Anna Moore - "I Needed a Job That Enabled Me to Work on a Personal Relationship with People"

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Feb 05, 2015
by Stuart Milne and Jonathan Elbaz
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Anna Moore - "I Needed a Job That Enabled Me to Work on a Personal Relationship with People"

UCLPartners program director and former accountant speaks to Salzburg Global about how she found her way into working in mental health care Anna Moore takes the floor during session 536

For Anna Moore, director of the AHSN Integrated Mental Health Program at UCLPartners, mental health care is a passion she has gradually grown into during her time working in medicine. In an interview during the session New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care, held by Salzburg Global Seminar at Schloss Leopoldskron in December, she described how she came to specialize in caring for the vulnerable after starting her career as an accountant.

“When I was doing accountancy, I felt like I wanted to do something that was more individually helping people,” she said. “For me, I needed a job that enabled me to work on a personal relationship with people, which is why I went to medicine. I started off with orthopedics, but as I did medicine, working as a doctor, I found myself being much more interested in the people with substance abuse problems. They were always stuffed at the end of the ward, like people who had osteomyelitis for the long-term.

“I was really compelled by thinking about how we could help them.”

Moore came to realize that for her orthopedic patients with substance abuse problems, it was “more helpful for them in the long-term” to treat their substance abuse than to prescribe antibiotics or conduct an operation to relieve their bone marrow inflammation.

“[Their substance abuse] was the thing that was impacting on their outcomes more than anything,” she explains, and thus the patients needed to be considered in the “whole context of their life.”

The program Moore now leads at UCLPartners in London, UK, prioritizes a pre-emptive approach to care, and focuses on integrating mental healthcare with the wider physical healthcare system.

“We bring academics and innovators to think about how we can, not reorganize health care systems, but improve health care through identifying some of those system barriers and focusing on ways we can work with our local communities and the people in them to overcome particular problems.

“For example, we have reciprocal training. We are expanding our boundaries, doing work in unusual settings like schools and the workplace, for health care to be delivered and to provide a better value of health care through better organized systems of care.”

The themes of expanding mental health care into the wider health care system, and offering community support rather than pharmaceutical treatment resonated with many of the Salzburg Global Fellows participating in the session. This was deemed to be especially important in low- and middle-income countries, where providing access to mental health care at primary points of contact like GP clinics could help combat the stigma sometimes attached to many serious conditions.

Action plans unveiled by Fellows at the end of the session featured examples of this integrated approach, such as the proposed Improving Mums’ Mental Health (IMum) program in the UK. This included training midwives and other perinatal care workers in recognizing the symptoms of conditions such as post-natal depression, thus maximizing the wellbeing of both mothers and infants. The cost of delivering the IMum program was estimated by the UK-based Fellows to be eight times less than the current cost of perinatal mental health problems to the UK public sector.

Moore believes empowering patients to become co-decision-makers alongside the health care professionals who serve them is also important, and data sharing innovations are coming to the fore to help make this happen.
“Integrating care has the ability to sit within people rather than systems. It is important to have technologies and systems enable people to move between them – actually it is around the relationships between individuals within the system. Also, [we need to be] thinking about the care being designed around the patient rather than the individual having to interact with each parts of the system.

“Things like digital [technologies] are enablers which will help us to achieve integrated care. It is not the answer, but the thing that will help us get there. We have started to see it a little bit in the linking up of electronic patient records across different health care systems, which is by no way near complete. The novel and interesting ways we can collect data at the patient level, which can be used to different care settings, are really exciting.”


Anna Moore was a participant at the Salzburg Global program New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care, which is part of the multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century. The session was hosted in partnership with the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/536.