LEVELLING up services is a priority for North Yorkshire’s new Director of Public Health.
Louise Wallace has been appointed permanently in the role for the county council and becomes the first woman to take up the appointment for the area.
The role is about levelling up, advocating for the health of the population and showing that health and wealth are inter-related.
Ms Wallace said: “Public health is about fairness; making sure all children get the best start in life; living well; ageing well and dying well.
“It is about life chances and maximising potential by challenging inequality and supporting individuals and communities, as well as businesses and public services, to improve health and well-being.”
Ms Wallace believes the role is now more critical than ever as we come out of lockdown and that there is a huge job to do in re-energising the population and focusing on physical and mental well-being.
Ms Wallace became interim director at the height of the pandemic late last year and acknowledges it was a baptism of fire.
She was already a key member of the county council’s Covid-19 response team and had played a significant role on issues such as testing, PPE and care sector training and support.
Responding to changing Covid-19 infection rates, dealing with major outbreaks, supporting the NHS with the vaccine roll-out and leading on critical public health messaging has taken up the majority of her work so far .
Although she came to North Yorkshire as Assistant Director for Health and Integration, developing partnership working with the NHS, Ms Wallace has been a Director of Public Health before.
She held the post for five years in Hartlepool up until 2017 where her priorities were tackling health inequalities and significant health issues in the area.
She said: “Clearly, making sure we have a robust and resilient response to Covid, whatever it may bring in the future, and protecting the health of the people of North Yorkshire, must be a priority.
“As we look forward there are other priorities for us as a county and there is much we can do to support people to improve their own health.”
She added: “It’s a delight and a privilege to take up this role at this time for our county.”