Sir Harry Burns is the Professor of Global Public Health, at the University of Strathclyde, having been the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland from 2005 to 2014. He has become known for his work to address health inequalities. He is a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in Scotland.
Born in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire he graduated in medicine from the University of Glasgow and initially pursued a career in general surgery. For five years he was a consultant surgeon at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, later becoming the Medical Director of the hospital.
Harry completed a master's degree in Public Health in 1990, going on to work as Medical Director of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, before becoming the Director of Public Health for Greater Glasgow in 1995.
In 1999 he was awarded a visiting professorship in public health medicine at the University of Glasgow, and he also became a senior research fellow in the School of Business and Management at the university.
Harry took up the post of Chief Medical Officer for Scotland in September 2005 and began to help Scotland conceptualise health improvement differently, being aware that the small gains that resulted from a range of interventions can add up to produce significant overall improvements.
Harry stepped down as CMO in April 2014 to take up the appointment of Professor of Global Public Health at University of Strathclyde University.
Harry was knighted in the 2011 the Birthday Honours in recognition of outstanding achievement and service to society and, In December 2014, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first Scottish Public Service Awards, recognising his lasting contributions to public service in Scotland.