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Professor awarded top national honour; Prize is highlight of career.

Byline: Laura Davis

A LIVERPOOL professor is to be presented with a national prize for his contribution to public health.

Professor John Ashton, from Woolton, will today be awarded the Alwyn Smith Prize for his work in the North West, including his role in resolving the British fuel dispute in autumn 2000.

He will be presented with a medal and certificate at a meeting of the Royal College of Physicians at Southport's Floral Hall.

Prof Ashton, North West director of public health and regional medical officer, said receiving the award would be a highlight of his career.

He said: ``The best recognition of career achievement always comes from your peers which is why it is such a special honour for me to receive the Alwyn Smith Prize.''

The 55-yearold is internationally renowned for his work on planned parenthood and the World Health Organisation's Healthy Cities Initiative.

He was instrumental in Liverpool becoming a member of the Healthy Cities network in 1999 after a 10-year involvement in the programme.

Former American President Bill Clinton and former Home Secretary Jack Straw both personally acknowledged Prof Ashton's co-ordination of the medical humanitarian effort in 1999, when the majority of Balkan refugees coming to the UK sought refuge in the North West.

As part of this, he served a three-week tour of duty with Home Office delegates in Macedonia.

Prof Ashton also came into the public eye for criticising protesters for blocking petrol supplies to the emergency services and other National Health Service staff in September 2000.

His role in resolving the fuel dispute was personally recognised by the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health.

Prof Ashton has a long family history in Woolton, in south Liverpool, where he has settled once again.

He qualified as a doctor at the University of Newcastle Medical School and later studied public health medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Other specialist areas have been psychiatry, general practice, family planning and reproductive medicine.

He was awarded the CBE in the Millennium New Year's honours list for service to the National Health Service.

T he public health prize was endowed by Professor Alwyn Smith, formerly professor of public health at Manchester University, following his retirement from the presidency of the Faculty of Public Health in 1986. The prize is awarded to the member or fellow of the faculty who is judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the health of the public, in either research or practice, in the vital field of public health medicine.

The President of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Prof Sian Griffiths, said yesterday: ``John Ashton is a significant figure in public health.

``He has forged new ways of thinking about the broader aspects of public health, particularly in its relationship with local government and other sectors.''

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HONOUR: Prof John Ashton
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2002
Words:477
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