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Top award for 'five-a-day' health guru

13 Jul 2007

The University of Manchester Alumni Association has awarded its Outstanding Alumna of the Year award to Professor Pat Troop CBE, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency.

Professor Troop studied medicine at Manchester with an MBChB in 1971 and an MSc in 1979, going on to enjoy a fascinating career which has had a significant impact on the health of the nation.

In her first consultancy position, in Stockport in the early 1980s, her research into playground safety led to the introduction of the soft play surfaces standard in children's playgrounds today.

She was an ardent early promoter of the link between good food and health and ran some of the earliest food and health programmes in the country. Nearly twenty years later, as Regional Director of Public Health for Anglia and Oxford and later, as Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, it was her innovative work on food and health that led directly to the Government's 'five-a-day' campaign persuading people to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, probably the highest profile public health campaign in a generation.

She also led the national co-ordinating group on paediatric intensive care in the mid-Nineties. The group's ground-breaking report, endorsed by Ministers and fully implemented by the Government, continues to be the foundation on which today's paediatric intensive care services are built.

Having spent her early career in clinical medicine, Professor Troop held positions in public health at local, national and regional level. After a period as Chief Executive of Cambridge Health Authority, she became Regional Director of Public Health for the East Anglian Regional Health Authority (subsequently Anglia and Oxford, and then Eastern Region). From 1999to 2003, Professor Troop was Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, where she had particular responsibility for public health.

In March 2003 she became Chief Executive of the HPA, the body which protects the UK's health and well-being. Her remit covers everything from infectious diseases and environmental health hazards, to bird-flu, bio-terrorism and the case of poisoned former Russian security officer Alexander Litvenenko.

Professor Troop is also a Visiting Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an Honorary Professor at City University, London and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of East Anglia and Cranfield University. She was awarded the CBE in 2001 for services to public health.

Professor Troop, accepting her award, said: "Most of my career has been in Public Health and the foundation for that was laid here in Manchester. Public health is a great specialty, particularly for someone like me who likes to change frequently. This variety has enabled me to have a very rich experience throughout my working life. And every time I come back, it reminds me that my formative years in public health were here, where the values I learnt were laid down. So thank you again for what you gave me as a university then, and for the honour of this award."

The University of Manchester Outstanding Alumni Awards are presented annually to Outstanding Alumni Awards are given to former students who have achieved distinction within their profession; have provided exemplary service to the University or have made an outstanding contribution of a personal or humanitarian nature. It provides the University with a splendid opportunity to recognise and highlight the achievements of its former students.

Ends

For more information contact Media Relations Officer Mikaela Sitford on 0161 275 2111 or Mikaela.Sitford@manchester.ac.uk.

Editor's note:

The University of Manchester Alumni Association has a membership of over 200,000 former students of the University and is chaired by local businessman Andrew Spinoza. It works closely with the University and is committed to supporting the University's ambitions aspirations for the future as set out in the President's Strategic objectives towards 2015.

The Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences has a distinguished history. The School of Medicine traces its past to the first medical school established in England outside London, the School of Nursing was the first British school to offer a degree in the subject, and similarly Manchester was the first university to award degrees in Pharmacy. Today, the Faculty boasts an annual research income of 51 million, almost a third of the University's total research income. There are 7,600 undergraduate students and 1,600 postgraduates on award-bearing courses. More students graduate each year from the School of Medicine than from any other medical school in the UK. There is a strong organisational capability for undertaking cross-faculty teaching and research activity in partnership with the public sector and industry. Excellent links also exist with the NHS in terms of undertaking pioneering medical and clinically based research. The Faculty is a key stakeholder in the Greater Manchester Research Alliance.