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NHS Highland scientist selected for prestigious Homeward Bound Antarctic mission to develop leadership for the common good


By Hector MacKenzie

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Sharon Pfleger: Antarctic bound.
Sharon Pfleger: Antarctic bound.

AN NHS Highland scientist will follow in the footsteps of the 1901 Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic after being selected for a prestigious international leadership initiative.

Ms Pfleger has played her part busting myths during the coronavirus crisis and engaging the public with her work.

Sharon Pfleger, a consultant in pharmaceutical public health, has been selected from nearly 400 women worldwide to take part in the Homeward Bound 6 initiative.

Ms Pfleger, who is helping lead the north Covid-19 vaccination programme, is joining 99 other female scientists in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) on the programme.

She will follow in the footsteps of Royal Navy officer Robert Scott and polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton more than 100 years on.

Homeward Bound aims to equip women in STEMM with the skills to demonstrate a new model of leadership to lead for the greater good; managing the planet as our home.

Ms Pfleger said: “I feel really honoured to have been selected for this programme, and I intend to share my learning widely so that as many people as possible can benefit and feel empowered to help save our planet.

“We all need to tackle the climate crisis head on, and my specific focus will be trying to raise awareness of, and reduce, the impact of the healthcare we provide on our planet.”

Professor Boyd Robertson, chairman of NHS Highland, said: “The fact that Sharon is the first and only NHS employee in the UK, the first pharmacist and the first public health specialist to be selected for this esteemed programme demonstrates what an accolade it is and why we are so proud of her achievement.

“The experience she gains visiting the scientific research stations and seeing climate change up close,will enable NHS Highland and NHS Scotland to build global collaborations around sustainable healthcare and will help inform and shape what we do to reverse the climate emergency, locally and nationally.”

Due to the pandemic, there is not yet a specific date for when the trip will take place.

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