SPOTLIGHT ON… Helen Evans Howells, Chair of the Anaphylaxis UK’s Clinical and Scientific Panel

SPOTLIGHT ON… Helen Evans Howells, Chair of the Anaphylaxis UK’s Clinical and Scientific Panel

  • 15 March 2024
  • Healthcare News
  • News
  • Research

As Healthcare Science Week draws to a close, we want to say a big thank you to Anaphylaxis UK’s Clinical and Scientific Panel who play an important part in the work we do here. Their expertise and tireless efforts are instrumental in furthering research on anaphylaxis, which in turn helps us to raise awareness and provide support to those living with serious allergies.

We thought now would be a great time to sit down with Dr Helen Evans Howells, the Chair of our Clinical and Scientific Panel, to find out a bit more about her role with Anaphylaxis UK.

Hi Helen! Tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Chair of the Clinical and Scientific Panel….

My name is Dr Helen Evans Howells or Dr Helen Allergy as I am known in the online world! I am a GP and have been working in the field of allergy for around nine years.

My interest in allergy developed when my eldest son was diagnosed with milk and nut allergies, and it quickly became apparent to me that I had very little understanding in this area. I therefore decided to do a masters in allergy and spent almost 5 years working with the paediatric allergy team at Southampton. I’ve previously been chair for the British Society of Allergy and through working with my colleagues, we finally had food allergy put on the GP curriculum only a few years ago.

I’m delighted to be a trustee for Anaphylaxis UK and Chair of their Clinical and Scientific Panel. My work in this area involves chairing several meetings a year and coordinating allergy specialists in projects designed to enhance allergy awareness and knowledge in the community.

What made you want to be involved with the Clinical and Scientific Panel for Anaphylaxis UK?

As an allergy mum myself and a clinician, I’ve always felt that it is vital that people have access to accurate information. I was keen to work with a charity where positive messaging and empowerment were some of the key values that are held, and therefore I was delighted to be asked to be Trustee for Anaphylaxis UK.

Why is it important for charities such as Anaphylaxis UK to have access to such an expert panel?

We are lucky these days that as individuals, we have much information at our fingertips, available through social media and Google. As a doctor I’ve seen the harm that some people come to when the information they have looked at has been less accurate and the anxiety that can be unnecessarily created. Having a panel of clinical experts who inform our messaging, is vital to ensure we can maintain high standards of accuracy within the charity.

And finally, Anaphylaxis UK is proud to be recognising it’s 30th anniversary this year. A huge amount of progress has been made over the past 30 years to improve the lives of those living with serious allergies, but what progress would you like to see being made over the next 30 years?

I have two hopes for the next 30 years. The first is an increased awareness and understanding of allergy within both healthcare and the public domain. This I hope will lead to better assessment and management of allergy patients in a country where our specialists are extremely limited, and more tolerance in society. Secondly, like every other allergy parent, I of course hope for a cure to a disease which causes such distress to so many. I hope to be a part in delivering at least the first wish.