The Polisi team generates, synthesises, and effectively communicates action-orientated, evidence-informed insight. We use this to advocate for policy making that protects and promotes the health and well-being of everyone in Wales, now and for future generations. We also provide essential support and expertise to colleagues across the directorate and Public Health Wales on policy advocacy and responding to policy consultations.

Our work Lead: Dr. Louisa Petchey

What we do

We work with stakeholders and evidence to better understand and influence public health policy issues. We also upskill and enable our colleagues across Public Health Wales to undertake policy advocacy activity by supporting engagement with policy consultations and providing training to embed best practice. Current policy areas of focus within the team include health and housing, the cost of living crisis, child poverty, and the links between international trade and health. We also work to implement and embed legislation that protects and promotes the health and well-being of everyone in Wales, including the Well-being of Future Generations Act and Socio-economic Duty. We have expertise in enabling public bodies to embed the long-term way of working by applying futures approaches, which we are currently delivering in partnership with the office of the Future Generations Commissioner.

What we have done

With a focus on the policy context in Wales, the Polisi team has led on a range of timely projects, generating new evidence and thinking on a broad range of subjects that affect population health and well-being in Wales. Some recent work includes analysing the potential impacts of Brexit on health and well-being in Wales, exploring options for a Basic Income in Wales, looking at what future trends could means for social capital and health inequalities in Wales, and approaches to improve winter well-being and reduce winter pressures in the health system. We  have also supported several Health Impact Assessments, including of Brexit and new international trade agreements. We have produced tools and resources to help public bodies, including a toolkit for applying the futures model the Three Horizons, and for maximising the public health benefit of the Socio-economic Duty. We continue to build on our portfolio of evidence making the case for investing in healthy housing. 

Polisi Team

Professor Jo Peden

Consultant in Public Health and International Health

Professor Jo Peden is a Consultant in Public Health and International Health in the Policy and International Health Team. She has an Honorary Professorship from University of Wolverhampton relating to her work on violence prevention, improving the health of women and children in prison and evaluating complex system change. She has previously worked for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome and as Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes for Public Health England South, leading on health inequalities. In 2019 Jo helped to set up the West Midlands Violence Prevention Partnership which takes a public health approach to preventing violence. She has also previously worked as a Consultant in Health Protection.

Dr. Louisa Petchey

Senior Policy Specialist

Louisa joined Public Health Wales in 2018. In her current role Louisa manages the Polisi team and leads a collaborative partnership with the Future Generations Commissioner’s office on embedding the long-term way of working into public body thinking and planning. Prior to this appointment, Louisa influenced policy and practice on behalf of health and social justice charities, and completed a PhD in Developmental Genetics.

Leah Silva

Principal Public Health Practitioner (Policy & Advocacy)

Leah joined Public Health Wales in 2022 as a Senior Policy and International Evidence Development Officer and manages the Polisi team as maternity cover. Prior to this role, Leah worked at the Wales Centre for Public Policy and at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in the United States where she helped build the capacity of state and territorial health agency leadership to identify, develop and implement evidence-based law and policy. She has also worked in state government as a public health lawyer. Leah has an MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from LSE and LSHTM (2021), a juris doctorate from Penn State Law (2013) and a BA in political science from the George Washington University (2010).

Menna Thomas

Public Health Policy Officer

Menna is a Policy Officer in the Polisi Team, having joined Public Health Wales in 2022. Menna works on homelessness and social capital and coordinates PHW consultation responses. Previously Menna worked in policy and practice in public and voluntary sector organisations with children, young people and families.

Lewis Brace

Public Health Policy Research Officer

Lewis joined the Policy and International Health team as a Public Health Policy Research Officer in July 2021 after working for PHW on the COVID response as a practitioner within the Cardiff and Vale team. Lewis is currently involved with research projects on winter wellbeing, climate change and renewable energy. His free time is spent enjoying the outdoors and exploring the Welsh coast on his inflatable boat.

For further information about the work of the Polisi team, please email [email protected] or
contact Leah Silva, at
[email protected]  

We welcome calls and correspondence in Welsh. We will respond in Welsh without delay.