We are excited to welcome Claire Westmacott to our team!
Claire brings expertise in public health and a wealth of travel experience to IAMAT. As our new Health Writer and Research Specialist, Claire researches, writes, and updates our travel health resources, including the Country Health Advice database and eLibrary. She is also working on a brand new guide for older travellers that will be published later this year. (Stay tuned for updates on the guide!)
We caught up with Claire to learn more about her perspectives on travel and what drew her to global health.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Oxford, England, but largely grew up in Waterloo, Ontario.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the University of Toronto for an honours double degree in Environmental Studies and English Literature and have a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Edinburgh.
What do you find most interesting about global health?
I first became interested in global health through my Environmental Studies program, where I was fascinated by the intersection of global environmental issues and health equity. I believe that global health encourages us to transcend borders through multi-disciplinary and collaborative thinking and problem-solving. Furthermore, it compels us to recognize the resiliency of communities around the world and the importance of health as a human right.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I am very fortunate to have family that loves to travel and have many fond memories from childhood of road trips through the United States and exploring European cities. One of my most memorable travel experiences is from a recent trip in the UK after finishing my graduate thesis. In early September, a friend and I set out to hike part of the West Highland Way, a 151km footpath through Scotland. The trail begins near Glasgow, travels along the edge of Loch Lomond, and then up into the Scottish Highlands where it ends at the foot of Glen Nevis, the tallest mountain in Britain.
We initially planned to only hike to the halfway point, but we fell completely in love with the landscape, which featured a wide array of deep forest, lochs, and exposed and rugged climbs. We had also met wonderful people and were heartbroken at the idea of leaving the trail incomplete. When we arrived at the halfway point we managed to scramble together enough supplies and decided to continue to the end. We finished the walk, new friends in tow, in an exhausting and fulfilling 6 days.
What are your hobbies?
In addition to hiking, I love learning about and trying new crafts. I’m currently enjoying making stained glass and 3D stained glass objects (to varying degrees of success).
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
My next travel adventure will be camping in Iceland.