International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.
Dr Julie Higgins, Joint Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups has held a number of senior NHS positions including Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Public Health. She was the Director of Public Health at Salford Primary Care Trust (PCT) and while in this role was the vice-Chair of the Greater Manchester Public Health Network (GMPHN). Following this, Julie worked as the Chief Executive for Heywood Middleton and Rochdale PCT and was then appointed as Director of Commissioning Development in Greater Manchester with responsibility for leading the development of Clinical Commissioning Groups in Greater Manchester.
Dr Julie Higgins said: “It is important to believe in yourself. What can help is to focus on your strengths and knowing how your contributions can make a difference. For me, being in the health service I always put the needs of patients first and was driven by how I could improve the lives of people and patients who use the NHS. There are five things I would have said to my younger self:
• Don’t be afraid
• Work hard
• Celebrate the difference you can bring
• Establish a good work-life balance
• Be independent and self-reliant
Dr Higgins talks more in a recent video which can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/yh_YCkS8gAw
Another local successful woman is Dr Yasara Naheed who is a GP partner at Thursby Surgery, Burnley and Clinical Director for Burnley East Primary Care Network. She has practiced at Thursby Surgery since 2004 following her GP training.
Yasara has lived in Nelson for over 40 years. Living and working in the area means she has a strong connection and understanding of the needs and challenges facing her patients. She recognises the value and importance of community and community assets and networks and this has influenced both her practice and her development of Population Health Management which she has led for the Burnley East Primary Care Network in partnership with her GP colleagues and other partners.
Prior to this Dr Naheed co-led a ground-breaking partnership between the local GP practices, primary schools, police and local youth theatre to help build resilience and confidence for young people. Her particular interests are mental health, women’s health and diabetes. She has also been involved in training of medical students and foundation doctors at the practice.
Dr Naheed said: “My key message for all women around the world is to go ahead and pursue your ambition or if there is something you feel passionate about, my advice is to just go for it. There may be some little obstacles here and there but ultimately you will be one step closer to achieving your goal. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you want.”
You can watch Dr Naheed in more detail in this video at https://youtu.be/UtRrssIjhKc
For more information about International Women’s Day visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/