Obesity Action Scotland was established in 2015 to provide clinical leadership and independent advocacy on preventing and reducing overweight and obesity in Scotland. It is funded by a grant from the Scottish Government and hosted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on behalf of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties.
The main aims of the Unit are:
To raise awareness and understanding of what drives obesity and the health problems associated with obesity and overweight with health practitioners, policy makers and the public
To evaluate current research and identify strategies to prevent obesity and overweight based on the best available evidence
To work with key organisations in Scotland, the rest of the UK and worldwide, to promote healthy weight and wellbeing
The Steering Group of Obesity Action Scotland includes members from various disciplines involved in preventing and tackling obesity and its consequences e.g. clinicians, public health experts, epidemiologists, nutritionists and dieticians, GPs and weight management experts.
There are three members of staff.
Dr Andrew Fraser
Andrew was Director of Public Health in NHS Highland from 1994-97, Deputy Chief Medical Officer in the Health Department of the Scottish Office, then Scottish Executive from 1997-2003. He was responsible for advice on Public Health Policy, taking a particular interest in health protection matters, alcohol-related harm, public health laws and, increasingly, health inequalities and the health of marginalised groups. He worked in the Scottish Prison Service from 2003-2012 as Director of Health and Care, also advising the government and World Health Organisation on prison-related health matters, alcohol and drugs policy. From 2012 until 2021 he was Director of Public Health Science at NHS Health Scotland until it became Public Health Scotland, when he took on Medical Director and Senior Adviser roles. Throughout, his focus has been on effective ways to narrow health inequalities in Scotland, creating the conditions for change in healthy eating and active living to improve Scotland's health.
Dr David Blane
David Blane is an academic GP with an interest in the role of primary care in mitigating health inequalities and the interface between primary care and public health. He is the Academic Lead for the Scottish Deep End Project and co-Lead for the Determinants of Health and Health Inequalities theme in the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. His qualifications include a BSc in International Health (2003) from University College London, MPH (2012) and PhD (2018) from University of Glasgow.
Professor Simon Capewell
Simon trained in general, respiratory and cardiovascular medicine in Newcastle, Cardiff, and Oxford, then in public health in Edinburgh and Glasgow. He was appointed as the first Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in the University of Liverpool in 1999. Simon manages a research programme mainly involving cardiovascular disease (CVD) and food policy. Funding thus far totalling over £20 million, with over three hundred peer-reviewed papers, many in top journals. Simon is President of the Society for Social Medicine, and Vice President (Policy) for the UK Faculty of Public Health. He is also a Trustee for the Faculty, for the UK Health Forum, and for Heart of Mersey, a large regional CVD primary prevention charity. He contributes to policy development and service work. He has recently chaired/participated in a dozen national /international policy and prevention committees, including Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (Obesity), British Heart Foundation (Prevention & Care), NICE (CVD prevention), UK Faculty of Public Health, European Society of Cardiology and WHO.
Dr Emilia Crighton
Emilia is the Interim Director of Public Health for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. She was instrumental in setting up OAS while honorary secretary to the Scottish Academy of Royal Colleages, to advocate for effective interventions in reducing the obesity burden on the Scottish population’s health.
Dr Lynne Douglas
Lynne has spent most of her working life in the NHS working as an AHP Director in Lothian. She is a Dietitian and has always been interested in prevention and wellbeing. She brings knowledge of Systems change, prevention and technical knowledge around nutrition & Dietetics from a policy perspective and also population change.
Sheila Duffy MA, Cert.Ed, DipLIS, HonMFPH
Since 2004, Sheila has been Chair of the Scottish Coalition on Tobacco (SCOT) and represents ASH Scotland on various Scottish Government Groups on Tobacco Control. She also represents ASH Scotland on networks such as the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control and the European Smoke-free Partnership. Prior to becoming Chief Executive, she was Director of Information & Communications at ASH Scotland from 2003. In this role she was responsible for influencing the development of the Scottish legislation that ended smoking in most enclosed public places. In 2015 she was given honorary membership of the Faculty of Public Health and is active in the advocacy group. Strategically, ASH Scotland is working towards creating a generation free from tobacco, and tackling the inequalities that tobacco causes. Current priorities include tobacco and the cost of living crisis, and youth uptake of e-cigarettes.
