Former health chief from Lancaster awarded King's Birthday Honour

A former health chief has been recognised in King Charles’s Birthday Honours.
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Prof Dominic Harrison, who lives in Lancaster, is to receive a British Empire Medal for services to vulnerable people in Lancashire.

Dominic served as the Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen, both with the Council and through the local NHS Care Trust Plus, from 2010 until his retirement in March 2022.

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The 63-year-old led the public health response in Blackburn with Darwen throughout the Covid pandemic. The borough was hit particularly hard during the first 12-18 months of the pandemic and found itself with tighter Covid-19 restrictions for longer periods than any other area of England.

Prof Dominic Harrison who lives in Lancaster.Prof Dominic Harrison who lives in Lancaster.
Prof Dominic Harrison who lives in Lancaster.

He said: “I am very grateful to be awarded the BEM in the King’s Birthday Honours list 2023 for work for vulnerable communities particularly in relation to social and health inequalities.

“I consider this a recognition of the whole of the Blackburn with Darwen Public Health team’s work on inequalities in health over the past decade.

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“A local Director of Public Health cannot be effective without clear and visible support from their Chief Executive, other council directors, the communications team, elected members, the local newspaper and the wider civic leadership across the population they serve, so I feel this award reflects the achievements of the borough as a whole. I am deeply grateful to everyone for this.”

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Council Leader Coun Phil Riley said: “We were so fortunate to have Dom as our Director of Public Health during the Covid pandemic. As well as being incredibly knowledgeable and professional, Dom worked hard to build trust with our local communities to ensure they felt supported and listened to throughout such a terrible time.

“Even in the most challenging periods, Dom always showed an attitude to do the right thing. The value that the community, former Council Leader Mohammed Khan, myself and other councillors, and Council officers placed on his advice and support cannot be underestimated.”

Council Chief Executive Denise Park added: “Throughout his career, Dominic held a passionate interest in health inequalities and the impact of poverty on people’s health and life chances. He came to work in Blackburn with Darwen to make a difference. It seems fitting that he has been recognised by the King for his services to vulnerable people.”