Kate Thorndike – Pharmacy and Postgraduate Studies in Global Health

Kate Thorndike is a Specialist Transplant Pharmacy Technician based at Cambridge University Hospitals. In 2019, Kate joined the Kampala-Cambridge Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention Control partnership. Spending a week in Kampala with a multidisciplinary team, Kate delivered workshops and training sessions with partners. Alongside her day job, Kate is studying for an MSc in Global Health and aims to link her final dissertation to this CGHP partnership. We hope this health care worker profile will shine a light on the benefits of global health engagement, partnership working and the subsequent opportunities for long term learning and personal development.

Kate (far right) delivering a training session in Kampala

I began my career in the pharmacy department at Cambridge University Hospitals in 2005 and started a specialist role in transplant in 2011. My current role in transplant has provided the opportunity to work with a diverse group of patients and has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the impact that social determinants have on health outcomes.

My parents run a charity for homeless people in Cambridgeshire so I have grown up with an awareness of vulnerable populations and a desire to help those on the margins of society.  In the past, I have volunteered with organisations in low and middle-income countries: working with street children and rural communities throughout Latin America and joining a medical team to run health clinics in Poipet, Cambodia. This experience has given me a deeper understanding of the impact that different cultures, worldviews, and limited resources can have on the wider global heath population.

I have been inspired by the commitment of healthcare professionals who use their skills and knowledge to help vulnerable populations which led me to undertake an MSc in Global Health through Manchester University in 2018. I am very grateful that the pharmacy department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital have been supportive of this venture and allowed me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills in the wider global health context. This degree has provided the opportunity to work with healthcare professionals from around the world, offering a rich and diverse platform to learn and collaborate.

It was a privilege to join the CGHP AMS partnership in Kampala, Uganda in September 2019. The opportunity to work in a wider multidisciplinary team including healthcare professionals from a different speciality, country, and context, has given me a deeper understanding of how we can impart skills and learn from one another with a shared objective to improve health outcomes worldwide. I hope to continue to work with CGHP and our partners in Uganda and plan to base my dissertation research on the next phase of the CGHP AMS project. As a CUH healthcare professional, it is my hope that I will be able to contribute to closing the gap in healthcare between the world’s poorest and richest countries.