Alumni engagement and philanthropy

2022 Allstate NI Queen’s Graduate of the Year is Dr Caroline McElnay

An image of a woman with text that says Dr Caroline McElnay 2022 Allstate NI Queen's Graduate of the Year. Logos of Allstate NI and Queen's University Belfast included.

Friday 18 November 2022

Dr Caroline McElnay has been announced as the 2022 Allstate NI Queen’s Graduate of the Year, joining a prestigious list of Queen’s University graduates who have been similarly recognised for their achievements both at home and internationally.

As the Director of Health for the New Zealand government during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr McElnay worked alongside New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and was lauded for developing policies which directly contributed to saving thousands of lives.

On receiving the award, Dr McElnay said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award. When I left Queen’s in 1984, I was certain that I wanted to specialise in Public Health, or Community Medicine as it was known back then. This was due to the passion that was sparked by the wonderful teachers I had in my fourth year Community Medicine course.”  

Born in Bushmills, she attended Coleraine High School before graduating from Queen’s with a degree in Medicine in 1984. She subsequently gained her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Manchester in 1990.

Following her relocation to New Zealand, Dr McElnay became Director of Population Health for the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in 1995, before being instated as Director of Public Health for the Ministry of Health in 2017.  

Feargus McCauley, President of Queen’s Graduates’ Association, commended Caroline on her achievements. He said: “Queen’s is proud to have graduates like Caroline, who develop what they have learned and go on to make an impact on an international stage. Throughout the pandemic, Caroline deftly navigated the rapidly changing situation to deliver clear and comforting guidance to millions of citizens in New Zealand.”

Kathryn Harkin, Senior Manager at Allstate NI, added: “The people of New Zealand were lucky to have Caroline’s expertise on their side in the battle against coronavirus, with her calm guidance helping to protect and comfort millions. On behalf of everyone at Allstate NI, I’d like to congratulate Caroline on this well-deserved award.”

Find out more about the Allstate NI Queen’s Graduate, Student and Alumni Volunteer of the Year awards

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