iHV founding director, Dr Cheryll Adams, is to become a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) after being named in Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday Honours List.
Cheryll, who has been working in family and public health for more than 30 years, was selected for the honour in recognition of her contribution to the health visiting profession and the important role this plays in improving outcomes for children, families and communities. She co-founded the Institute of Health Visiting in 2012 to raise standards in health visiting through research and education, and to reduce inequalities in health by ensuring every family receives a universally high quality of care. David Cameron, the Department of Health and the Royal Society of Public Health supported its foundation, and Cheryll has since grown the organisation to more than 9,000 members.
Cheryll began her career as a nurse at London’s St George’s Hospital, before qualifying as a health visitor and working in practice in Hampshire for almost 20 years. During this time, she championed the causes of vulnerable families, promoting emotional and social health in isolated communities and spending her weekends running community drives to improve child safety.
For 11 years Cheryll worked for the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), including as lead professional officer, representing 18,000 members in a national and international context. During her time there she regularly represented health visiting in the media and at conferences around the globe, as well as writing and editing six books and publishing more than 60 papers on key topics. She continues to be a regular contributor to a number of health journals.
Cheryll’s core professional interest is in infant and maternal mental health, as well as mental health promotion. Recently she pioneered the iHV Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Champions programme through which almost 600 PMH Champions have cascaded the training to over 10,000 health visitors, NHS and local authority workers.
Former Chair of the iHV, Sally Russell, said: “I am delighted that Dr Cheryll Adams has been honoured by the Queen in her 90th year. Cheryll has always been driven by the desire to help young families who so often find the first years difficult. In creating the Institute of Health Visiting, she has had a transformative effect on the profession. This Award serves to underline that she achieved it by inspiring those around her with a wonderful combination of determination, passion and humility.”
The Queen’s Birthday honours lists also recognised the achievements of Public Health England staff in protecting and improving the public’s health, both nationally and internationally. Pauline Watts, National Lead Nurse for Quality, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Dementia, was one of them.
She has been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her significant contribution to nursing services and health visiting. Pauline supported the delivery of the national health visiting programme ‘A Call to Action’ and to the nursing framework ‘Modernising Nursing Careers’. She has also worked with UNICEF on developing home visiting standards and practice in Eastern European countries.
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at PHE and the Government's Principal Advisor on Public Health Nursing, said on Twitter: “So proud of my friend @paulinewatts10 - all round star and nurse leader.” Professor Dame Sarah Cowley warmly added her own congratulations, saying: “Many congratulations. Health visiting would not be in such a good place without you. So well deserved.”