AFTER obesity, inadequate sleep is our biggest public health problem, according to Dr Pixie McKenna, who was the guest of honour at a Network Ireland West Cork event in Baltimore.
Skibbereen woman, Gráinne McCarthy, who is the deputy chief news editor for The Wall Street Journal in London, conducted the interview with Dr McKenna who said the main cause of sleep disturbance is people using their phone before bedtime.
As an advocate for more female involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Dr McKenna said she believes it is ‘a real shame that girls are put off science because they think they’re not bright enough or that it’s a lads’ career. Science is for everyone.’
Dr McKenna spoke about her own belief that her four brothers were more intelligent than her, despite the fact that her mother, Mini, a teacher of great note, instilled in her that she could achieve anything she wanted in life.
That male-versus-female distinction showed, too, when Dr McKenna worked, for a time, in her father’s practice in Cork. It was with good humour that she recalled: ‘A lot would come and see me and would come the following day and check with my dad to see if I was right.’
Dr McKenna also humorously recounted how she once worked for a high-end practice in Notting Hill, which had amongst its clientele rock stars and celebrities. On one occasion, she had to go to see Mick Jagger in his hotel room and her mother was on to her to say: ‘Get in there and get out as fast as you can,’ and Pixie dutifully phoned her – as she had been instructed to do – to tell her she was out.
Network Ireland West Cork is gaining in popularity for the diversity of its speakers at its monthly networking meetings.