Photo of Em P Simon Capewell

Em P Simon Capewell DSc (2009); MD (1988); MB BS (Newcastle) 1977

Emeritus Professor Public Health, Policy & Systems


Personal Statement

Simon Capewell qualified from Newcastle University and subsequently trained in clinical medicine (general, respiratory and cardiovascular) in Oxford, Cardiff and then Edinburgh where he discovered Public Health. He subsequently moved to Glasgow University before being appointed as the first Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool in 1999.

His research programme has focused on the epidemiology and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mainly cardiovascular and heart disease, diabetes and common cancers; hence studies on the key NCD drivers: inequalities, tobacco, alcohol, inactivity and, crucially, poor diet (obesity, sugar, salt, saturated fats, transfats, inadequate fruit & veg, etc). He particularly enjoys mentoring colleagues, facilitating multidisciplinary research teams, and writing papers and grant applications.

Simon’s personal outputs thus far include over 400 publications (Google H index 80), and some £30 million in total funding (over £5m as Principal Investigator).

His recent research work (funded by NIH/ NIHR/ EU/ MRC/ BHF/ WHO) focused on:
a) Developing effective, equitable and cost-saving non-communicable disease prevention strategies regionally, nationally and internationally (majoring on healthy food and tobacco policies, and using computational modelling, policy appraisals and empirical analyses). Demonstrating that population-wide NCD prevention policies prioritising healthy food and tobacco control can be powerful, rapid, equitable and cost- saving.
b) An IMPACT Model programme helping to explain the factors driving the dramatic falls in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality rates in the UK, USA and other high income countries; and conversely, rapidly increasing CVD mortality rates in China and some other low and middle income countries; plus the first comprehensive modelling of socio-economic gradients and trends in treatments and risk factors. Population-wide risk factor changes shaped by harmful commodities consistently drive disease trends more powerfully than modern treatments. This work has helped inform policies and strategies.

Simon has thus been valued as a public health “generalist”, with expertise that spans the policy, population, health service and clinical aspects of health and disease prevention.
He has contributed to policy development, service work and advocacy locally, nationally and internationally, including chairing, vice-chairing or energetically supporting committees at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (Obesity Prevention Group), Action on Sugar (founder member), American Heart Association (Leadership Cabinet), ASH Scotland (Board Vice-Chair & Trustee), Consensus Action on Salt (CASH expert advisor), European Society of Cardiology (Policy Committee), Health Equalities Group (Chair of Trustees), NICE (2005-2014), Obesity Health Alliance (Steering Group, Healthy Weight Strategy Group), Obesity Action Scotland (Steering Group), Society for Social Medicine (President 2015 & 2016), UK Faculty of Public Health (Vice President for Policy, 2015-2018), UK Health Forum (Trustee 2008-2018), and World Health Organisation (expert advisor).