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:
The Steering Group of Obesity Action Scotland has members across 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 six members of staff.
Andrew was Director of Public Health in NHS Highland from 1994-97, then 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. From 2003-2012, he worked in the Scottish Prison Service as Director of Health and Care, also advising the government and World Health Organisation on prison-related health matters, national drugs and alcohol policy. His focus is on ways to narrow health inequalities in Scotland, and creating the conditions for change in healthy eating and active living are key steps for Scotland's health.
Since 2004, Sheila has been Chair of the Scottish Coalition on Tobacco (SCOT) and represents ASH Scotland on the Government’s Ministerial Working Group on Tobacco Control. She also represents ASH Scotland on networks such as the Framework Convention Alliance and the Global 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 developing and communicating the evidence in favour of smoke-free public places in Scotland and influencing the development of the legislation that ended smoking in most enclosed public places. In 2013 Sheila was the recipient of the REHIS Annual Award for Meritorious Endeavours in Environmental Health, and in 2015 she was given honorary membership of the Faculty of Public Health. Strategically, ASH Scotland is working towards creating a generation free from tobacco, and tackling the inequalities that tobacco causes.
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.
Dr Colwyn M Jones BDS (Edin), FDS RCPS, FDS RCSEng, DDPH, MSc (V.U. Manc), Cert.HSM (OU), DM (UHIP), FFPH
Consultant in Dental Public Health, & Head of the Evidence for Action Team, NHS Health Scotland. Honorary Senior Lecturer University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee.
Associate Editor of the journal Community Dental Health. He is also the dental adviser to the Falklands Island Government.
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, Vice 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.
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.
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 Deep End GP project in Scotland and co-Lead for the Determinants of Health and Health Inequalities theme in the Institute 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.
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.
Claire is currently Head of Safer and Greener Marketing at the Scottish Government where she is responsible for delivering award-winning national campaigns across a range of different policy areas including Road Safety, Justice, Community Safety and Climate Change. Claire has a marketing career spanning over 20 years, and prior to joining the Scottish Government she spent 8 years as Account Director at one of Scotland’s leading advertising agencies, The Union, delivering marketing campaigns across a range of FMCG and public sector brands including Highland Spring, Warburtons, Whyte and Mackay and VisitScotland.
Joyce Thompson is a Registered Dietitian with a Master in Public Health and is currently employed by NHS Tayside as a Dietetic Consultant in Public Health and her remit covers all nutrition across the life course from prevention to complex care. Joyce has been involved in obesity prevention and management throughout her career. In 1999 Joyce was jointly responsible for the establishment of the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Obesity Specialist Group and became the first chair. She also chaired the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network’s (SIGN) guideline development group on ‘Management of Obesity 115 (2010)’ and currently chairs the BDA Scotland Board.
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.
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 150 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 and the Thomas C Chalmers award from the Cochrane Collaboration. He served as a member of the ‘Health of the Public in 2040’ working group for the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Lorraine previously worked as an independent consultant on public health policy and her clients included Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland and NHS Education Scotland.
Lorraine provided interim management services across a number of policy areas in Scottish Government and has a wealth of experience in policy making and business management. From 2007 to 2013 work for Scottish Government involved developing and leading the national public health initiative “Good Places Better Health” and contributing to the development of health inequalities policy.
An Environmental Health Officer by profession, her career has included working within various local and regional levels of government in enforcement, enabling and advisory roles around environment and health. This has included Regional Advisor to Scottish Natural Heritage, Senior Policy Officer on Air Quality at Greater London Authority and Team Leader for Pollution Control in Scotland's largest Local Authority (Glasgow City Council).
Tel: 0141 465 7260
Jennifer joined Obesity Action Scotland in November 2021 as the Policy and Evidence Manager.
Jennifer has previously worked at Cycling Scotland, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and Skills Development Scotland in policy and government liaison roles.
Jennifer has an Msc in Policy Studies from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Politics and Public Policy from the University of Glasgow.
Jennifer was a member of the SCVO Policy Forum, where members represented and strengthened the voice of the third sector, through producing a Manifesto for the Future to influence the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, and has also worked a volunteer social policy co-ordinator and general adviser at Citizens Advice Bureau, supporting the Bureau to influence and inform national social policy outcomes and decisions. Jennifer is also a Trustee of her local foodbank.
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 had previously studied business before taking time to assess his career options and deciding to pursue his personal interest in health and wellbeing.
Tom collaborated with Obesity Action Scotland for his MSc research project which used document analysis to evaluate Scottish Government obesity strategies published since devolution.
Alice joined Obesity Action Scotland in October 2021 as Policy and Research Officer after completing a MSc in Global Public Health Nutrition.
Alice has previously worked within Marketing roles across a variety of sectors including retail, the arts and membership organisations but changed career path to pursue her passion for public health and nutrition.
Alice’s Master’s thesis explored how the COVID-19 homeworking foodscape, induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, affected the food practices, wellbeing and stress of the MarCom workforce in London, using the Social Ecological model to determine changes.
Robin has worked in public health since 1984, including being employed by Princes Park Health Centre in Liverpool 8 and Mersey Regional Health Authority amongst others. He is the former Chief Executive of the Health Equalities Group (HEG) charity based in Liverpool. Ireland established the organisation in 2002, followed by Healthy Stadia in 2004 and Food Active in 2013, both part of HEG. Robin remains the Honorary Director of Research with HEG. He gained his MPH at the University of Liverpool in 2007 and was elected Member of the Faculty of Public Health through Distinction in 2015.
Robin has worked extensively in healthy weight policy and advocacy with Food Active in England. In addition, he has wide experience of qualitative research with people living with overweight and obesity and concerning commercial determinants of health.
Robin was awarded a PhD student scholarship at the University of Glasgow in 2017, graduating in 2021. His doctoral thesis was on Commercial Determinants of Health in Sport. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences affiliated to the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. Robin’s book titled ‘Sport, Sponsorship and Public Health’ will be published by Routledge in 2023.
Ashleigh is Project Support Officer for the Scottish Obesity Alliance.
Ashleigh is a Political Communication MSc student at the University of Glasgow. She will be leading on supporting SOA policy and advocacy work by coordinating membership and outreach, running social media, and assisting with research and other operational support. Previously, she worked in environmental behaviour science and co-authored Making Shift Happen: Designing for Successful Environmental Behavior Change (2022). An alumna of UC Berkeley with a background in psychology and economics, she has interests in framing for improved policy and social justice communication.