Dr Dagmar Zeuner

Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health at the London Borough of Merton

“I came from Germany to England as a junior doctor in 1988. I had an admiration for the NHS as a health system based on need and took the opportunity to train here as a paediatrician. While really enjoying the work with children and their families I also increasingly experienced the limitations of medical care in dealing with the social injustices that so often drive poorer health outcomes. This inspired me to become a public health professional in 1994.

“I work across the council to embed health in all policies and with the CCG to advise on the commissioning of services. One example is our work with the CCG and the local community on the re-development of the Wilson site in Mitcham. Our aim is to bridge the gap in service provision and outcomes between the East and West of the borough through creating a health and wellbeing campus around the needs of the whole patient.

“What I like most about working in health and care is the professional challenge of making a real difference to the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve and the fact I get to work with incredible people. It is a great mix to keep me on my toes and inspired.

“My proudest memory, for the impact on population health, has to be the announcement of the smoking ban which turned out to be fantastically effective in saving lives. The ban was preceded by lots of concerted effort nationally and in London, including the Big Smoke debate, in which I was very involved.”