A new Director of Public Health has been appointed and will join Manatū Hauora on 15 August, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says.
Dr Nicholas Jones, who is currently Clinical Director and Medical Officer of Health at Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui, Hawke’s Bay, will take up the role based in the Public Health Agency.
The Director of Public Health is a key statutory role providing public health leadership across the Public Health Agency and the National Public Health Service within Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand), and provides professional support and oversight for Medical Officers of Health.
“I’m pleased to announce that Dr Nicholas Jones will take the role of Director of Public Health, which is so important to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders,” Dr Bloomfield says.
“Dr Jones is very well-respected in the health sector, and he brings considerable experience and knowledge with him.”
Although based in the Public Health Agency, Dr Jones will also provide public health leadership to the National Public Health Service, the incoming Deputy Director-General for the Public Health Agency, Dr Andrew Old says.
“The new Director of Public Health will provide leadership across the system, helping us stay closely connected with the new entities Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora,” Dr Old says.
“I am delighted to have Dr Jones join the team and am very much looking forward to working with him.”
Dr Jones has worked in public health for more than 30 years. He joined Hawke’s Bay DHB in 2009 as a Public Health Physician and Medical Officer of Health after four years working at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More recently he has been part of the DHB Executive Leadership Team as Health Improvement and Equity Clinical Director.
He led the health response to the Havelock North campylobacter outbreak, co-chaired the Healthy Housing Coalition, provided leadership and expert advice on environmental health issues such as water regulation, and more recently was pivotal to Hawke’s Bay’s COVID-19 response.
In November 2020, Dr Jones was awarded a New Zealand Public Service Medal Award for his exceptional contribution to health in Hawke’s Bay.
The role of Director of Public Health was previously held by Dr Caroline McElnay, who resigned in April 2022 after holding the role for five years, including two years of the Covid-19 outbreak.