A BORDERS woman has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Cardiff Metropolitan University.  

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Executive Director of Public Health Fiona Kinghorn who received the degree at her conferral on Monday, July 24, was praised by the university for being an “inspiring individual” and an “excellent role model” to students and graduates.  

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Originally from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, Fiona left home at 18 to work as an assistant domestic bursar in Goldsmiths College London before successfully applying for nursing training in Edinburgh, specialising once she qualified in urology and neurosurgery.  

Border Telegraph: Fiona Kinghorn has received an Honorary Doctorate from Cardiff Metropolitan University

In a career spanning 40 years, with a large part of that within the NHS, Fiona has built up a wealth of experience across a range of different clinical and public health arenas. She has also studied and worked in Europe, the Middle East and Africa before spending the last 15 years in consultant and leadership positions in several NHS Wales organisations. 

Not much more than a year after taking on her current role in October 2018, she was called upon to lead the public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic for Cardiff and Vale, including the regional health protection approach and with responsibility for testing and mass vaccination of the local population.

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Throughout that period, she worked closely with local government and other key strategic partners, including Cardiff Metropolitan University and the academic sector as a whole, to ensure that communities were protected.

She has also forged close ties with Cardiff Met’s School of Sport and Health Sciences on the Move More Cardiff physical activity and sport strategy, a social movement taking a whole-systems approach to making physical activity the norm in the city. 

Commenting on the honorary doctorate, Fiona said: “I feel very proud. I’ve worked really hard for everything that I have ever received, so to be given such an accolade in recognition of my work is really lovely and humbling. The news came completely out of the blue.  

“Myself and my fantastic team, with local government and Public Health Wales, have worked alongside Cardiff Met during the pandemic to ensure that the university – as well as other academic institutions – could remain viable organisations during the pandemic and keep their students and employees safe.  

“I’ve also been working with the university’s leadership team to work out how we join the ambitions of sport with physical activity. Traditionally the terms ‘sport’ and ‘physical activity’ were very separate and never the twain should meet, but we’ve put our collective heads together and come up with a vision that joins together and builds upon their respective strengths.”

Dean of Cardiff Metropolitan University’s School of Sport and Health Sciences, Professor Katie Thirlaway, said: “Through her work in public health, Fiona has had a significant impact on protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of people in Cardiff and Vale and across Wales.  

“The dedication Fiona has shown to her industry and addressing health inequalities will no doubt act as a real source of inspiration for our graduates as they embark on the next stage of their lives.”