Professor Kevin Andrew Fenton never deliberately set out to be the second most powerful black person in the UK, but that’s exactly what he is. Fenton is the Regional Director of Public Health England and responsible for meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic there. He was recently named to the Black Powerlist 2021 as the second most powerful black person in the UK 2021.
Fenton is a public health professional specializing in epidemiology. An infectious disease specialist, he was appointed to his current post in 2020. His expertise has played a key role in managing the pandemic. He’s worked with the National Health Service on clinical services and programs, along with distribution of the coronavirus vaccines in London. Fenton was also approached by Jamaican officials for insight into handling the pandemic.
Fenton’s journey began in Scotland. His mother, Carmen, left her position studying midwifery in Glasgow, Scotland, shortly after he was born. They returned to Jamaica to reunite with his father, Sydney, who was head of the Science Department at Kingston’s Excelsior School. Fenton spent his teen and young adult years growing up in Jamaica.
He attended Wolmer’s Boys School in Jamaica and demonstrated leadership abilities early in his life at school and in church. He was president of the Anglican Youth Fellowship. At one time he dreamed of becoming a pilot, but chose to pursue a medical career, and is an accomplished pianist.
The public health official graduated from the University of the West Indies with an MB BS degree. He completed residencies at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay and the University Hospital of the West Indies. He worked as Medical Officer at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea. He received a PhD in Epidemiology from University College in London and attended London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Fenton worked with and consulted with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in 2005, he moved to the U.S. where he worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He led the organization’s Act Against Aids Initiative. He returned to the UK in 2012.