What’s it like to…work in health policy?

Gianluca Fontana

By Gianluca Fontana, Senior Policy Fellow and Director of Operations, Centre for Health Policy, IGHI

In my first job out of university, I was a management consultant. That led me to work on glamorous and intellectually stimulating activities such as figuring out how to distribute fresh fish in a supermarket display to maximise sales. But I’ve always had a passion for healthcare. So through the years, I was able to get myself involved with much more interesting projects.

While I was working with a number of international health systems, across Asia, the UK and Australia to figure out how they could improve care for colorectal cancer, I had the chance to meet the Director of IGHI’s Centre for Health Policy, Professor Ara Darzi. I’ve been working here almost ever since.

I’m the Director of Operations here at the Centre for Health Policy (CHP) and I love it. We have a fantastic team – incredibly bright people from very diverse backgrounds with a wide range of interests and skills. Supporting them is the main goal of my job and the thing I find most rewarding. I don’t always get it right, but I’m constantly learning from the people around me and I’ve grown a lot since joining Imperial.

Here at CHP, I’m incredibly proud of the work we do. Health policy is a broad term, and so no two days are the same because of the breadth and diversity of our activities. Whether that’s figuring out the best and most effective ways to use healthcare data, reviewing and presenting evidence for policy-makers, or exploring how we can use technology to improve care, we’re always striving to have an impact on people, policy and health practices. I have a particular passion for education, which is where we can make the most immediate difference.

Recently we established the NHS Digital Academy, a virtual organisation developing a new generation of digital leaders to transform the NHS. This couldn’t have happened without colleagues from CHP, the Helix Centre, the University of Edinburgh and NHS England. This is definitely one of the things I’m proudest of. I’m immensely grateful to the team that has made it a reality and runs it every day.

Coming to work at the CHP is definitely the best thing I’ve done in my career (not only because I met my wonderful wife here!). I’d encourage anyone out there with a passion for healthcare and a desire to make a difference to get in touch with our team.

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