patients be positioned alongside researchers not just as subjects of obesity treatment and management, but as active partners? And how can we better equip patient organisations to work closely with other stakeholders?
This month’s Stakeholder Session will explore these questions from a range of perspectives, bringing in experiences from Ireland where successful cooperation has led to a new Model of Care on obesity.
Friday, 14 January 2022 15:00-16:30 CET
Professor Jason Halford, President
European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO)
Professor Jason Halford is Head of the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, and President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity.
Professor Jason Halford is Head of the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, and President Elect of the European Association for the Study of Obesity. His research has focused on eating behaviour and weight management, and the role of psychological factors in weight gain and weight loss, with a recent focus on stress and coping.
Susie Birney, Secretary
European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO)
I’m Susie Birney from Dublin, Ireland. I have an eating disorder called ARFID which controls my eating behaviours since childhood. I was physically active until I had a serious knee injury as a teenager and my weight increased slowly. My serious health problems culminated around 35 years old with diabetes, umbilical hernia, PCOS, depression. With multiple methods and attempts of weight loss, I re-gained more each time.
I had bariatric surgery in July 2015 and my diabetes, including retinopathy, reversed on the day. My health and quality of life has improved hugley despite having regained half of my weight loss since. In 2016 I became a patient representative with the ASOI, and an Irish representative in Europe with the EASO patient council, now known as ECPO. I am the acting Chair for ICPO, a patient led Irish organisation currently being formed. I firmly believe support of all kinds is vital. I share my experiences of living with obesity to raise awareness that obesity is a disease.
Maura Murphy, Patient Representative
Irish Coalition for Patients with Obesity (ICPO)
My name is Maura Murphy; I have been living with being overweight since the age of 12. I was always very active, I played sport for many years, yet in spite of having tried every diet available I still gained at least one stone annually.
In 2008 I attended the Weight Management Clinic in St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown. I underwent bariatric surgery (sleeve) in 2013 and I lost ten stone. I believe this operation saved my life and also gave me so much more quality of life.
My mobility has improved, I am no longer under pressure when walking. I was also able to finally undergo a hernia operation after suffering with it for many years. My diabetes Type 2 was no longer an issue.
I will happily share my journey hoping it will encourage others understand more about obesity and also with the hope that science will someday figure out why we live with this disease. I became a patient advocate of the Weight Management Clinic in St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown, Dublin. I am also a patient representative of ASOI, and I am acting Secretary of the newly founded ICPO (Irish Coalition for Patients with Obesity).
I am passionate about representing patients who live with overweight or obesity who due to stigmatisation remain hidden and silent with no voice.
Dr Jean O’Connell, Consultant Endocrinologist
Blackrock Clinic, St Vincent’s Private Hospital & St Columcille’s Hospital Weight Management Service
Association for the Study of Obesity in Ireland (ASOI)
Jean is a Consultant Endocrinologist with a sub-specialty interest in obesity management and bariatric medicine. She has been a member of St Columcille’s Hospital multi-disciplinary Weight Management Service since 2001. She is a member of the National Obesity Programme Clinical Advisory Group.
In 2009 she completed a PhD thesis focused on metabolic profile and adipose tissue morphology and function in patients with obesity undergoing bariatric surgery. Jean has a particular interest in education of health professionals on the genetic, biological and environmental drivers of obesity, with a view to reducing weight bias and stigma, and improving the lives of people living with obesity.