After obesity, inadequate sleep is our biggest public health problem, says Dr Pixie McKenna at Network Ireland West Cork event

Posted on: 30/08/2018

The Network Ireland West Cork August event titled “Gráinne McCarthy of Wall Street Journal in conversation with Dr Pixie McKenna” took place on Wednesday, August 22nd 2018 at The Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, Co Cork.  TV doctor, writer, radio broadcaster, GP and Cork native, Dr Pixie McKenna, was the keynote speaker and MC on the evening was Gráinne McCarthy, Deputy Chief News Editor for The Wall Street Journal.  


Speaking about the importance of sleep, Dr Pixie McKenna said “After obesity, it is our biggest public health problem.  If you’re using your phone before bedtime you are more likely to wake up during the night. As a result, you are more likely to die younger, get cancer or cardiovascular disease.  We should actively track our sleep, like we do our calories or our steps. There are so many stages of sleep and it is done in 90 minute blocks.


Dr McKenna is an advocate for more female involvement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and spoke about her belief growing up that her four brothers were more intelligent than she was. “I think there is a huge void in Ireland and across Europe.  It’s a real shame that girls are put off science because they think they’re not bright enough or that it’s a lads career. Science is for everyone.”


Asked about her opinion on vaccinations, Dr McKenna replied “I am pro vaccination and feel very strongly about it.  We should be vaccinating our children and listening to science and the research and evidence that is out there.”


Speaking at the event, Adrienne Harrington, President of Network Ireland West Cork, said “The diversity of speakers, topics and venues offered by Network Ireland West Cork is attractive to many women in the area as it the high level of interaction among guests at events.  The branch is growing, we now have 74 members and our calendar of monthly events continue to showcase the expertise on offer in West Cork.”


Network Ireland West Cork holds networking events for members and guests in different locations in West Cork on the last Wednesday of every month.  The organisation currently has over seventy members and welcomes new members from across West Cork. For further information and to stay up-to-date with the latest news, subscribe to the monthly newsletter by emailing or follow the branch on Facebook ( and Twitter (


Further Information


Dr Pixie McKenna

Dr Pixie McKenna  graduated from University College Cork Medical School in 1995. Following a year of medical and surgical internship in Ireland, she joined the Cambridge Vocational Training Scheme in general practice. This involved three years of hospital training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge in medicine, surgery, general practice, care of the elderly, gynaecology, rheumatology, rehabilitation medicine and paediatrics.

In 1999, she obtained her certificate in general practice training and membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Over the last 13 years she has worked both in the NHS and the private sector in Ireland and the UK.

Her media career began in 2006 when she was asked to be the onscreen doctor in BBC Three’s ‘Freaky Eaters’ series, which ran for three seasons.

She is best known for her role in Channel 4’s primetime, BAFTA-winning medical series ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and Channel 4’s ‘Food Hospital’.

As well these major flagship shows, Pixie makes ad hoc appearances on a variety of other programmes as wide ranging as Celebrity Mastermind to This Morning. When not filming, Pixie spends her time writing columns for the Irish Mail, Mizz, Zest and Best magazines. She also hosts the weekly ‘Air your Ailments’ slot on Ireland’s Today FM.

When she’s not busy with her clinical commitments and media work, Pixie can be found strolling, punting or cycling around her UK base in Cambridge, or sailing around the west coast of Cork.

Pixie comes from a family background of medicine, being the third generation of doctors in her family, but only the first female medic! Having studied speech and drama from the age of five, she is an accomplished speaker on a variety of medical topics, with sexual health, dermatology, women’s health and health promotion being her specific interests.

Pixie released her first book, The Handbag Doctor, through Kyle Cathie books in 2010.


Gráinne McCarthy

Gráinne McCarthy is Deputy Chief News Editor for The Wall Street Journal, a role in which she oversees and helps drive global coverage. Prior to moving to London in the summer of 2016, she was Paris bureau chief, leading coverage of major business, finance, political and general news stories in France. Previous roles included markets editor for and Jakarta bureau chief. A native of Skibbereen in West Cork, Gráinne was a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University; she has a M.A. in Journalism from Dublin City University.