They’ve been on our TV screens for more than a year now, bringing us the latest advice and updates throughout the pandemic. But who are Scotland’s public health experts when they’re not at a Covid-19 briefing?
As Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, we take a look at some of the public health officials who have helped us navigate the last 18 months and get us to where we are today.
We know him from Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid-19 briefings and he has been a key figure in Scotland throughout the pandemic.
Prof Jason Leitch has worked for the Scottish Government since 2007 and is their National Clinical Director.
Born in Leicester, he went to school in Airdrie before attending Glasgow University where he studied dentistry.
Many may wonder how a dentistry student has become the face of Scotland’s public health team, however Prof Leitch also has a Master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.
You can often find Prof Linda Bauld giving her expert advice on BBC Breakfast, The Nine and Good Morning Britain.
Born in Edinburgh, she moved to Canada with her family as a child. She studied political science at the University of Toronto, before returning to Edinburgh to complete a PhD in social policy.
To everyone who hasn't seen their parents or close family at all this year.
My Mum is 76 tomorrow.
Photo from the last time we met in 2019. I'm looking forward to next year when those with families overseas can reunite.
Rest of 2020 will be tough. But 2021 will be better 🤗 pic.twitter.com/ij5hqmzWDm
— Linda Bauld (@LindaBauld) December 2, 2020
But prior to this, she led the first study of the UK’s national stop smoking services when they were established in 1998 and served as the UK Government’s scientific adviser on tobacco control from 2006 to 2010.
For all her efforts throughout the pandemic, in June Prof Bauld was named as one of the Scots on the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List.
— Linda Bauld (@LindaBauld) December 15, 2020
She was awarded an OBE for “guiding the public health response to, and public understanding of, Covid-19”.
Like the rest of us, Linda’s life has been dramatically impacted by Covid-19: She’s had just six days off work since February 2020, hasn’t seen her parents (who live in Canada) since 2019, and has battled with her teenage children over home schooling.
You may recognise Prof Devi Sridhar from Channel 4 News, CNN, or BBC Radio 4.
Born and raised in Miami, her father died of cancer when she was a child, which sparked her career in public health.
Prof Sridhar completed her Bachelor’s degree in biology at just 18 years old and became the youngest person in the US to be offered a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.
“Things just got a whole lot worse – not just for us but for the whole world.”
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) July 20, 2021
Prior to this, she was closely involved in investigating the international response to the ebola epidemic, however her dream job as a child was to become a professional tennis player.
Prof Jillian Evans has made appearances on Good Morning Scotland and The Nine.
As head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, her team oversees the provision of data to support health planning, performance and improvement.
She gained an MSc in Public Health Care from University College London in 2002 and has worked with NHS Grampian for over 18 years.
We heard this weekend from Jillian Evans (Head of Health Intelligence) from @NHSGrampian. Today she is sharing some more wise words to help you realise that you are not alone if the pandemic is taking a toll on you. #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask pic.twitter.com/BzqrqZEzF5
— AberdeenshireCouncil (@Aberdeenshire) November 30, 2020
Her experience saw her become one of just 24 women invited to take part in the BBC’s Expert Women’s Day in 2019, which aims to boost representation of female experts in the media.
She has also spent time working with women who have HIV.
When she’s not updating us on Covid-19 matters, she enjoys scenic cycling trips to help clear the mind.
She is also the proud owner of an enviable wood burning stove, which often features pride of place in her media appearances.