CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Dale Webb, evaluation manager, The Health Foundation

What was your first job? After completing my degree in music and English, I spent two years with my student union, firstly, as welfare officer, where I gained experience of developing health promotion campaigns, and secondly as student president. My first 'real' job was working for Salisbury Health Authority, where I developed sexual health promotion initiatives.

What does your current role involve? The Health Foundation is an independent charity that aims to improve health and the quality of healthcare for people in the UK. I'm responsible for establishing ways to assess the overall impact and effectiveness of our work. We are serious about evaluating our efforts in order to judge their success. The Foundation wants to be recognised for creating value and we want to prove our work makes a difference. Increasingly, charities are expected to justify their expenditure and so effective evaluation is vital.

Roughly outline your career path. My early years were mostly spent working in sexual health promotion in the statutory and voluntary sectors. I then entered academia and spent the next eight years undertaking health services research at Southampton University and King's College London, mostly in the field of health policy evaluation.

What training has most enhanced your career? I have an MSc in health policy and I'm in the final throes of a part-time PhD. These post-graduate courses have been invaluable in evaluating complex health initiatives.

What is your greatest career regret? Not becoming a choral scholar.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? Always look on the bright side of life - cue whistling.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? I donate to both the RSPB and Barnado's.

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