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.

Chair and Chief Executive

Andrew Dougal
Andrew Dougal

Andrew Dougal took up the position as Chair of the PHA on 01 June 2015. He was previously Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke from 1983 and prior to that worked for 10 years in Education. Over the last 25 years, he has been a Non-Executive Director of organisations spanning the private, public and voluntary sectors.

He is currently a Trustee and Chair of the HR Committee of the UK Health Forum. He is 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.

PHA Chief Executive, Aiden Dawson

Aidan Dawson
Chief Executive 

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.

Non-Executive Directors

Billy Ashe

Alderman William Ashe was initially appointed as a Non–Executive Director following a public competition on 13 February 2012 for a four-year period. Alderman Ashe has 18 years’ experience as a local Government elected member. He was previously Mayor of Mid and East Antrim District Council. He has been actively involved in a number of community projects, including those for people suffering with learning difficulties. He currently serves on the Northern Zone Social Investment Fund.


John-Patrick Clayton

John Patrick Clayton

John Patrick Clayton is Policy Officer of the trade union, Unison. 

He has been 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.

He 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.


Deepa Mann-Kler

Deepa smallDeepa Mann-Kler is an exceptionally experienced public, private and charity sector Chair and Non-Executive Director, having served on 10 Boards across the UK over the past thirteen years. As Chief Executive of Neon and Visiting Professor for Immersive Futures with Ulster University, she specialises in use of immersive technologies for health. As a TEDx speaker and thought leader she regularly keynotes on the intersection of digital transformation, technical innovation, inclusion, ethics, bias, data and AI. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland "Out Of The Shadows." As an artist Deepa has a strong focus on public art light installations, notably Light Up Leicester 2020, Lumiere Durham 2019, London 2016 & 2013 in Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture. 


Paul Porter

Paul Porter

Paul Porter was initially appointed as a Non–Executive Director following a public competition on 14 November 2011 for a four-year period. He was Mayor of Lisburn City Council from 2010 to 2011 and is an elected representative and member of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. He is currently employed as personal assistant/office manager for Jonathan Craig MLA, undertaking constituency case work, managing budgets and staff. He was formerly employed as a nursing auxiliary (Thompson House Hospital/Lagan Valley Hospital and Seymour Nursing Home) from 1994 to 2000. He will bring to his role on the PHA board his experience gained on Lisburn City Council over the past 15 years representing constituents on health issues.


Nichola Rooney

Professor Nichola Rooney

Professor Nichola Rooney has held senior posts in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust as a psychologist.

She is a member of the judicial appointments Commission for Northern Ireland and chairs the children’s heart charity Heartbeat.

Nichola is also chair of the Northern Ireland branch of the British Psychological Society.


Joseph Stewart

Joseph Stewart

Joseph Stewart is a former Director of Human Resources in the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 

He took on this post before the formation of the new police service.

Prior to that he was Director of Human Resources at Harland and Wolff and was Director of the engineering employers’ Federation in Northern Ireland. Joseph also served as a member of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland.


Executive Directors

Dr. Stephen Bergin

Dr. Stephen Bergin

Dr. Stephen Bergin is the Interim Director of Public Health.

Dr. Bergin graduated in Medicine from QUB in 1990. After a period of post-graduate general medical training, he trained in Public Health, between 1993-1998, in the N.E. England public health training scheme. In 1998, he was appointed to the post of consultant in public health medicine with the former Southern Health and Social Board. He continued service in this position, with RPA, from 2009 until 2017. In November 2017, he commenced duties as Assistant Director of Public Health, initially within the Service Development division of the directorate, before taking up responsibility for the Population Screening division in February 2018.

In December 2019, he commenced duties as Deputy Director of Public Health. He assumed the role of interim Director of Public Health in November 2020. He has been on the GMC specialist register (public health) since 1998.


Rodney Morton

Rodney Morton

Rodney Morton took up post as Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals in January 2020. Previously, Rodney was responsible for co-leading the development of 10-15 year road map for Nursing and Midwifery in Northern Ireland, along with providing professional advice on mental health, learning disability and older people nursing services. In addition, Rodney held policy responsibility for Personal and Public Involvement and led the development of a new Co-Production Framework for the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Sector.

Rodney has over 34 years' experience in a range of practice, managerial and leadership roles in CAMHS, autism, adult mental health, addictions, psychological therapies, older people, public mental health and Primary Care Services.

Rodney also led the development of the regional 'You in Mind' Mental Health Care Pathways Programme, Regional Mental Health and Psychological Therapies Training Programme for Northern Ireland. Rodney is also an improvement science enthusiast and has been promoting and building quality improvement capability across the Nursing and AHP Services.

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 BSc (Hons), MSc (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.


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