30 December 2022

| | 2 min read

Former Director of Public Health for Newcastle awarded MBE

Newcastle’s former Director of Public Health, Professor Eugene Milne, has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s New Year Honours.

Eugene Milne
Eugene Milne

The award, among the first granted by King Charles III, recognised Eugene’s services to Public Health and Wellbeing.

Eugene was the first Director of Public Health for Newcastle, a position he held from 2014 until his retirement in April 2022, and was at the forefront of the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “I am thrilled to be recognised in this way and can only thank the brilliant colleagues with whom I have worked throughout my career as this would not have happened without them.

"Being DPH for Newcastle - in spite of the very difficult time of the pandemic - was the best job I have had. The real honour was being able to serve the city in that way.”

Eugene’s early career saw him working across the North East, and in Cambridge, in paediatric medicine, before he joined the children’s cancer unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

He switched to public health in 1990 and became a consultant in 1994, and later the Deputy Regional Director of Public Health for the North East.

He played a leading role in establishing the award-winning and internationally celebrated Fresh in 2005, the UK’s first dedicated regional tobacco control programme.

He joined the newly formed Public Health England in 2013 at a national level before starting his role as Newcastle’s Director of Public Health.

After his retirement, he received the Faculty of Public Health’s most prestigious award, the Alwyn Smith Prize, in recognition of his “exceptional service to public health”.

Pam Smith, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, said: “Highly regarded by colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally, Eugene was central to both the city and the region’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is without doubt that his leadership during this period had a significant positive impact on how the city and wider region managed its response.

“Even though it was only for a short amount of time, it was a pleasure to work alongside him and I am thrilled he is receiving the recognition he richly deserves.”

Cllr Karen Kilgour, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for public health, said: “I am delighted that Eugene has been recognised with this thoroughly-deserved award. His professionalism, leadership, and dedication throughout the pandemic helped save lives and keep people safe in our city and beyond, and for that we can all be grateful.

“It would be unfair to suggest this is the sole reason he has been rightfully recognised in the King’s New Year Honours list, given his highly-successful career in medicine and public health, throughout which he dedicated himself to improving the health and wellbeing of others.”