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June 19, 2023
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Presidential reflections on 22/23

Last month, we held our AGM and Annual Workshop and once again, I had the great privilege of presenting ADPH’s Annual Review to our members.

It has been a busy first full year as President of ADPH and I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved by both our members and our staff. I would therefore like to use this month’s blog to outline some of our achievements and set out my stall for what I would like to see in the coming year.

2022/23, I think we can all agree, was a period of intense political change. Given this situation, coming so soon after the pandemic, it is quite remarkable that an organisation made up of such busy people, supported by such a small number of staff, has been able to produce so much and had such an effect.

This time last year, I reflected on how Directors of Public Health (DsPH) had come to the fore during the pandemic and how, as a result, ADPH had become much more widely known. Over the past 12 months, thanks to the efforts of all the many members involved in our work, we have really built on this increased profile and consolidated our reputation as a trusted source of evidence-based information and advice on all things public health.

Thanks to strong partnerships with a wide range of organisations, we have continued to advocate for improved population health in key national conversations and submitted a range of consultation responses on topics including system reform and planning. Meanwhile, we are also increasingly being invited to share our opinions to Parliamentarians from political parties across the spectrum, as well as to Parliamentary Committees, policymakers and at key round table events.

We have also increased our engagement with the devolved nations and overseas territories, something we aim to build on even more in the coming year.

Last year’s 175th anniversary celebrations of the first ever public health official allowed us to broaden our reach and improve understanding, not only of what public health is, but what DsPH actually do. As a result, we have been referenced in over 1000 media articles and asked for comment and opinion on a huge range of issues encompassing health protection, preventable disease, commercial and social determinants of health, funding and much more besides. These quotes have been cited in an equally wide range of media, from the Mail to the New York Times and plenty in between, ensuring our message is being heard by millions of people.

Our Board and Council members have also started appearing on podcasts and in an expanded social media presence, we have run successful campaigns such as the A-Z of public health, which received widespread praise from members and stakeholders alike. Staff have also developed a brand new website and members-only portal, WeDPH which has further helped to improve our profile and improve communications.

The key to all our work is our membership and we are absolutely delighted that 96% of full members took part in ADPH programmes over the course of the year. Through this engagement with our members, we have held a range of interesting workshops and webinars and been able to support new DsPH through the mentor scheme. To build on this success, we are now carrying out a member survey that will help us develop a new programme of masterclasses for 23/24 and beyond.

We have continued to contribute to improving public health practice locally, particularly through our involvement in the national Sector-led Improvement programmes for suicide prevention and vaccine engagement. The three Commissioners’ Groups have also been busy, and are proving to be hugely productive and effective networking groups.

Our suite of policy positions have been refreshed and our policy advisory groups continue to be instrumental to informing our advocacy work, ensuring that we represent the consensus of DsPH views and are taking into account the very latest evidence and research from on the ground when making recommendations nationally.

One common thread throughout all our work is the consistent call for long-term, collaborative solutions that will support not only individual and population health, but also the UK economy. This powerful message is one that we will keep returning to as the country prepares for the next General Election.

I am very excited to be steering ADPH into the next year with a resolute commitment to improving the nation’s health. To support our work, we have developed a Manifesto for a Healthier Nation which outlines four key areas that we think all political parties should commit to and that place health at the very heart of all decision making.

Although there is no way to predict the coming year’s political landscape, I know for certain that ADPH will rise to the challenge of advocating for these ambitious – and vitally important – goals to an increasingly broad and important audience.

I will say more about our manifesto calls in the coming months but, for now, I would like to pass on my sincere and heartfelt thanks to our Chief Executive, Nicola and all the staff for their commitment to supporting members – and of course to our members and partners too for all they do to support ADPH.



Annual Review 2022-23
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