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Two inspiring and insightful weeks at University College Dublin

My name is Elsa Lorthe, I have a PhD in epidemiology, and I work as a researcher at the Unit of Population Epidemiology at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland. My research focuses on improving the health of women and children, in particular those with clinical or social vulnerabilities, through clinical and population epidemiology. I am currently working on the direct and indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of children and adolescents, using the SEROCoV-Kids cohort data. After publishing an article on cross-sectional intersectional inequalities in quality of life and mental health among children and adolescents in Switzerland, I wanted to explore the same topic in other countries. I felt very lucky to receive funding for a Transnational Visit Access (TAV) as part of the COORDINATE project.

I had the great pleasure of spending two weeks at the Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin, in November 2023, and the even greater pleasure of working with Prof Jenny Symonds and her team. Everyone was friendly and very welcoming, even the weather was good! The aim of my research visit was to examine how demographic characteristics intersect with socioeconomic dimensions to shape the social patterning of mental health in children, using longitudinal data from the Growing Up in Ireland cohort studies. This intersectional approach will hopefully allow for a more nuanced understanding of the complex interactions between socioeconomic status and mental health, and could inform interventions that are tailored to the needs of specific subgroups of children to help them thrive. Apart from immersing myself in research and data analysis, I had the privilege of presenting a seminar on my research, fostering formal and informal connections with experts from diverse disciplines. The visit sparked several interdisciplinary collaborations, including one with a researcher from Helsinki, which I am eager to continue in the future, contributing to exciting scientific advancements.

And because there’s life beyond research, I really enjoyed discovering Dublin and Ireland in my free time. I explored the city, learned everything on the production of Guinness (highly recommended museum!), walked along the coast from Greystones to Bray on a sunny Sunday, took a trip to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway, and, of course, felt in love with Irish pubs and Irish music. I could even catch up with former colleagues and friends who were attending the European Public Health Conference. A perfect blend of alone time and social interaction, scientific inspiration and cultural discovery, personal and professional satisfaction.

Go raibh maith agaibh!


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