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International Congress of Pediatrics (ICP)

Interview with Prof. Neil Wigg. 

1. Why did you choose your field?

I have always been fascinated by children, and the changing nature of children’s development. I was inspired to choose paediatrics as a career by Professor Ian Lewis, a great teacher who emphasised the social and environmental factors of children’s health and disease.

2. Why did you go into research?

I started research into social medicine as an undergraduate. A major focus of my research has been the health impacts of environmental lead exposure in children, a field of research which integrated my interest and experience in children’s development and epidemiology.

3. What work are you most proud of?

Over the past 35 years I have provided clinical care to children with a disability and their families. This has kept all of my professional work very child-centered. It has been a privilege to work with so many families and to support the children to reach their potential.

4. What’s a puzzle you would like to solve?

I would like to better understand to pathways from social disadvantage to poor health for children, and to also understand the key factor or combination of factors which can positively affect these pathways. Multiple social and environmental factors are involved but we don’t know their relative importance and interactions that start children along the path to poor health.

5. If you hadn’t chosen to become a pediatrician, what profession other than your own would you have liked to attempt?

Almost certainly I would have chosen to be a sociologist. I actually work in the fields of Social Pediatrics and Child Public Health which incorporate knowledge of sociology and politics into everyday work.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The International Congress of Pediatrics 2013 will focus on both health and disease of children and young people. Throughout the Congress there will be focus on the contexts for their health. Globally the health of children is improving but together we can do and learn much more.