PHA board

Our board of directors is made up of a Non-Executive Chair, the Chief Executive, seven Non-Executive Directors, and three Executive Directors. Executive Directors are employees of the PHA.

Register of interests

The PHA board Register of interests is available here.

Andrew Dougal OBE

Andrew Dougal

Andrew Dougal took up the position as Chair of the PHA on 1 June 2015.  Health and social care has been experiencing much change since that time.  The functions of the Health and Social Care Board will migrate to the Department of Health on 1st of April 2022.  He was previously Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke from 1983 and prior to that worked for 10 years in education.

He is an alumnus of the Salzburg seminar on philanthropy and non-profit organisations. He participated in the Duke of Edinburgh work study conference and in the Northern Ireland leadership challenge programme. He was awarded a Paul Dudley White fellowship to the American heart association.

Over the past 35 years he has been a Non-Executive Director of organisations spanning the private, public and voluntary sectors. He is a former Trustee and Chair of the HR Committee of the UK Health Forum, a former Trustee and Treasurer of the World Heart Federation, and a former Chair of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Ulster Orchestra Foundation Board.

Aidan Dawson

Aidan Dawson

Aidan was appointed Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency on 1 July 2021.  He comes with a career spanning over 30 years working in the Health Service and 3rd sector.

In 2016 Aidan was appointed as the Director of Specialist Hospitals & Women's Health in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.  He was responsible for a diverse range of services including Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick children, Maternity Services, Gynecology Services, ENT, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Neuro Rehabilitation, Sexual and Reproductive health, Regional Disablement Services and the Dental Hospital.

In April 2019 he also assumed responsibility for Mental Health Services for adults and children across the Trust on an interim basis.  In 2020 the Mental Health role expanded to include the Mental Health Capacity Act Compliance.

Prior to this role Aidan was the Co-Director in the Trust for Trauma, Orthopaedics, and Rehabilitation Services.  His career has included roles working with The British Red Cross and Disability Action.

Dr Aideen Keaney

Aideen Keaney

Aideen is the Director of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Quality Improvement and Innovation (HSCQI) Network. HSCQI as an entity was launched by the Department of Health in April 2019 and is aligned with the NI HSC strategies Q2020 and Health and Well Being 2026: Delivering Together. 

Aideen is a graduate of Queens University Belfast Medical School and is a Fellow of the College of Anaesthetists (RCSI) Dublin. Aideen also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Risk Management and Quality from University College Dublin.

Aideen completed her Anaesthesia training on the Northern Ireland Anaesthesia Training Scheme, also completing Clinical Fellowships in Dublin, Glasgow, London and Melbourne.

Aideen is a Scottish Patient Safety Programme Fellow, a Health Foundation Generation Q Fellow and has a Masters in Leadership and Quality Improvement (with Distinction) from Ashridge Executive Education, Hult International Business School.

Aideen has worked as a Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Paediatric Intensive Care for over 14 years during which time she held a number of Medical Leadership roles namely Clinical Governance Lead, Clinical Lead for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and Clinical Director.

Since taking up her post Aideen has been leading on the further design, development and growth of HSCQI with a particular focus on supporting the HSC system to share learning and identify and scale up best practice.

Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wilson was appointed as Interim Director of Operations in December 2020 having previously worked since 2009 as Assistant Director (Operations) with responsibility for leading Communications and Health Intelligence. 

Stephen has extensive experience across a wide range of disciplines including strategic planning, operational management, communications, policy development and project management. His qualifications include a B.Sc (Hons), M.Sc (Management) and post-grad in Corporate Governance. 

Following graduation Stephen worked in local government in Scotland leading on competitive tendering programmes before returning to Northern Ireland to work with the Sports Council for Northern Ireland and more recently the Health Promotion Agency where he worked as Senior Planning Manager and subsequently as Interim Director of Corporate Services until transferring in 2009 to the PHA under RPA.

Craig Blaney

craig blaney

Craig Blaney was appointed to the Board of the PHA in August 2022.

He has a strong track record working with some of the most exciting and innovative brands in the UK. He specialises in brand creation and development and has worked with businesses across Northern Ireland, Ireland, the UK and Europe to bring their marketing strategies to life.

He sits as a member of Ards and North Down borough Council and has held several positions of authority including Vice Chair of the Regeneration Committee, Member of the Corporate Committee and Member of the Council Audit Committee. He is the current Deputy Mayor of Ards and North Down and serves on the board of the Northern Community Leisure Trust and the YMCA Bangor.

John Patrick Clayton

John Patrick Clayton

John Patrick is Policy Officer of the trade union, Unison. He was appointed to the trade union member post on the PHA Board.

