Holly K

Hi all - I'm a medic who has hung up the stethoscope and ditched the scrubs for now to explore higher impact opportunities. I am also investing time in broadening my experiences, exploring the world, and challenging myself and my beliefs about the world in a variety of ways. I'm interested in a range of EA ideas and cause areas.

Topic Contributions


A laundry list of anxieties about launching my blog: any feedback appreciated!

Hey, thanks for your input, those are all helpful points. Yes, perhaps I’ll seek out a few people to ask for feedback.

Who wants to be hired? (May-September 2022)

I hope to! ;) I have an application in for the RA position at the moment - fingers crossed!

Who wants to be hired? (May-September 2022)
Location: Unfixed - currently in France but travelling indefinitely and willing / happy to relocate
Remote: Happy to work remotely (previous experience with the same)
Willing to relocate: Yes
Skills: medicine, health care, mental health, research and analysis, advocacy, writing, editing, publication (see in Notes re my perceived fit for other general roles)
Résumé/CV/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holly-kristensen-663b33190/ (can email my resume to you but it is essentially distilled on linkedin)
Email: hollydkristensen@gmail.com

Medic from Australia who has taken an indefinite step back from clinical medicine, with a view to pursuing higher impact opportunities. Rlocated from Australia for now (currently floating around Europe).

Essentially willing and able to donate my skills / time in a remote sense or in a particular location for the right opportunity. I’m in the position where I could take or leave employment, I'm mostly motivated by the right experience / opportunity, whether that is paid or not. Well-placed for any remote work but similarly flexible in relocating for the right opportunity. 

Background in medicine, science and research, so plenty of relevant experience in research in general as well as more niche experience in health care. Studying a masters of bioethics. Various previous mental health advocacy roles. Limited background with writing / editing, having worked as an editor for a website prior and really interested in broadening my writing and journalism skills.

I think I could also be a really good fit for more general roles like operations / community building / stakeholder engagement, although these are untested hunches. I’ve also had previous on the ground roles in low and middle income countries, so I’d be willing and happy to do any sort of more direct roles (ie ops / community liaison etc) for any EA, should this be useful / needed. 

Interest in many cause areas but specifically global health and development / global mental health / climate change / AI ethics (particular the ethics of human interface with and use of AI tools).

If you or anybody you know think I could be a good niche or general fit for your project / organisation and want some help, let me know! 
Power dynamics between people in EA

Hi Julia. This was interesting to read. Thank you for getting explicit about all the ways that these things can get tricky! As someone from a field (medicine) that seems to foster (equally weird) relationships of variable complexity amongst colleagues and across all "power levels", I've seen and heard of a LOT of these (and yes, been in my fair share of weird situations myself!). Just a point - you can decide not to date someone within the EA community. Like regardless of your feelings, you can actually just make that choice and sometimes that makes life easier. Having a partner who knows NOTHING about your professional world is awesome and having them as an objective outsider who isn't as wrapped up in it all can be quite grounding (speaking from past experience). Seeing your ex multiple times a day when you don't expect it, hearing the gossip about who your previous fling is hooking up with from an unknowing colleague, seeing the guy/gal who said no to a date, knowing that everyone knows your business. LESS awesome. Truly less awesome... I get working with people in close proximity who are inspiring and understand the intricacies of a weird profession can become alluring/attractive but also, the head can rule over the heart. Also, being single and your own person is awesome too!

Kidney stone pain as a potential cause area

Hi Dan - great post, you've clearly put a lot of thought and research into this. I read the whole thing.

I'm a (predominantly) emergency doctor so the title of your post caught my eye. I can certainly confirm that stone-related pain brings even the most stoic amongst us through the doors of the ED to seek out help! 

