Dr Jacqueline Allan is the founder of the charity Diabetics with Eating Disorders and current clinical psychology trainee. DWED is a charity that supports people with Type 1 Diabetes who have eating disorders including those who omit insulin for weight loss purposes. It was started in 2008 and has advocated for change in how we treat this illness by being involved in politics, the media and academia. She has a PhD in the subject from Birkbeck, University of London where she also lectured. For more information please watch the BBC documentary Diabulimia: The worlds most dangerous Eating Disorder (available on you tube).
1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
It will always be London. I have been fortunate to have many iterations in my working life and all of them were made possible by living here. There really isn't anywhere else like it, even when I'm only away for a few days, I get home sick.
2 What are your proudest achievements?
Finishing my PhD was a big one obviously but my proudest achievements are the people who I've helped, there's nothing like seeing someone who was once a really struggling graduate or have a baby or just even be there for someone else in the support group.
3 What inspires you?
The people around me mostly. Especially the ones who are struggling but still fighting. That reminds me that it is OK and natural to have hardships but it's not Okay to give up. Their fight inspires me to keep fighting in my career and for my own health.
4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
Trying to explain to people that what they think they know is wrong. I've been laughed at, ridiculed and out right shouted at by people who thought that they knew everything. No one likes being told that not only are they wrong, they're dangerous.
5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
The Psychiatrist Janet Treasure, she is a legend in the Eating Disorder world and you would think as such that she might be intimidating but she is the nicest, kindest most collaborative person. Watching how she interacts with clients, students, everyone and how plugged in she is to her subject is inspiring.
6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
I am so new in post that I don't really think I can answer that. I can say that getting into clinical psychology training is really tough and it's been my dream for a decade so for now I'll say; That I actually got in and am finally working for the NHS.
7 And the worst?
Again I'm new in post, but I will say what scares me is just how much investment mental health services in this country need. And that despite all the talk about it, in my previous career I have seen very little evidence for 'parity of esteem'
8 What are your long term goals?
I would like to be involved in a sea change regarding how we treat chronic illnesses in the NHS. We need to be thinking far more about how to help people manage these conditions and that requires integration with psychological services right from diagnosis.
9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I think probably that I would take a harder stance on taxing these huge global conglomerates properly, it's not right that if you or I miss paying our taxes we go to jail and they get away with paying nothing despite stratospheric profits. The government says we need austerity - we don't we need closed tax loopholes
10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
Sigmund Freud. The thing with Freud is that you can empathise and even admire his theories on the human mind but only up to a point. So I would like to ask him, why all the weird incest stuff.