A place on the board: Dr Philippa Brice

A life-threatening pregnancy complication led to Dr Phillippa Brice becoming a trustee of the charity, Action on Pre-eclampsia

Dr Philippa Brice
Dr Philippa Brice

Dr Philippa Brice's desire to become a trustee of Action on Pre-eclampsia, the maternal health charity, was influenced by her own experience of a life-threatening pregnancy complication while expecting her first child in 2002.

Brice, who is the external affairs director of the PHG Foundation, which researches the genomics of infectious diseases, says one of the most difficult parts of the experience was getting diagnosed in the first place.

"Half of the medical people I saw were doing that bad look - when you know something's not right," she says. "And the others were going 'oh it's nothing; don't know what you're fussing about'."

It was a pretty scary experience, Brice says, but one that many women go through. Three years later, she came across the charity, which trains medical staff to recognise the condition and offers support to those experiencing it, and she was keen to help.

She initially got involved with the newsletter the charity sends out to women with pre-eclampsia and became a board member five years ago.

"Being a trustee isn't as frightening as it seems when you read the Charity Commission guidance - I'm glad I hadn't read it before I went to one of the meetings or I might have just run away screaming," she says.

However, the role has had its fair share of challenges because the charity had to appoint a new chief executive, relocate to a new building and deal with financial issues shortly after her appointment. But the charity came out "better and stronger".

Like many charities, her overall aim is for it no longer to be needed: "Ideally, I'd like to see pre-eclampsia widely recognised by doctors and midwives so patients get the prompt diagnoses and the care they need."

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