David Roberts

I studied medicine and completed postgraduate core medical training in Birmingham, before working as a clinical research fellow on a clinical trial in Cardiff.  I joined public health training in Oxford in 2013, where I completed the Masters in Global Health Science.  Since then I have worked with a variety of teams in an NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire County Council, Public Health England Health Protection Team (HPT) and Screening and Immunisations team, and with Cochrane UK.

In 2016 I temporarily left public health training to complete a two year Field Epidemiology Training Programme with Public Health England.  During this programme I was seconded to Environmental Epidemiology at PHE Chilton, and Thames Valley HPT alongside collaborative work with PHE Field Service South East and London.  My environmental epidemiology work focused on studying the health effects of water fluoridation and authoring the national report, as well as leading the implementation of a permanent surveillance system for lead poisoning in children.  In my HPT role, I investigated the factors associated with delays in starting TB treatment across the South East, and produced and rolled out training to all South East HPTs on detection and response to possible clusters of gastrointestinal infections.  I also investigated several outbreaks associated with a restaurant,  event catering, a school farm trip, and a TB cluster.  A highlight of the secondment was a short trip to Sierra Leone with the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, where I helped to develop and deliver a short course on applied research in public health to students studying for their MPH at the University of Sierra Leone.

On my return to public health training in 2018 I joined the Environmental Hazards and Emergencies team at PHE Chilton, where I learnt about acute incident response and environmental public health. I also led a working group tasked to consider whether to lower the threshold for public health investigation of children with exposure to lead.  I was also placed with the PHE healthcare public health team, working on various projects and learning more about the NICE appraisal process.  I am now coming to the end of 6 months at PHE Colindale with the National Infection Service, where I have helped to develop a national strategy to tackle inequality in uptake of routine immunisations, and helped to put in place ad hoc surveillance to respond to a national incident with the HIV and STI department.

As OXSPH registrar chair in 2018/19 I have worked hard to improve the local training experience by organising a careers event, a one day revision session for the public health membership exam, and improving induction.  I also extol the benefits of flexible working: since returning to training in 2018 I have worked part time and enjoy taking my son to pre-school science club.  I’m looking forward to shared parental leave to care for my second child, before returning in 2020 to complete training and looking for a consultant role in health protection and epidemiology.