He is a qualified barrister who has practised both at the Northern Ireland Bar and at the Bar in the Republic of Ireland.

John Patrick is a member of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. In 2020 he joined the Executive of the voluntary organisation NIACRO.



Anne Henderson

Anne Henderson


Anne Henderson commenced her career in the private sector, in the accountancy firms KPMG and BDO Stoy Hayward, and in the international media company Time Warner Inc. where she was based in London and Los Angeles. 

She has extensive public sector experience, including as vice-chair and acting Chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, where she worked for 17 years.

Anne chaired the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland for 7 years, until 2020. She has held board positions in the International Fund for Ireland and its associated venture capital companies, and is a former member of the audit committee of Queens’ University Belfast.   


Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine

Mr. Robert Irvine lives in County Fermanagh and has been a partner in R.J. Irvine, a quantity surveying and project management consultancy firm, since 1982.

He has been an elected local District Councillor since 2001 and currently sits as a member of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. In his role as a Councillor, he sits on various committees, notably the Planning Committee and the Local Development Plan Steering Group of which he has been chair since 2015.

In the recent past he has been a member of the Western Local Commissioning Group, a committee of the Health and Social Care Board, the Western Education & Library Board and several school and college Boards of Governors. He currently is a Board member of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.



Deepa Mann-Kler

Deepa Mann-Kler

Deepa Mann-Kler is Chief Executive of Neon; Visiting Professor in Immersive Futures at Ulster University in Northern Ireland; and an experienced public, private and charity sector Chair and Non-Executive Director, having served on 10 Boards across the UK over the past fifteen years. As a TEDx speaker and thought leader she regularly keynotes on the intersection of digital transformation, technical innovation, inclusion, ethics, bias, data, AI and creativity.  





Professor Nichola Rooney

Nichola Rooney

Nichola is a consultant clinical psychologist and former Head of Psychological Services at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. She is senior professional adviser in psychology to the RQIA and associate consultant to the HSC Leadership Centre.

Nichola is a former member of the judicial appointments Commission for Northern Ireland and currently chairs the Board of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust. The current chair of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology NI, she holds the position of honorary professor at QUB School of Psychology.



Joseph Stewart OBE

Joseph Stewart

Joseph has held a number of Board level positions in the public and private sectors in Northern Ireland having retired in 2016 as Director of Human Resources from PSNI, a post which he held from the inception of the service in 2001.

A graduate of Law from Queen’s University, Belfast, Joseph was a Director of the Engineering Employers Federation until 1990 and a Director in Harland and Wolff between 1990 and 1995. He was Vice Chairman of the Police Authority from 1989 to 1994 and Chief Executive from 1995 to 2001.

Joe is Chair of the Governance and Audit Committee of the Agency and in February 2021 was appointed Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee of the Livestock and Meat Commission Northern Ireland.

Joseph received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 1994

Tracey McCaig

Tracey McCaig

Tracey McCaig has been appointed Interim Director of Finance for the PHA on 15 February 2021.  Prior to this appointment Tracey held the post of Assistant Director of Finance in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust from May 2017.  During her 32 year career in Health and Social Care finance, Tracey, who is a Chartered Management accountant, has headed up a number senior finance roles across the HSC, ranging from internal audit to head accountant roles in the NI Ambulance Service, Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency.

Tracey has a proven track record in team leadership, quality improvement, financial governance and multi-disciplinary HSC team working to effect change and improvement in HSC services.

Following the retirement of Paul Cummings and prior to Tracey McCaig’s appointment the Director of Finance role was covered on an interim basis by the Assistant Directors of Finance: Christine Frazer, Lindsay Stead and Colin Bradley.

Brendan Whittle

Brendan Whittle

Brendan Whittle was appointed as HSCB Director of Social Care and Children and Executive Director of Social Work in April 2021.

Previously Brendan has held senior positions in the HSC, including as a Director at South Eastern HSC Trust between 2012 and 2019. He initially served as Director of Adult Services and Prison Healthcare and subsequently as Director of Children’s Services & Executive Director of Social work. Most recently, Brendan has been Deputy Director of Social Care and Children at HSCB since 2019.

Brendan qualified as a Social Worker in London, working in East London initially before moving to Northern Ireland in 1992. He has a wealth of experience in Health and Social Care across a range of areas including Children’s Services, Hospital Social Work, Disability services, Older People and Mental Health services.

During this time Brendan has maintained his professional development achieving both the MSc in Advanced Social Work and the Northern Ireland Leadership and Strategic Award in Social Work.


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PHA_Board_Register_of_Interests_23_December_2022.pdf 149.29 KB