Halton Borough Council has appointed Dr Ifeoma Onyia to the position of Director of Public Health, the statutory role which has responsibility for providing leadership on the improvement and protection of the health of Halton’s population.
Dr Onyia has worked for Halton Borough Council since 2013 as a Public Health Consultant, having previously worked for the NHS in Wirral and Stoke-on-Trent. She became interim Director of Public Health for Halton in Autumn last year, following the retirement of Eileen O’Meara.
The post of Director of Public Health is a statutory position meaning it has professional accountability to the Secretary of State for Health through the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, as well as to the Council’s Chief Executive.
In her role, Dr Onyia will be the principal advisor on all health matters to elected members and provide leadership on health improvement, health protection and healthcare public health.
In addition, the post also includes responsibility for a range of other Council services that support wellbeing and public safety, including Environmental Health and Trading Standards.
A Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Dr Onyia originally studied medicine in Nigeria and trained in general practice across Yorkshire and Cheshire and Merseyside, before completing her public health training also in Cheshire and Merseyside.
Ifeoma previously worked as a Consultant in Public Health for the NHS in Wirral and Stoke-on-Trent before taking up her role in Halton, where she led on Healthcare Public Health, Intelligence and Governance.
Talking about her appointment, Dr Onyia said: “I am delighted to take up this important role on a permanent basis.
“I believe that everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, should have the opportunity to experience their best and healthiest lives.
“Public health can make a really important contribution to achieving this, through the work we do around prevention, tackling health inequalities and also in supporting work to address those wider factors that influence the opportunities people have to live a full and healthy life.
“I’m really passionate about the job and the work that my team do every day to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Halton. I look forward to working with elected members, partners and colleagues to make progress against our priorities and continue to improve health outcomes for local people”
Cllr Marie Wright, Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “We are delighted that following her interim period, Ifeoma will now take up the permanent position as Halton’s Director of Public Health.
“Ifeoma brings to the role a great mix of skills, local knowledge and experience, plus an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, all of which will be a tremendous asset to Halton as we work to further improve the health and wellbeing of our local population.
“I’m confident that with Ifeoma’s appointment, the public health of Halton continues to be in safe hands.”
In addition to her role as Director of Public Health, Ifeoma holds a National Institute of Health and Care Research funded role to build public health research capacity in local authorities.
A mother of twins, Ifeoma is also a member of a running group and also enjoys cooking, reading, flash fiction writing and needlework.