A new director of public health has been appointed at Lancashire County Council.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi was chosen by an interview panel including County Hall chiefs and bosses from Public Health England, the Faculty of Public Health and the NHS.
A qualified doctor with more than 13 years’ experience in public health organisations, he will take up his role on November 4.
He will oversee functions including developing public health policies, commissioning services to tackle issues like smoking and alcohol abuse, and ensuring people can access good quality health care.
He will also sit on the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board to make sure the county’s health organisations are working well together.
Dr Karunanithi said: “It’s a privilege to serve the people of Lancashire. I am looking forward to developing Lancashire as the healthiest place it can be in which to be born, live, work and retire.”
Every local authority with a public health function must appoint a director of public health. For more information about the county council’s public health role, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk and search under ‘public health’.
Steve Gross, executive director of adult services, health and wellbeing, said: “I am very pleased that Sakthi has been appointed to this important role. He brings with him a wealth of experience and a great commitment to improving the health of the people of Lancashire.”
Dr Karunanithi trained as a doctor in India where he worked between 2000 and 2005.
He moved to England in 2005. Since then, he has been working predominantly in Lancashire and the North West region, developing and leading a range of health initiatives.
Organisations he has worked for include the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the Advancing Quality Alliance and the North West Strategic Health Authority.
He has also worked for Morecambe Bay and Blackpool Primary Care Trusts, before moving to Lancashire County Council as part of the NHS reforms.
County Coun Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The job is vital in overseeing the county council’s public health role and working closely in partnership to improve the wellbeing of our residents.
“Sakthi is the ideal candidate for the job and with his experience, knowledge and qualifications, I’m sure he’ll help us make Lancashire an even healthier county.”