Ashley Goodfellow, MFPH
Ashley is a Consultant in Public Health and Health Policy in NHS Lothian, with a particular interest in maternal, child and family health and wellbeing. Ashley is a qualified nutritionist and public health specialist and has held various positions in the NHS, local authority and third sector.
Her current role involves place-based working with community planning partners to improve population health and reduce levels of inequality. Ashley also has strategic leadership responsibility for driving forward public health priorities on maternal, children and young people’s health, and eating well, physical activity and healthy weight.
Dr Steve Graham
Steve has more than 27 years of senior business, public sector and university leadership experience. He was previously the Executive Director of the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, a £100 million capital and £50 million funding programme to transform the way the University undertakes collaborative research and development with business and industry.
Retired Consultant in Dental Public Health. Honorary Senior Lecturer University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee, Honorary Professor ADEMA, University of the Balearic Islands. Dental adviser to the Falklands Island Government.
Colwyn Qualified from Edinburgh University as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1981 and worked as a clinician across the UK and in Denmark, completing postgraduate studies in Cardiff Dental School, Glasgow Dental School and Manchester Dental School. He is a Cochrane Collaboration Oral Health Group member, Past President of the European Association of Dental Public Health and Past President of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. He has published on a variety of dental and public health subjects but most recently has been looking at the social determinants of oral health and oral health inequalities, and the effectiveness of interventions to overcome them.
Professor Vittal Katikireddi
Vittal is Professor of Public Health & Health Inequalities at the University of Glasgow and an honorary Consultant in Public Health at Public Health Scotland. His chief research interests are in improving the development and application of evidence to inform healthy public policy. He initially studied at the University of Edinburgh, completing degrees in Medical Sciences (Genetics), Medicine and Public Health Research and completed his PhD on the relationship between evidence and public health policy at the University of Glasgow. After initially working in hospital medicine, he carried out his public health training at NHS Lothian. He has published over 250 academic papers, with his chief research interests focusing on evaluating policies and health inequalities. His work has been recognised through the Littlejohn-Gairdner prize from the Faculty of Public Health, the Thomas C Chalmers award from the Cochrane Collaboration and Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Dr Daphne Varveris
Dr Daphne Varveris is a Consultant Anaesthetist in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and Scottish CMO Speciality Advisor for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. Daphne trained in Manchester, London, and Glasgow prior to taking up a consultant post in 2002. She served as a College Tutor for six years and continues to support training as an educational supervisor.
Daphne's speciality interests include anaesthesia for both head and neck and colorectal surgery. As the Chair of the RCoA Scottish Board, she leads the quality and safety workstreams, representing the Scottish Board on the Safety Anaesthetic Liaison Group (SALG) and co-chairing the Scottish Anaesthetic Quality and Safety Group. As a steering group member of the Obesity Action Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, she provides speciality input into wider health issues.
Jennifer joined Obesity Action Scotland in November 2021 as the Policy and Evidence Manager.
Jennifer has a decade of experience working in public health policy and wider public policy, including previously working at Cycling Scotland, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), and Skills Development Scotland, in policy and government liaison roles. She has also held voluntary roles at the National Trust for Scotland and Diabetes Scotland.
Jennifer has a MSc in Policy Studies from the University of Edinburgh and a MA in Politics and Public Policy from the University of Glasgow.
Jennifer is a member of the Board of Voluntary Health Scotland (since December 2023) and is a Trustee of her local foodbank.
She was also previously a member of the SCVO Policy Forum, playing a key role in drafting the Forum's 10 year vision for Scotland strategy document, and worked as volunteer social policy adviser at a local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Tom joined Obesity Action Scotland as a Policy and Engagement Officer in October 2021 after graduating with a MSc in Global Health and Management from the University of Aberdeen.
Tom collaborated with Obesity Action Scotland for his MSc research project which used document analysis and evaluation frameworks to critique Scottish Government obesity strategies published since devolution.