Public Health

Name: Sumaira Tayyab

Job title: Public Health Programme Lead for Children and Adolescents

After completing my undergraduate degree in health promotion in 2004, I opened the Yellow Pages, looked under the health section, found something that looked interesting and volunteered to do some office admin work, for my local stop smoking service in Brent.

After a few weeks of doing office tasks, I was offered the opportunity to train as a stop smoking advisor and this started the career which I've now been in for the past 19 years. I spent four years running 121 and group clinics to help people stop smoking and at this point decided that I wanted to experience public health in other areas of London and my curiosity led me to Tower Hamlets in 2008 where I helped implement the smoking ban in public places.

Since coming to Public Health, I have worked on and delivered programmes of work that have supported the health and wellbeing of countless children and young people in the borough. This fuelled my passion and I took a year off work to complete a Masters in public health nutrition. Additionally, I was supported by senior colleagues to become an accredited public health practitioner which gave me the opportunity to evidence my knowledge, skills and application of key public health competencies.

It's in Tower Hamlets that I have been given the opportunity to move from the most junior position in public health to my current position, as a programme lead supporting a team of people to reduce the health inequalities in our borough.

Name: Georgia Ramirez

Job title: Public Health Programme Lead for Maternity & Early Years

It’s fair to say that I didn’t choose public health – it chose me! I started out as an archaeologist and anthropologist and was excavating an ancient city abroad when I became caught up in a war. The impact of war on public health can be extremely negative, and this became very clear to me during this experience.

I returned to the UK and needed a short-term job to fill a gap – I ended up initially doing admin for a public health team and they never let me leave! I undertook Royal Society of Public Health training, a City and Guilds course to become a health promotion practitioner and became a Walk Leader. I progressed to become the service manager, and managed health promotion practitioners and projects across a range of settings, including in the community, in hospitals and in the probation service both in Southampton and later in London.

In 2015 I studied for a master’s in public health, graduating in 2017 from QMUL. Upon graduating, I set up a maternal health charity in northern Iraq, supporting pregnant women living in refugee camps. Following this, I got my first public health job at LBTH, initially focussed on community development and the health of refugees and people experiencing homelessness.

I recently started a new job at LBTH, leading the maternity and early years public health programme, including commissioning services, developing partnerships, and using data, research and evaluation to ensure all children have the best start in life, from supporting breastfeeding to parents’ mental health.

Name: Shoid Miah

Job title: Public Health Apprentice

Transitioning from my role as a Respiratory Research Associate in the NHS, my journey as a Public Health Apprentice at Tower Hamlets Council has been a rich learning experience. To date I have two one-year placements with two different public health teams. In the healthy environments team, I actively supported a fruit and vegetables voucher scheme, explored gamification's impact on physical activity, and conducted research analysing exposure to unhealthy advertisements in Tower Hamlets, comparing different areas.

Moving to the Healthy Adults team, I evaluated the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy program conducted by pharmacies and leading a research study with Coventry University to analyse retailer perceptions in Tower Hamlets with hopes to get my work published. This project focused on retailers' sales and marketing practices, as well as their views on future policies within the vape and e-cig industry. Alongside these responsibilities, I continued my academic pursuit, working towards a Level 6 Public Health Practitioner qualification to enhance my expertise.

Throughout this journey, I have prioritised gaining hands-on experience within the public health sector, aiming to build a comprehensive portfolio showcasing my proficiency and dedication to improving community well-being.

Looking ahead, I am resolutely focused on consolidating my expertise within the public health domain, as I actively contribute to the council's initiatives. As I progress, my aim is to compile a robust portfolio, showcasing my proficiency in addressing the multifaceted challenges of public health, while making a tangible difference in the lives of the Tower Hamlets community.

Name: Jonnah Omokuri

Job title: Placement Coordinator

As an Occupational Therapist (OT) I am responsible in supporting my service users to be as independent as possible within their day-to-day activities and positive mental well-being.

I am a qualified Occupational Therapist for 9+ years. I applied for placement coordinator secondment role as I have a passion in developing the next generation of Occupational Therapist. Having been a placement educator myself I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt that every OT, should be encouraged and supported to take on students. I accepted the role of placement coordinator as I felt that I had the right skill set to support and encourage my OT colleague to become placement educator.

In becoming an OT, I studied health and social care in sixth form and then attended university for three years to study a BSc Occupational Therapy at Coventry university. 

Being a child of a mother who had a physical disability and known to the adult social care system, I was led to the career of Occupational Therapy by the OT professionals who visited my mother to rehabilitate her and improve her life outcome. I was inspired by the many professionals who crossed our paths, but more so the many different OT’ professional who showered my mother with “hope”, “motivation”, “encouragement” and planted the seed of belief into her life.

My mother was a woman who was co-dependent on carer support for a long time to help her to wash, dress, cook, look after her children etc. By having Occupational therapy input in our lives my mother is now independent with all aspects of her daily living tasks and now travels across the world doing business. If it had not been for Occupational therapy, I believe that my mother would still be dependent on others to meet her day-to-day tasks.

When making my career choice, I knew what I wanted to be from the age of 8 years, despite not knowing the professional title I knew that I wanted to help people to regain functional independence and enjoyment in doing things that they enjoy including spending time with family.

When I was in 6th form, I told my tutor that I wanted to be an OT and he was shocked as I was the only student in the class who wanted to apply to study OT at university (I think he was more shocked that I knew about OT). After graduating from OT, I worked in many settings but my most favourite setting has been in Tower hamlets adult social care Reablement team whereby I get to use all my life knowledge and wisdom to support my clients to become better versions of themselves and be as independent as they can be in daily tasks and occupations.

Everyday I am developing skills and resilience and becoming a better practitioner. I have learned so many skills in my organisation and with the service users I have encountered in my life as an Occupational therapist. I enjoy coming into work every day as I get some much satisfaction in meeting people and sharing life experiences.