Thursday, June 20, 2024

Old is new public health boss

New Zealand’s new Public Health Agency (PHA) will be led by Dr Andrew Old when it is formally established on 1 July, Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced today.

The PHA will be a new directorate within the Ministry of Health as part of the Government’s health and disability system reforms to strengthen public and population health. 

Dr Old (pictured) is a public health physician and is currently the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Waitematā District Health Board. He has been seconded to the COVID-19 response since early 2020, most recently as Chief Clinical Officer for the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre. He is the chair of the Metro Auckland Clinical Governance Forum and was awarded the 2018/19 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy and Practice for New Zealand.

“At a time when public health is particularly critical to the well-being of New Zealanders, I am very pleased to appoint someone of Dr Old’s skills and experience to the Ministry’s leadership team,” Dr Bloomfield says.

“Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people and people living in rural areas all experience disproportionately poorer health outcomes.  The Public Health Agency will provide system leadership for public health and advise the Director-General of Health on achieving better and more equitable health outcomes. 

“The Public Health Agency will be working with the Māori Health Authority to respond to the aspirations, strengths and needs of iwi and Māori communities, and drive improvement in Hauora Māori.  As well as providing leadership in the health sector the Public Health Agency will work across government agencies and sectors outside of health.

“Ministry teams already working on public and population health have been transferred into the new PHA directorate and will continue to work to improve public and population health,” he said.

Dr Old will take up the role as PHA Deputy Director-General on 18 July. 

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