Nights interrupted by screens, junk food, physical inactivity, anxiety and depression… Despite the huge resources, public health actions aimed at young people fail to achieve their goal. Pauline Martinot, an intern in public health in Paris and a doctor in neuroscience, was hired by the Minister of Health in June 2021, together with entrepreneur Aude Nyadanu, founder of the start-up Lowpital. For this 31-year-old woman, if we want to reach young people, we need to change our culture of health: get out of pathology-centrism and injunctions; make room for well-being, trust … and digital marketing. Interview.
Egora.fr: How do you find a medical intern at the head of a ministerial mission on youth health?
Dr. Pauline Martinot:It wasn’t expected at all! It was absolutely a surprise that the Minister contacted us in June 2021 to offer us this mission.
My partner in this mission, Aude Nyadanu, is an engineer in a consulting firm and has served several missions in healthcare facilities using a methodology based on design thinking * and co-building solutions with the user. Her name was suggested by one of Olivier Véran’s advisers with whom she had previously worked and she herself recommended me for this position.
Several people in the company confirmed this choice when they tried to communicate differently in terms of youth health, using methodologies such as design thinking * and behavioral sciences. The idea was to change the culture of health: no longer focusing it on pathologies, but returning to the WHO definition **, that is to feel good in your sneakers every day, to have enough energy to carry out your life projects , to feel included in society.
And this corresponded to several initiatives that I was able to conduct during my internship: a think tank that I co-founded a few years ago, Les Ateliers Mercure, whose work on promoting mental health in France, ecology or even different types management in hospital health teams were appreciated by the minister; and a health promotion association that I formed three years ago – Imhotep – through which we experiment with different ways of doing health communication, aimed at young people, with the aim of improving their health, mental and sexual health. They are offered tools to be independent and have self-confidence, manage stress, improve sleep, etc.
So we had carte blanche on the subject!
Your relationship is very different from what we are used to. It is a real toolkit. What was your methodological bias?
On the first day of our appointment we were contacted by reporters who asked us what the highlights of our report would be. We replied that we would only know at the end! We wanted to ask the main stakeholders what their needs were, the obstacles they encountered every day to feel good. For this, we used the design thinking methodology, which is quite recent and very little used in administration. Instead of interviewing presidents of institutions, trade union representatives or youth structures, we established typical profiles of young people representing the majority of young people in the area: rurality, big cities, difficult neighborhoods, overseas … During our quarter, a flash mission carried out in the field from a team of volunteers, we were able to interview 70 young people and 200 professionals who work alongside them every day, but also people who deal with communication and marketing for large companies. adapt their speech to inspire young people. The idea was therefore to offer something different, in addition to the existing one. Because a lot of quality work has already been done in terms of public health.
How did you carry out this mission while continuing your internship?
It was a choice… I got up early, went to bed late. I was working Saturday and Sunday and I didn’t take a vacation last summer. [le rapport a été rendu en septembre 2021, NDLR]. We formed a team of 12 people, volunteers, with whom I worked in Les Ateliers Mercure and in Imhotep. The idea was for them to interview people they were interested in. We also got a lot of help from outside volunteers.
“A representative told us we weren’t up to par”
How was she received by the medical and academic community as an intern at the head of a ministerial mission?
For the vast majority of people surveyed, I was more than welcomed and encouraged in this “go to” approach. In particular, during the days held in the rural areas of Brittany in the youth centers with facilitators and educators who for the first time shared their solutions and experiences with the young people. It was an opportunity to …