New body for tackling health inequalities set to officially launch

The new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will officially launch on 1 October 2021.

The government body will be led by the new Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) for England, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, and will aim to reduce health inequities and combat some of the top health risk factors, such as obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Previously, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy was the Chair of the London Association of Directors of Public Health, and is currently President of the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), the Director of Population Health at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Chair of the Greater Manchester Association of Directors of Public Health. She will be stepping down from these roles to become the new DCMO.

Structurally, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will be part of the Department of Health and Social Care and will advise the government on the prevention agenda.

Professor Chris Whitty recently released a report on the health and wellbeing of coastal populations and found that there were clear health inequities that affected those that lived in coastal areas, compared to those who lived inland.

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, incoming Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: “The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will play a critical role in reducing health inequalities across the country and build on the important work undertaken over recent years.

“COVID has exposed and exacerbated the health inequalities across the UK. It is critical we address these head-on and support people to live healthier lives. I look forward to getting started.”

DHSC Director General for the OHID, Jonathan Marron will work alongside Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, in the newly created role. The two will be under the “professional leadership” of Professor Chris Whitty.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer said: “Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy brings extensive local, regional, and national experience to the role.

“The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has a lot of important and challenging work to do and Dr de Gruchy is well placed to ensure it delivers meaningful health improvements for people nationwide.”