There were a couple of points that came to mind reading your post (and please feel free to take or leave them as you will, they are just preliminary thoughts and I've not put my own research into it, these are just my thoughts and my thoughts with my anecdotal doctor's hat on): 

  • Pain vs Suffering: As you've alluded to, pain can be quite unwieldy in its characterization and description. It's also hugely tied to emotions, expectations, and outcomes.  Whilst kidney stones are objectively and subjectively incredibly painful, I've often found that a good explanation of the cause of the pain and the assurance that it WILL pass with time is very reassuring and so the overall suffering attached to that pain experience is less say than the emotional suffering I've seen in patients with chronic intractable pain or pain that has no physical attributable cause (sometimes called functional pain). I do agree though that suffering attached to stones that don't just pass and the operations etc. that might need to come after that can be unpleasant (interestingly and again anecdotally stent-related pain seems to be as bad if not worse than the stone itself and those things can stay in for months!). I just wonder whether it's overall a big enough burden of suffering amongst the other forms of pain/suffering to warrant rigorous efforts to alleviate/prevent it.
  • Regarding small stones being downplayed: I don't know that they're necessarily downplayed (even if found as an 'incidentaloma' - for those not familiar: something that pops up on a scan that you weren't looking for; from incidental), but for small stones not causing pain or obstruction, we don't do anything about them straight away, yes (because they might pass and because 'doing' things in medicine is always a trade-off of doing harm vs benefit ie doing stent surgery (in the absence of something to make it go away otherwise) without good cause confers a lot more suffering than an asymptomatic stone!). 
  • Radiation stigma: Again, this is a combination of reason and intuition but on the balance of all things considered (ie knowing the disease process, its likelihood etc), would I have a CT scan for a screening test at present? No. Regardless of how low the radiation is, as a young woman, it's a cumulative risk I'll avoid if I can. I think this way for patients too. I guess there's different thinking with age and benefit; mammograms as a screening modality for breast cancer would be an example. Also obviously, US or MRI would remove the radiation risk but then you run into cost and access issues (also a consideration for CT scans) and the need for skilled sonographers.  
  • I guess I say the above with the idea that in this space, the preventative approach seems more promising to me in terms of its cost-effectiveness and scalability than the diagnostic or therapeutic approaches. I'm also generally excited about the advances in medical imaging and the intersection with AI that are coming about!

Anyway, thanks again for your post, it was interesting for me to read. 

How are you keeping it together?

Hi OP. I came across this post just now and wanted to see how you're doing now a couple of months down the track? I think there have been a lot of really useful points made in the comments about ways to think about the problem of nuclear catastrophe at large. It's certainly been a time of heightened concern on this issue globally. I want to say (to you and to others that may come across this post) that there is nothing (including and especially EA) that is more important than your mental health and wellbeing if you are struggling. I'm particularly aware that you are considering ways to end things quickly if a nuclear disaster got out of hand (which I am taking to mean you would consider ways to end your life). If those thoughts are sitting with you or becoming present, please reach out for help. Potential suicidal thoughts aside, it sounds like getting help with your mental health regardless might be helpful (as it can be for anyone) but especially if you're having thoughts of hopelessness and despair. If you want to talk, I am a health professional and whilst I can't replace the help that you might need/benefit from, I'm happy to talk to you (you can contact me privately) and point you in the right direction if that would be helpful. I hope you're looking after yourself regardless.

Should we buy coal mines?

Hi John - Thanks, this was an interesting read and a concept I didn't know about before reading your post. Interesting to see the numbers. I'm an Australian who is chuffed that the current government got chucked out a matter of hours ago. The opinion polls seem to cite a collective frustration at the outgoing government's lack of commitment to meaningful climate change policies/mitigation. Still, I am doubtful there will be much in the way of dialing back on coal to come.  Morrison holding that piece of coal up never fails to make me shudder. An often missed but crucial point in the discussion around mining/coal in Australia is that it happens on land that always has and always will be Aboriginal land. We benefit from the land that was stolen from the first nations people of Australia. 

Free workspace for EA researchers in London

Hi Jessica - just wondering if this idea got up off the ground?