St Helens Council appoints new director of public health
St Helens Borough Council has appointed a new Director of Public Health, following a national recruitment process held remotely last week.
Ruth du Plessis will take up the role in May following the retirement of the current director, Sue Forster.
Ruth currently works at the council as a Public Health Consultant, a role that she has held since 2019.
Ruth pursued her ambition to work in the health sector, training as a nurse and health visitor at the University of Liverpool before going onto spend several years in South Africa where she volunteered to provide palliative care to HIV and AIDs patients in a poor, rural community.
After returning to the UK, Ruth studied for a Masters in Applied Public Health and worked in several roles across the north of England before joining St Helens Council where she has specialised in social prescribing and early help, as well as taking lead roles on sexual, workplace, children’s and mental health.
Most recently, Ruth has played a leading part in the council’s response to COVID-19, overseeing contact tracing, outbreak management and targeted testing.
Welcoming her appointment Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council said: "I am delighted that Ruth will be staying with us in her new capacity. Ruth has a significant amount of experience and has shown she has the leadership, expertise and dedication to perform such an important role.
“As the Director of Public Health, Ruth will be crucial not only in our ongoing response to Covid-19 and our recovery out of the pandemic but also to the long-term health and health inequalities of our residents.
“I would like to thank Sue Forster for her outstanding work and her commitment to the council, especially over the last year leading our public health response to the pandemic, and wish her a well-deserved long and happy retirement.”