New Director of Public Health appointed

Published: Tuesday, 12th February 2019

A national strategic advisor to Public Health England has been appointed as Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council.

Dr Justin Varney

Dr Justin Varney currently works as national strategic advisor on health and work at PHE, and has previously been national lead for adult health and wellbeing at the same organisation.

Originally training in General Practice, his career has included roles in the NHS, local and national government and he has a strong background in building partnerships across  the public, private and community sector to improve people’s health and wellbeing. He has led national programmes of action on physical activity, health and work, sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, pharmacy and allied health professionals. He also recently completed a secondment to the charity Business in the Community, the Prince of Wales’s Responsible Business Network, developing their strategy and planning approach.

He has a broad range of experience, including periods as a community diversity and inclusion advisor on LGBT inclusion to the Department of Health and Metropolitan Police, faculty member for the Healthcare Leadership Academy, and representative for the International Association of National Public Health Institutes in the development of the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity. He has also been Thinker in Residence at the University of Sydney, advising the federal and New South Wales state government on integrating physical activity across policy and delivering population change, and is an independent advisor to the Council of Health and Work.

Dr Varney said: “I am excited to join the dynamic team of elected members and officers at Birmingham City Council. Birmingham has some significant public health challenges at every stage of life and in every community, but there is a real appetite and passion to work together to make a difference in local people’s lives and give everyone the potential for a better and healthier future in the city. I came into public health medicine to make a difference and I am really pleased to be coming to Birmingham, and the Midlands where my grandparents lived their entire lives, to work with the council, and its partners, to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.”

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I’m delighted to confirm Dr Varney’s appointment. He brings a huge breadth of experience across sectors and I look forward to working with him to help improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for our citizens and in particular focusing on health inequalities within our inner city communities.”

Dr Varney is due to take up his new post on 18 February 2019.

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