Rory McGill - Public Health Specialty Registrar (ST4)

February's "2 Minutes With...", PHPN's regular feature for the North-West Population Health & Prevention Network caught up with Rory McGill, Public Health Specialty Registrar (ST4) for Health Education England (On split placement between the Champs Public Health Collaborative and Sefton Council).

Rory McGill

Tell us about your role...

I am on a split placement on the training scheme at the moment. My role is very varied across these, ranging from leading on a suicide prevention pilot within a primary care context, to exploring how we can promote a health in all policies approach across a local authority setting. I am also co-chair of the North West behavioural science steering group as well as being the Cheshire and Merseyside rep within this group.

How did you get into your area of work?

I found out about the training scheme while working as a postdoc in public health at the University of Liverpool a few years after completing my PhD in psychology. I wasn’t aware that this scheme was open to non-medical applicants but once I found out, I applied and the rest is history!

Tell us about your public health career journey...

I found academia to be too theoretical for my personal enjoyment so I thought becoming a public health consultant would be a good way to both continue developing my academic skills but also apply what I have learned in a practical setting. I wanted to maintain my social science interests so I spent my ST3 year with the national Behavioural Insights Team at PHE in London. I am the first registrar to organise this from the NW and hoping I have paved the way for others to do the same! For my ST4 year I was keen to work both within a local authority setting as well as at a regional level via Champs so as to apply some of my strategic knowledge from my time working at a national level.

What have been your career highlights / greatest career achievements?

I am passionate about older LGB health and made this the focus of my dissertation research. I then had the opportunity to be interviewed by Sir Martyn Lewis for national radio to discuss my findings. I also got the amazing opportunity to record a podcast with Will Young on the issue of older LGB health which was very exciting! It is available on Spotify here. Impactful dissemination is very important so we can get the messages out to those who need to hear it the most.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I am very passionate about public health. I am a gay man who was raised within a very deprived background surrounded by alcohol dependency and mental illness. The intersectionality between being a member of a sexual minority group and being from a lower socioeconomic position (both of which are known to have worse health outcomes) gives me a unique insight into the communities I serve and their associated health inequalities. I am now in a position to influence national policy to help those who are like me which is a great feeling!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The thing I enjoy the most about my job is the people. I thrive when I am meeting new people and building relationships, which is a huge part of being a public health consultant I am told!

On the flipside, what do you enjoy least about your job?

My least favourite thing is being on call for my health protection duties, but this is coming to an end very soon!

Lastly, would you recommend your job to others? If so, why?

I would absolutely recommend the training scheme. I am unaware of anywhere else where your employer pays for your masters in public health, as well as provide protected time to do so! On top of this, the scheme is what you make it, so you can seek out opportunities that interest you. And you make lifelong friends while training who really do make the journey very enjoyable!