Press release

David Heymann appointed as Acting Chair of Public Health England

David Heymann has today been appointed as the Acting Chair of Public Health England.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Dr. Heymann, currently Chairman of the Health Protection Agency, will with immediate effect take on the role of Acting Chair of Public Health England, the new public health body that will be the expert voice for public health, when it is established in April 2013.

Dr Heymann will continue as Acting Chair of Public Health England until the Chair Designate is appointed through the public appointments process in the Autumn. 

Public Health England will be the leader in protecting and improving the public’s health through the provision of health protection services and will provide expert public health advice and professional support to Local Authorities the NHS and the public. It will also ensure that improved outcomes for physical and mental health and wellbeing are systematically addressed by the NHS and Local Authorities.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“I am delighted to confirm David Heymann as the Acting Chair of Public Health England.

“Dr Heymann’s role will be to support Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive Designate, to ensure that Public Health England is ready for its position in the new health and care system - to protect and improve the nation’s public health and to reduce health inequalities.

“This is a welcome and timely appointment and I look forward to him bringing his scientific background and experience with the Health Protection Agency to the role.”

Dr Heymann said:

“I am delighted to be given this tremendous opportunity to play a role in the development of Public Health England.  In particular, my appointment as Acting Chair of Public Health England will enable me to work closely with Duncan Selbie to help assure continuity of service provision as we move through the transition period.”

The Acting Chair will work with the Chief Executive Designate to ensure the effective establishment of Public Health England.  This will include supporting the smooth transition of staff and functions to Public Health England, and advising on the development of robust corporate governance arrangements for the Agency.  

David Heymann will take up his post immediately.

**Notes to editors **

  1. For media enquiries please contact Alex MacDonald on 0207 210 5484.  
  2. Dr David Heymann (Chairman) was the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment and the representative of the Director-General for polio eradication.  Previously, from 1998-2003, he was Executive Director of the WHO Communicable Diseases Cluster and from October 1995 to July 1998 he was Director of the WHO Programme on Emerging and other Communicable Diseases.  Prior to that he was the chief of research activities in the WHO Global Programme on AIDS.Before joining WHO, Dr Heymann worked for 13 years as a medical epidemiologist in sub-Saharan Africa on assignment from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He also worked in India for two years as a medical epidemiologist in the WHO Smallpox Eradication Programme.In 2004 Dr Heymann received the American Public Health Association Award for Excellence and was named to the United States Institute of Medicine.  In 2005 he was awarded a Welling Professorship at the George Washington University School of Public Health and the 2005 Donald Mackay medal by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Dr Heymann was appointed as Chair of the Health Protection Agency in May 2009.

  1. In accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Dr David Heymann has declared no political activity.
  2. The Department of Health will appoint the Chair Designate and non-executive members of Public Health England’s advisory board through the public appointments process.  The advertisement for these positions will be issued in September and the Chair and non-executive members will be appointed during the Autumn.
  3. This appointment will fall into the pay range of up to  £63,000.
  4. Further information on Public Health England is available via the PHE website.
Published 26 July 2012