A public health expert at Leicester’s De Montfort University Leicester has been honoured for the impact he made during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Ivan Browne, Professor of Public Health and Social Determinants of Health at De Montfort, is the recipient of the 2023 Chief Medical Officer’s National Impact Award, awarded by the Association of Director’s of Public Health at a recent award ceremony.
Professor Browne, who joined DMU in September 2023 after retiring his position as Director of Public Health (DPH) for Leicester, was presented with the award by Sir Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England.
He was cited for the “extraordinary leadership” he presented during the Covid-19 pandemic in “possibly the most intensely scrutinised area of the UK.”
Professor Browne said this year’s award came as a welcome validation. He said: “I was honoured by it.
“You go through a career, through your profession, and you try and do it well. But how often do you come to the end of a particular chapter, and it gets punctuated in a very visible way?’
“For other DPHs, and the CMOs in the room to congratulate you and say ‘good job’, it energises you.”
This recent award follows another in 2022, when Prof Browne accepted, on behalf of his colleagues, the ADPH Team Award, which recognised the contribution made by the entire Leicester City Council Public Health Team in developing the first local contact tracing service in the country and developing a model Community Health and Wellbeing Champions network.
Prof Browne said he was keen to recognise the work of his colleagues and those across the city who pulled together to support Leicester through the pandemic.
He said: “For me the Team Award was the more important. There was a host of people, beyond the Public Health Team, the whole of the city, including De Montfort, who were around the table during the pandemic, and we were very much a team.”
Of that time, Prof Browne recalls the importance of bringing together the whole community and emphasising the need for local solutions to public health issues.
Looking to the future, he hopes to bring his experience to have the same kind of impact in his teaching.
“The reward at DMU will be very different. It’ll be that student who says ‘it really made a difference for me,’” he said.