Secondment at Santé publique France – Sofia de Rosso (ESR6)
It has been just over a year now that I started my PhD within the Edulia project and last month I finished my last secondment. For 9 months I was working at the offices of Santé publique France (SPF) in Saint Maurice, close to Paris. There I was welcomed by the unit of Nutrition and Physical Activity, which is part of the Prevention and Health Promotion Directorate.
It has been interesting to be part of the reality of a national Public Health Agency, whose objectives and mission are a bit different in comparison to universities and research institutions, environments that I was more used to. During my stay I took part to many activities and training, for example in social marketing and communication and I could understand how health campaigns are developed. I met many people, working in different units at SPF, I could exchange with them and gather useful information to pursue my project’s objectives.
At SPF I worked under the supervision of Pauline Ducrot, officer in charge of scientific studies for the unit of Nutrition. Together with Pauline, we are part of a working group (WG) that accounts 17 participants with different expertise on children feeding. The intention of the WG is to accomplish the goal of formulating educational advice (based on the official French guidelines) on complementary feeding practices. The WG meets once a month for a year with the aim of supporting SPF in formulating new recommendations intended for parents of children aged 0 to 3 years that are acceptable and easily understood, targeting all the population.
I must say that my time in Paris was not always easy, for about one and a half month we have been really touched by a national strike that almost froze all the transports of the city, some meetings were canceled and activities postponed. At the end of my stay the Covid-19 alarm exploded, I went back to INRAE, my host institute in Dijon, for about 2 weeks, and now I am working from home like all the other PhD students and researchers in the Edulia project. Even more meetings were reported and we are in the process of understanding how to compensate possible delays. Anyway I want to stay positive, facing difficulties that are not depending on you is another challenge that often researchers have to deal with, and it is helpful in this phase to have more experienced people able to guide you also through difficult times.