Nicola Close – Chief Executive

Nicola became the first Chief Executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health in June 2007. Her remit included developing and implementing a robust governance framework and Business Plan as well as managing the work programme. This includes collaborative policy work, raising awareness and DPH development. The role requires her using her considerable Public Health and Management knowledge and expertise and extensive networks.

Nicola managed the development and establishment of ALPHA (Access to Learning for the Public Health Agenda) and was appointed as its Director in July 2001 where she directed the work programme, led the team and managed ALPHA’s infrastructure and resources. Her financial responsibility included sourcing ALPHA’s funding and ad hoc income as well as ensuring financial probity and cost-effectiveness. She was a member of the ALPHA Board. Public Health projects have included service and organisational reviews and needs assessments, educational and development programmes and support for workforce development and modernisation.

As the East of England representative on the UKPHA Council (2002 – 2007) Nicola was a Trustee of the UKPHA undertaking strategic policy work. She led a full governance review in 2004 and was on their Management Committee. She has a personal interest in children with Special Needs and is Chair of Governors at a Secondary school academy.

Nicola joined the NHS in 1994 as Regional Clinical Audit Co-ordinator (Education) with a remit to provide educational support for Clinical Audit staff and their departments. With the changing Public Health agenda this role widened and as Education & Development Manager for ACET (Anglia Clinical Effectiveness Team) a similar support was offered to Public Health and Clinical Governance. She project managed the region-wide Public Health Health Inequalities Group from 1998-2001 which carried out the first regional measures and target setting work for inequalities following the Acheson Report.

Since 1996 she has managed and developed staff, finance and systems and is a Member of the Institute of Healthcare Management. She has a Master’s degree in Mathematics and another in Logic as well as Master’s level education in Public Health including Health Economics. Nicola is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, an Honorary member of the Faculty of Public Health and a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Previously her experience had been as:

  • Teacher of Mathematics and Computing to children in a comprehensive school (11-18 years old).
  • Tutor to adults in Mathematics.
  • Computer Analyst, programmer and technical writer – developing IT management systems for commercial organisations.
  • Educational Researcher – qualitative research projects around in-service training for teachers and statistical support for an OFSTED school inspection team.

Nicola is a highly experienced facilitator and trainer having developed and trained on courses in most aspects of Public Health and Management. She regularly presents, lectures and publishes both locally and nationally.

Isobel Howe – Head of Policy and Deputy CEO

Isobel joined the ADPH in June 2017 and her role involves deputising for the Chief Executive and heading up the Policy Team with responsibility for the development and delivery of the ADPH’s policy programme.

Isobel previously worked at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health where she was Head of Health Policy. She has a strong background in policy, strategy development and project and programme management across a range of sectors from health, children and youth justice through to science and research, having previously worked at the UK Research Councils and the Worldwide Universities Network.

Rachel Cullum – Policy Manager

Rachel joined the ADPH in September 2016 from the Stroke Association, where she was previously the Policy and Parliamentary Officer. Her role involves managing the policy programme for the ADPH and developing member-led policy positions for the organisation.

She has a range of experience including roles in local government, voluntary sector infrastructure organisations and both local and national third sector experience. She volunteers as a trustee at a charity specialising in providing services for those with acquired brain injury. She graduated from Durham University in 2010 with a degree in Politics, and has in-depth knowledge of both local and national policy relating to health and adult social care.

Magdalena van der Steen – Engagement Development Manager

Magda joined the ADPH with a focus on developing stakeholders’ as well as members’ engagement with the association.

She has several years of experience in education in England and the USA, including teaching Spanish at high school and university level. Her most recent assignments revolved around talent management and performance evaluation within a children focused charity aiming to break the poverty cycle and to remove educational inequalities in England by developing a network of senior leaders in education.

Mark Hamblett – Business Support Manager

Mark joined the ADPH in November 2013 to take up the role of Business Support Manager with responsibility for managing the infrastructure and resources of the organisation, whilst providing administrative support for its governance.

With over 25 years experience in business and office management in both commercial and charity sectors one of Mark’s first projects was to help the Association in its application for charity status under English law.

Saara Akhtar – Policy Coordinator

Saara joined the ADPH in June 2017 and assists with the development and delivery of the ADPH’s policy programme.

Saara has a strong background in health, ethics and international development, having graduated with an MSc in Global Health from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has a keen interest in health inequity, finance and justice, having taught a class in Global Health and Social Justice at Yale University.

Having worked as a researcher in both the US and Asia, Saara has experience of developing policy in international think tanks, the developing world and the third sector. She has good experience of providing analysis of qualitative data to support policy.

Yvette Addo – PA to the President and CEO

Yvette Addo joined the ADPH in July 2016 in the role of PA to the President and CEO and Team Administrator. She has extensive administration experience coming from the City of London Police. Yvette also has over five years of experience working with mental health issues, as well as drug and alcohol addiction.

Lucia Lucas – DPH Support Coordinator

Lucia joined the ADPH in June 2017 taking on a new post with responsibility for coordinating the mentoring programme for new Directors of Public Health.

She has a Degree in Biomedical Sciences as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and worked for many years as a teacher in various primary schools around London. More recently, she worked as a Consultant Leading Teacher, modelling outstanding practice and supporting teachers within the London Borough of Enfield.  Prior to her current role at ADPH, she gained experience within public health policy and campaigning whilst volunteering at the Children’s Food Campaign and supported a community development charity (Octopus Communities) on a project aimed at addressing key public health priorities within the London Borough of Islington.

Laura Bamford – Membership Expansion Coordinator

Laura joined the ADPH in July 2016 in the new role of Membership Expansion Coordinator. She has experience in providing administrative support and customer service for membership organisations in both the private and public sector. Laura also has previous experience delivering healthcare support services and benefits to the US Military stationed in the EMEA region.