Public health France: for new director Caroline Sémaille, return to port

So far number two of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines, this doctor in public health and infectiologist has just been appointed to the head of the establishment attached to the Ministry of Health.

By Nathalie BRAFMAN

It’s a bit of a home. Ten years after leaving the National Institute for Health Surveillance (INVS), Caroline Sémaille, currently deputy director general of the National Agency for Medicines (ANSM), is about to take the lead. The decree was published in the Official Journal of Thursday, February 23.

Meanwhile, the establishment attached to the Ministry of Health, has changed its name and has been called since 2016, Public Health France (SPF). The position of the most important public health structure – with the Directorate General of Health – was vacant since November 2022, the previous director, Geneviève Oak, having not been renewed at the end of her three -year mandate.

The agency was particularly criticized at the start of the crisis linked to the COVVI-19 for its imparation or the weakness of its information systems allowing the monitoring of the health statement of the populations. In a report of December 2022, the Court of Auditors had made several criticisms: obsolescence and risk of failure of information systems, need to clarify the agency’s missions … Caroline SENAILLE therefore arrives at a pivotal moment.

of all epidemics

For this doctor in public health and infectiologist, aged 57, this appointment is part of the logic of a professional career of twenty years in health agencies, of the InVS from 2002 to 2013, at the ANSM from 2013 to 2019 and since 2021, including the National Agency for Food, Environment and Labor Safety (ANSES), in the meantime.

One of his strengths for this future position is to have followed all epidemics: HIV-AIDS in the 1990s, Sras in 2003, H1N1 flu in 2008, Mers-Cov in 2013, Ebola in 2014… “She has crossed all the crises we have also known and she has kept my memory. For us, on the ground, her appointment is excellent news. She is seraglio and is not parachuted, “says Gilles Pialoux, chief of diseases Infectious at Tenon Hospital (Public Assistance-Hospitals in Paris, AP-HP).

Very early medicine won. “It is my spine. The first time I had to think of being a doctor, I was 10 years old. And no one has ever doubted around me that I will be.” She does not come from a Family of Dynasty, only his grandfather, ophthalmologist in the navy, was. Very early on, she chose public health, because “beyond the individual is to take care of a population”. “She was attracted to what she called the transversal specialties and already very committed to what she was doing,” recalls Gérard Helft, cardiologist at La Pitié-Salpêtrière (AP-HP), who knew her young external when ‘it was internal.

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/Media reports cited above.