Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), is named as the University of Surrey’s Alumna of the Year 2018 for her outstanding contribution to the health visiting profession.

The University of Surrey’s Alumnus/Alumna of the Year Award is presented annually to a graduate who has made an exceptional contribution to their field or to society during the previous three years. Dr Adams was selected from 140 nominations to receive this award.

Cheryll graduated from the University of Surrey with a BSc in Human Biology with Nursing in 1977. She began her career as a nurse at London’s St George’s Hospital, before qualifying as a health visitor and working in practice in Hampshire for almost 20 years. During this time, she championed the causes of vulnerable families, promoting emotional, physical and social health in isolated communities and running community drives to improve child safety.

After spending several years in research and practice, with her core professional interest being in infant and maternal mental health, Cheryll has held several national roles, before becoming one of the founder members and then Founding Director of the Institute of Health Visiting. The Institute was set up to strengthen the practice of all health visitors and ultimately improve the lives of children, families and communities. Evidence-based support and guidance developed by the Institute helps health visitors on issues which are key to tackling inequalities in health. Cheryll is driven by the belief that every child deserves the best start in life and health visitors are the best-placed professionals to help that happen as they work with every baby and new family.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, commented:

“I am astonished, thrilled and very honoured to be this year’s Alumna of the Year at the University of Surrey. My three years at the University were extremely happy and inspiring ones.

“I hope this award will shine a light on our amazing health visitors who play such an important role in ensuring children have the best start in life and have such a huge impact on the public’s health.

“Since the launch of the Institute in November 2012, we have created opportunities for health visitors to become iHV Fellows, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions, Safeguarding experts, Healthy Weight Healthy Nutrition Champions, and Domestic Violence and Abuse Experts – these great health visitors are leading local change to make a difference to children and families.”