21 September 2021

During a 20-year career that has included child health and wellbeing, wider inequality and community-based public health, Jason Strelitz has focused on a single guiding principle: the belief that everyone should have the same opportunities to maximise their potential and live a fulfilling, healthy, happy life.

Now he has received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of East London in recognition of his achievements.

Me Strelitz was honoured by the University at a ceremony on 15 September near the University’s Dockland’s campus. In his acceptance speech, Mr Strelitz spoke to students about the importance of community and collective action, and how fundamental this has been to Newham’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Strelitz said, “My communities have given me the strength to navigate the challenges of the past 18 months. I have witnessed communities do the same for so many others, and pay huge tribute to everyone who has stepped up in any way to help others.
“Looking forward to the challenges ahead, last year we launched ‘50 steps to a Healthier Borough’: a call to action across our community of Newham for people to get involved in helping to improve the health of our borough. There is so much that needs to be done and so many ways to channel your passions and concerns. Please do look at it and see what you can do, and if you want to do things with us, please get in touch.”

Mr Strelitz has been the director of public health for the London Borough of Newham since April 2019.

As director of public health for Newham, Mr Strelitz has a significant role in managing the pandemic in one of the areas in the UK with the highest number of Covid cases and related challenges.

He has overseen an enormous collective effort by the council that includes supporting tens of thousands of families to receive food or prescriptions if they are self-isolating, strengthening access to social welfare advice, and setting up a network of more than 500 residents actively involved in promoting Covid-safe messaging across the community.

Throughout the pandemic, the University has benefitted from Mr Strelitz’s leadership in guiding its partnership with Newham Council to support the health and wellbeing of its students and the east London community.

This includes setting up testing and vaccination centres and supporting key public health messages aimed at increasing vaccine uptake.

Alongside his work for public health in Newham, he is a volunteer trustee for Masambiro, an education charity based in northern Malawi that has helped thousands of children there gain a secondary level education. Mr Strelitz founded the charity with his wife, Mandy, in 2004 while they were on honeymoon in Malawi.