Finding fairhealth podcast
Episode 9- Dolly Theis
An interview with Dolly Theis
Dolly is currently doing PhD in Public health at the University of Cambridge and runs the “Big Tent of Ideas” festival, a national debating festival bringing people together for conversation and debate.
I learnt so much from talking to Dolly. Her graduate studies in politics have been so different to mine in medicine, yet I was fascinated in her insights in tackling health inequalities, public health, and policy….and wow does she pack a punch!
Dolly kicks off by telling us about her work, a few years ago, at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) (3mins). She describes her role as ‘a conductor of an orchestra of musicians,’ convening experts to inform the piece she led on obesity (5mins). Her work at the CSJ seemed pivotal, leading her to academia (masters then PhD) in public health at Cambridge. Her long-standing interest in individual liberty and the works of John Stuart Mill leads us to a discussion about what it means to make free choices about health, both at a policy level and for individuals (6m 30s).
Dolly is now working on her PhD, looking at what influences the policy making process at a local and national level (15mins and 39m20s). She tells us how important it is to think about who, what and how arguments and evidence become influential. Dolly is keen for everyone to be involved in the policy making process (17m 30s). She highlights how case studies can be ‘a vision of what can be’ and are powerful tools to influence policy, particularly on an international level (23mins). Dolly then goes on to talk about the practicalities of using research in analysing policy: recognising our own previous experiences; our own ideas of what evidence is (28m 30s); peer review (31mins); and how we can make the policy making process more transparent (31mins).
A key theme to our whole conversation was bringing together different people’s experiences (33mins). We talk about the importance of understanding our own and other people’s motivations and values (38mins). She encourages everyone to get involved in the decision making process, especially when it comes to things we feel passionate about.
We finish our conversation talking about politics (43m 50s). We cover Dolly standing for parliament, and her role with the “50:50 #ask her to stand” campaign, encouraging more women to stand for parliament. Dolly implores all listeners, including you, to consider standing for parliament whether you feel like you have the skills or not (49m 30s). Dolly talks about about how we attribute particular policy choices to particular political parties (50mins). She emphasises how important is to have an open mind and collaborative approach.
To finish Dolly tells us her one wish to tackle health inequalities (61mins).
Intro about Dolly (1 min 20s)
Dolly’s top reading (58 mins)