A pharmaceutical consultant will swap the Highlands for Antarctica after being selected for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition.
Sharon Pfleger, who works for NHS Highland, has been selected as one of 100 female scientists from around the globe to make the trip.
She’ll be following in the footsteps of the 1901 Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic.
The prestigious international leadership initiative, known as Homeward Bound 6, will take the women to Antarctica.
It aims to give women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (Stemm) new leadership skills, specifically tailored to managing the planet as our home.
This is our moment. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets & clean up rivers & coasts. We are the generation to make peace with nature. Get active, not anxious. #GenerationRestoration https://t.co/wFZqBsKxMl pic.twitter.com/1xd057pR81
— Homeward Bound (@HomewardBound16) June 6, 2021
“We all need to tackle the climate crisis”
Ms Pfleger, a consultant in pharmaceutical public health, is currently helping lead the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine.
She feels particularly passionate about reducing the impact that healthcare has on the planet and said: “I feel really honoured to have been selected for this programme and I intend to share my learning widely so that as many people as possible can benefit and feel empowered to help save our planet.
“We all need to tackle the climate crisis head on and my specific focus will be trying to raise awareness of, and reduce, the impact of the healthcare we provide on our planet.”
The voyage takes place in 2022, but Ms Pfleger intends on raising both awareness and funds before she sets off.
She said: “It’s about 16,000km from Inverness to Antarctica and I, along with seven UK team colleagues, will be walking, running and cycling that distance as many times as we can before we depart on our journey in an attempt to raise awareness and also funds.”
Sustainability in healthcare
The positive impact that Ms Pfleger’s trip will most likely have on sustainability in healthcare across the NHS in Scotland has not gone unnoticed.
Professor Boyd Robertson, chairman of NHS Highland, said: “The experience she gains from the expedition to the Antarctica peninsula, visiting the scientific research stations and seeing climate change up close, will enable NHS Highland and NHS Scotland to build global collaborations around sustainable healthcare and will help inform and shape what we do to reverse the climate emergency, locally and nationally.”
Of the 100 women taking part in Homeward Bound 6, eight are from the UK. You can follow their journey here.