Professor John Ashton CBE
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Regional Director of Public Health - North West
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Professor John Ashton CBE was elected President of the Faculty of Public Health in March 2013 and took up the post in July 2013.

John Ashton was born in Liverpool in 1947 and was educated at Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool (1958-1965), Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School (1965-1970) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1976-1978). John has specialised in psychiatry, general practice, family planning and reproductive medicine and finally public health. He has worked in Newcastle, Northumberland, Hampshire - where for two years he was a councillor on Hampshire County Council - and London before returning to Liverpool in 1983. 

John is well known for his work on planned parenthood, Healthy Cities and his personal advocacy of public health. He was also a member of the British delegation to Macedonia during the Kosovo emergency and played a prominent role in resolving the fuel dispute.

From 1993 until August 2006 John held the position of North West Regional Medical Officer and North West Regional Director of Public Health where he had the responsibility for Public Health in a region of 6.7 million people, stretching from Carlisle to Crewe. He has played an active part in developing government policies for public health and under his leadership, the North West became regarded as a centre for pioneering initiatives. His legacy includes:

  • The country’s first syringe exchange programme which was established on Merseyside in the mid 1980s and has had a major role in keeping HIV and AIDS out of the injecting drug population.

  • The establishment of the country’s first Public Health Observatory. There are now Public Health Observatories in every region.

  • The pioneering work of the Healthy Cities initiative in conjunction with the World Health Organisation.

For outstanding service to the NHS, John was awarded the CBE in the Millennium New Year’s honours list.

John currently holds Chairs in the Liverpool Medical School, Liverpool John Moores University, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Manchester Medical School, The University of Lancaster, The University of Central Lancashire and the Valencia Institute of Public Health in Spain.

John is also the author of many scientific papers; articles; book chapters; and several complete books including ‘The New Public Health’ which is a standard textbook on public health.

John Ashton lives in Cumbria and has four sons and two stepsons.



© Professor John Ashton CBE
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