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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is to be a leader in creating
a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Belfast Healthy Cities Staff

Joan Devlin

Chief Executive

Joan Devlin is Chief Executive of Belfast Healthy Cities and has responsibility for delivering the World Health Organization (WHO) healthy city requirements with key stakeholders in the city, on behalf of Belfast.  Joan has significant experience in intersectoral public health work, contributes locally to building capacity and developing innovative projects to address health, well-being and inequalities, many of which have been transferred across Europe.

She has acted as a WHO Adviser, contributing to the development of Healthy Cities’ across WHO Europe; presented on behalf of WHO at international conferences and served as chair of the WHO European Healthy Cities Advisory Committee.  From 2009 Joan has led the WHO Secretariat, working directly with WHO Regional Office for Europe, which provides the opportunity to share the expertise and innovation from WHO Europe on relevant subjects across Belfast.

Prior to working for Healthy Cities, Joan was employed by Save the Children and worked locally and across the UK in the areas of childcare; family work; community development & health and evaluation. Joan is a founder member and chair of CDHN (Community Development & Health Network), represents Belfast in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and as an associate member of the Ireland Healthy Counties & Cities Network.  

Joan has two children; enjoys walking, going to local theatre; spends some time travelling in Europe and whilst at home, enjoys sewing and restyling.   

Julie McAllister

Julie has a diverse background with experience in sales, accounts, HR and recruitment and has been working as PA in within the banking and private sectors since 2003. Julie joined us in May 2016.

Being a highly organised, skilled resourcer with great attention to detail she feels that it is her interest and understanding of people, which helps her to organise effectively and meet tight deadlines.

Priding herself on her lateral thinking, Julie is solution focussed therefore throughout her career she has aimed to deliver the very best service possible.

Julie has 2 young sons and enjoys spending time with her family and socialising with friends in her spare time.

Anne McCusker

Anne graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2013 with an MSSc in Social and Community Development and in 2004 with a BA in International Business Studies from Ulster University. Anne joined Belfast Healthy Cities in 2013 as Policy and Project Officer. Prior to this she worked for voluntary sector organisations developing and delivering programmes on health and wellbeing. Currently Anne is leading the development of the Health Literacy programme and also supports the Health Inequalities and Healthy Ageing programmes. Recent work includes the Reducing Inequalities: Getting Results Flagship Training Programme and development of the Walkability Assessment for Healthy Ageing tool. Anne has experience delivering training across a number of these work themes. Anne has a keen interest in holistic therapies and sports.

Caroline Scott

Support Officer

Caroline graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1994 with a degree in Sociology. Prior to joining Belfast Healthy Cities in 2002, she worked for Praxis and The Cedar Foundation.

Since joining Belfast Healthy Cities she has worked in a number of roles and is currently Secretariat for the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, which the Belfast office has held since 2009. Through her various roles she has developed a range of skills, in particular extensive experience in conference and event facilitation and management. She also completed a Certificate in Public Health Promotion at the Open University.

Outside work, Caroline enjoys music, theatre, film, travel, reading and sport.

Chris Karelse

Chris graduated from Delft University of Technology in 2010 with an MSc in Architecture and in 2007 with a BSc in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Science from Delft University of Technology.  Chris joined Belfast Healthy Cities in 2018 as Project Officer.  Prior to this he completed his work placement at the Urban Planning Department in Amsterdam and worked in the academic sector in Northern Ireland as a researcher in conflict studies.

Currently Chris is responsible for engagement with planning policy and also supports the introduction of the Place Standard Tool into Northern Ireland.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys designing and producing cartographic art and outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking.

Sonia Langasco

Sonia Langasco graduated from Queen’s University of Belfast in 1999 with a BSSc Hons Degree in Sociology and Social Policy and returned, while in employment, to complete a MSSc in Social and Community Development in 2007.

Sonia has a background in community, health and sports development having previously worked for East Belfast Community Development Agency, Sport Northern Ireland, NI Sports Forum and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.  Her strengths are building and maintaining relationships, project management and creative problem solving and she is passionate about tackling mental health issues, particularly building emotional resilience in children.

Having joined Belfast Healthy Cities in 2018 Sonia’s current focus is on projects and partnerships connected to Healthy Places, in particular Child Friendly Places as well as supporting work on Health Literacy.  She will also be involved in organising the WHO International Healthy Cities Conference being hosted in Belfast in October 2018.