UWE appoints Gabriel Scally as director of WHO research centre

Issue date: 11 September 2012

Professor Gabriel Scally has been appointed as Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments, which is based at UWE Bristol.

The Centre is a recognised leader in the emerging field of healthy urban planning. It works closely with local government, health bodies and planning organisations in the UK and internationally.

Until April 2012, Professor Scally was Regional Director of Public Health at the Department of Health South West and South West Strategic Health Authority. There he was responsible for a number of significant innovations in the improvement of public health including Smokefree South West, Healthy Schools Plus and the Office of Sexual Health.

Professor Scally, whose career as an NHS public health director in England began almost two decades ago, said, “I am looking forward to taking up this new post. My job is helping people live healthier lives in healthier communities. I am a passionate supporter of the NHS and am deeply involved in debates about public health issues, such as obesity and food culture, tobacco control, and public health's impending transfer from the NHS to local government.

“I would like to see serious investment in preventing as well as in treatment of illness. That should encompass ensuring that the towns and cities where most of us live enable us to live healthy and fulfilled lives.”

Professor Scally qualified in medicine at Queen's University, Belfast, and is also a graduate of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has held senior public health positions both in Northern Ireland and in England and became Regional Director of Public Health at the South and West Regional Health Authority in 1994.

Earlier this year, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by UWE in recognition of his outstanding achievements in promoting public health in the South West and in particular for his encouragement and support in working with UWE to build practical study programmes linking health, environment, sustainability and planning.

Professor Scally is very engaged with global health issues and is a member of the Governing Council of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He has been a member of UK delegations to the World Health Assembly and Executive Board of the World Health Organisation.

UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve West said, “I am delighted to welcome Gabriel Scally to this important role within the University. Gabriel has made a major contribution to public health nationally and internationally and will bring the same commitment and enthusiasm to his new post. The difficult issues around urbanisation and health are facing communities throughout the world and UWE is well positioned to make a major contribution to the study of these problems and the development and implementation of solutions.”

The WHO Collaborating Centre at UWE Bristol was set up in 1995 as part of a worldwide network to build bridges between the spheres of health and town planning. It draws together different professions and disciplines such as public health, community development and safety, spatial planning, built environment, urban design and environmental science.

For more information on the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments see http://www.bne.uwe.ac.uk/who/

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