Dr Jennifer Baker, President-Elect of EASO

Dr Jennifer Baker, President-Elect of EASO

It’s great to speak with Dr Jennifer Baker, President-Elect of EASO. First of all, Jennifer, congratulations on taking up your new role! 

Your research on lifecourse epidemiology and childhood obesity is highly respected and your expertise in using big data to understand obesity across the lifespan is impressive. How do you intend to incorporate this expertise to advance EASO goals?

I will leverage my expertise in research through ensuring integration of scientific evidence across actions EASO undertakes, ranging from advocacy to education. I share the EASO goal of improving health outcomes for all, and especially people living with obesity. My insights into the lifecourse uniquely position me to help EASO and our members advance obesity prevention, treatment, and management, by considering the importance of all life stages in our actions.

Excellent, thank you. You express an interest in developing workforce skills, which seems particularly important given recent developments in the field. Can you elaborate on approaches you envision to better equip healthcare professionals, including people working in primary care, researchers, and public health workers with the latest knowledge and tools to address obesity?

Healthcare professionals and individuals working in the field of obesity require accurate and up-to-date education in this rapidly evolving area. In addition to formal education, the workforce needs access to evidence-based updates to support ongoing learning. I will use my experience as an educator to collaborate within EASO to facilitate development in EASO educational offerings, from policy developments to delivering quality education through our conferences, meetings, masterclasses, and new, innovative approaches.

Collaboration seems to be a hallmark of your work as an epidemiologist and research scientist. How do you envision strengthening the collaborative environment within EASO to maximise the impact of the work of the society?

Sustainable efforts to prevent, treat, and manage obesity do require collaboration, and I have many years of experience facilitating successful collaborations across stakeholder groups through my work as an epidemiologist and in my role as former Co-chair of EASO’s Childhood Obesity Working Group. I will help EASO increase its impact by expanding collaboration opportunities. I anticipate that this will include strengthening networking initiatives, supporting cross-disciplinary projects, enhancing educational offerings, and developing mentoring programs for early-career researchers.

You’ve highlighted the importance of translating research findings into real-world practice — in a field that’s constantly evolving. How can we better bridge the gap between researcher and clinical practitioners within EASO and across the wider community to ensure best practices reach patients effectively?

Effective and open communication is the key to bridging gaps across professions within the EASO community and beyond with the wider community. Through my role, I will work to ensure that we are speaking the same scientifically accurate, professional, and respectful language when we talk about obesity, which is a cornerstone of effective obesity communication. Again, collaboration is key within EASO and beyond, particularly with the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity and across professional medical societies to ensure we can translate science into professional and respectful best practice care for patients.

Mentoring and supporting early career development of research scientists and health care professionals working across the field are key components of your vision. How can we further support and empower early career professionals working in obesity?

Early career professionals working in obesity are the future of EASO, and as a society, we are committed supporting their development. In my role I will use my understanding of challenges faced by early career professionals – both from personal experience and from mentoring many early career individuals through the years. I will help EASO further develop a supportive environment for early career colleagues by continuing to champion the EASO early career award programmes for outstanding work, and through supporting and expanding the important initiatives within the EASO Early Career Network.

Read Dr Jennifer Baker’s Bio