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Who We Are

EALTHY was set up after the success of the 1st English for Healthcare Conference in 2013, which was held in Locarno, Switzerland. The conference, co-organised with a colleague, attracted healthcare English teachers, materials writers and course developers from across Europe. We learned at that first event that the field of English for medical purposes (EMP) is not only extremely diverse but growing in importance year on year. Teachers working in EMP have very varied backgrounds and experience, both pedagogical and medical. They look for guidance and information from their peers, they want access to pedagogical resources and teaching materials, they want opportunities for professional development and the chance to network. EALTHY, the European Association of Language Teachers for Healthcare, was formed in response to those needs.

The EALTHY Board

The EALTHY Executive Board is currently made up of the President and four officers, headed by the Director. These board members, responsible for the day-to-day running of the association, are joined by two Clinical advisors and Regional representatives. Regional representatives are responsible for promoting EALTHY in their country or region. Board members are united in promoting the fundamental importance of effective communication in healthcare.


If you are a current EALTHY member and would like to join the EALTHY board as a volunteer, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be glad to hear from you.

Professor John Skelton
President read more
Catherine Richards Golini, PhD
Director read more
Désirée Verdonk, PhD
General Secretary read more
Louise Atkinson
Treasurer read more
Dr Joe Wang
Clinical Advisor read more
Virginia Allum
Clinical Nursing Advisor read more
Stevan Mijomanovic
Public Relations & social media read more
Petra Zrníková, PhD
Membership Secretary read more
Timea Nemeth, PhD
Regional Representative read more
Professor John Skelton

John worked in ELT/ESP, and then as an academic applied linguist, for many years. Since 1992 he has worked exclusively in Academic Medicine at Birmingham University Medical School, where he is Professor of Clinical Communication. He is co-founder of the Interactive Studies Unit, which teaches aspects of communication and professional development to thousands of healthcare professionals and students each year. He is also Lead for Education Quality for Birmingham Medical School, and therefore responsible to relevant Regulatory Boards, and in particular to the General Medical Council for the Quality Management of Birmingham’s MBChB Programme.

He is the author of two books on clinical communication, and has had original research published in journals as diverse as Applied Linguistics, The Lancet and The British Medical Journal. He was awarded Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) in 2002, and in 2016 became one of the few non-clinicians ever to be awarded FRCGP (Hon), i.e. Honorary Fellowship of the College.

Catherine Richards Golini, PhD

Catherine lives in Italian Switzerland. She works as a teacher and teacher trainer of English for medical purposes, as a language consultant in the area of clinical trial lay summaries and assessment specialist for medical English. She also works as an editor of academic and medical texts.

Her interests and expertise lie in the field of vocabulary, particularly general and lay-technical vocabulary in medicine, and its under-appreciated role in successful communication and patient-practitioner encounters. Her PhD thesis applied corpus linguistic techniques to uncover the hidden lexical characteristics of written patient information for radiography  She is a reviewer for the Elsevier journal ‘English for Specific Purposes’ and is the founder of EALTHY, which was set up after the success of the 1st English for Healthcare conference in Locarno, Switzerland.

Désirée Verdonk, PhD
General Secretary

Désirée is a Professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. From 2000 to 2017 she was Head of the English Department, which offers classes at both Master and Bachelor level in business, health sciences, police leadership, training and sports. She holds an MA in interpreting and translating and a PhD in Social and Economic History both from the University of Vienna. After her MA degree she spent a year at Leicester University (UK) teaching German.  She moved on to a research assistant position at the Business History Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Research in the area of “Bank-Industry Relations in Interwar Europe” resulted in several papers presented at international conferences and in publications. She also served as Chief Executive Officer of the Austrian Fachhochschulrat (accreditation and evaluation council for Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences). In 1997 she joined the University of Applied Sciences in Wiener Neustadt.

Désirée Verdonk is actively involved in teaching courses in different health sciences degree programmes at her University. Her research interests are Medical English, English for the Workplace (E4WP) and educational standards in Austria in EFL. She has published several papers and has presented papers at various national and international conferences.

Louise Atkinson

Louise Atkinson lives in Bern, Switzerland and teaches English to biomedical analysts as well as general English to both adults and adolescents. Her experience has included designing language courses for IT businesses and government departments. Her medical English teaching has led her to create and maintain an E-learning platform for her biomedical students.

Her interests lie in blended learning, the teaching of vocabulary and generating materials, some of which find their way to the EALTHY website. She also organises teacher training sessions and edits academic theses. She attended the first 1st English for Healthcare conference in Locarno, Switzerland where she first met Catherine and heard about EALTHY. She is a keen runner, albeit a slow one.

Dr Joe Wang
Clinical Advisor

Joe graduated from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1997 and was awarded Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 2002. He received a Clinical Training Fellowship from Kidney Research UK to undertake his PhD in renal fibrosis in 2005 and he has presented and published his work internationally. He was awarded  his PhD and certifcation of specialist training in General Internal Medicine and Nephrology in 2012 and obtained his first consultant post that year.

He is currently a Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine & Nephrology at Epsom & St Heliers NHS Trust and also an Honorary Lecturer at St George’s University London. He is heavily involved in teaching medical undergraduates and postgraduates,  has undertaken examiner and supervisory roles and sat on medical interview panels. He finds solace in following Arsenal football club.

Virginia Allum
Clinical Nursing Advisor

Virginia is Head of Medical English at SLC (Specialist Language Courses) and also works as a freelance medical English writer. She is the author of several online Occupational English Test courses – SLC Reach OET B Medicine 2.0 (doctors) and SLC Reach OET B Nursing 2.0 (nurses) as well as general medical English preparation courses for healthcare professionals. As a freelance writer she recently co-authored OET Preparation Nursing (CUP India) and is a regular contributor of medical English articles for, an online magazine for the IFSI -French Nursing Diploma.

Stevan Mijomanovic
Public Relations & social media

Steven is a teaching assistant at the of Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia. His work is at an intersection of language, healthcare, and education. Stevan teaches medical and nursing students. He has published several papers and works as an editor, translator, and proof-reader of academic texts.

He is currently a doctoral student with a focus on doctor-patient communication and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC). His main interests are applied linguistics and cognitive linguistics.

Petra Zrníková, PhD
Membership Secretary

Petra Zrníková is based in Slovakia. She has changed her career from a university lecturer to a freelance translator and a mentor for newbie translators in medical field.

She translates documents related to surgery, laboratory diagnostics, clinical trials, pharmacology, and medical records. She has got her medical background at the Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava where she taught the courses of General Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. She designed and taught the course for international certificate examination in UNIcert certification system. Her research was focused on testing communication skills, course material design, and reading comprehension from psycholinguistic perspective.

Timea Nemeth, PhD
Regional Representative

Timea is an assistant professor at the Department of Languages for Specific Purposes at the Medical School of the University of Pécs, Hungary. She teaches English and Hungarian for medical purposes and intercultural communication and competence for Hungarian and international undergraduate medical students as well as at postgraduate level and in PhD programmes.

She is actively involved in the integration of international students by facilitating orientation and training programmes for them.

Get in touch

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REGISTERED ADDRESS: Contrada Mondrigo 13, 6616 Losone, SWITZERLAND