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Spotlight on 🔦Caroline MacNish Porter🔦

Caroline MacNish Porter (she/her) Data Analytics Intern

The Health Foundation


What does your job actually entail?

I joined The Health Foundation in March 2023 as an Intern in the Data Analytics Team, which seeks to improve health and healthcare through effective data analysis. I have been enjoying contributing to work programmes on a variety of topics, including supporting an analysis of ambulance waiting times, exploring pressures in urgent and emergency care and developing analytical pipelines. I meet regularly with project leads to share our progress, and I also attend internal and external meetings where I learn about ongoing work in the healthcare data analytics field.

When not at work you can be found...

Spending time with friends, most often over a nice meal. Or walking up the Pentland hills near my house when the sun is shining.

Why did you join the DSxHE community?

My work at The Health Foundation, and my MSc in Precision Medicine, have highlighted the potential for data science to transform how healthcare is delivered. I want to be a part of ensuring that everybody can benefit from such advancements, and DSxHE strives to achieve this.


What’s your interest in data science and/or health equity?

My background in Precision Medicine, which aims to deliver the most effective treatment to patients in the first instance, has highlighted how data science could revolutionise healthcare in the UK and globally. The data which is used to inform disease risk stratification and patient management holds the answers to providing better healthcare, and the analyses applied to the data provides the means to realise such solutions. By optimising the use of data science, health outcomes for patients could be transformed.

For data science to truly inform healthcare decisions and processes, the datasets which are used to develop algorithms must be representative of the populations which they seek to serve. Therefore, health equity must be considered alongside the advancement of data science every step of the way.

What’s a recent article/book/video/blog/event you’ve come across on data science and/or health equity that you found interesting and why?

After attending a talk by Professor Ben Goldacre titled ‘OpenSAFELY: how we built the world's largest EHR research platform; and what TREs mean for the future of epidemiology’, I was interested to find out more about how OpenSAFELY really works. This article summarises the safe basis of developing the platform.


What was your last impulse buy?

Some of my friend’s art – check her out if you’re feeling impulsive too...

What is your favourite thing to do in the summertime?

Go swimming in the sea and have fish and chips on the beach.

Would you rather have regrets about actions or inactions?

Inactions. I think that there is more opportunity to learn by taking action,

even if it doesn’t turn out as hoped. Inaction leaves you in the same state

as before.


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