Janet Atherton has been named as the next president of the Association of the Directors of Public Health.
Dr Atherton, who is director of public health for NHS Sefton and Sefton council, will take on the role for a three year period from 15 May.
She was also acting chief executive for NHS Sefton for nine months prior to the establishment of the NHS Merseyside cluster, when she returned to her public health role.
Dr Atherton will replace incumbent ADPH president Frank Atherton, public health director for North Lancashire. The two are not related.
Janet Atherton said: “I am honoured to be taking on this role, particularly at this time of great change when the ADPH has a great role to play in supporting the transition of local public health to the responsibility of councils and working with the new national body, Public Health England.
“There is a great deal to do to ensure the ADPH continues to play a central role in improving and protecting the health of the population, supporting directors of public health across the UK and influencing local, national and international legislation and policy.”
Dr Atherton trained in medicine and public health in the north-east before moving to the north-west in 1994. As well as tackling health inequalities, she has a long standing special interest in tobacco control.
Diana Grice, director of public health for East Sussex, will work alongside Dr Atherton as the association’s newly appointed vice president.
Outgoing president Frank Atherton said: “Janet’s leadership experience as both director of public health and chief executive are exactly what the public health community needs as local government takes on the responsibility for improving people’s health.”