Dona Milne FFPH

Dona is a Consultant in Public Health at NHS Lothian. She has worked in the area of children and young people’s health and education within local authorities, the voluntary sector, Scottish Government and the NHS. Her main interests are reducing inequalities, particularly through work on social determinants, reproductive health, youth work and children’s rights. She is the chair of the Scottish Youth Work Research Group.
She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health. She originally trained in Community Education specialising in young people and health, working in the voluntary sector and local government. Her career has taken her to YWCA Scotland as Depute Director (Scotland) and for 7 years from 2001 she led the ‘Healthy Respect’ National Demonstration Project. In 2008, Dona was seconded to the Scottish Government and led the H1N1 vaccination campaign following a period in sexual health and HIV policy.

Why I am here at SCPHRP?

In my work I am looking at how we ensure that our work with children and young people has a focus on prevention in a time when resources are being reduced and a greater number of our services have become targeted and focused on children and young people with the highest level of need. This feels short sighted. Evidence tells us that universal services make a difference, they reduce stigma and are embedded in local communities where children and young people live their lives. The opportunity for relationship building with children and young people exists through these services and activities in local communities whether they are delivered by the public sector or the third sector. We have a programme of research underway related to youth work and this fits very well with a public health approach to prevention.

What am I doing at SCPHRP?

I am working with SCPHRPs Jan Pringle & John McAteer and Ross Whitehead & Eileen Scott from NHS Health Scotland to look at how we create the environments for what we are calling “trusted adults” to exist in our local communities. This stems from work already undertaken around Adverse Childhood Experiences that recognises the mitigating effect of a trusted adult on future outcomes in adulthood. It also stems from our work on youth work which is fundamentally based on forming relationships with children and young people in local communities on their own terms. We want to identify through the literature initially what we know about this trusted adult role and how we can support it to exist across our public and third sector services.
In a voluntary capacity, Dona is a Trustee with Youth Scotland and the Children’s Parliament in Scotland.
Contact Dona at
For further reading please visit,
YouthLink Scotland blog page
Youth work research programme