I hold the W.H. Duncan Chair of Public Health in the Department of Public Health and Policy, where I lead the ‘Policy Research on Social determinants and Health Inequalities’ research group. My expertise is in public health, health inequalities, social epidemiology, health and social policy analysis, evidence synthesis.
My passionate interest over the past thirty years has been social inequalities in health – most especially what can be done to tackle them. To this end, I have served on every major inquiry on the subject from the updating of the Black Report in ‘the Health Divide’, to the Acheson Inquiry, the Review of Health Inequalities in England Post-2010. and the Senior Advisory Board of the WHO European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide.
With UK and international colleagues, I am developing ways of assessing the health inequalities impact of complex social interventions and natural policy experiments to address the social determinants of health, as typified by the EU DEMETRIQ project, which I jointly co-ordinated, and the THRIVE project with Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the UK on the health inequalities impact of policies to extend working lives.
Since 2005, I have been Head of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Determinants of Health Equity, hosted in the Department of Public Health and Policy. Work for WHO encompasses a full range of issues, from ethics to action, including concepts and principles of equity for health, strategies for tackling social inequalities in health, and an initiative to develop indicators of policy progress.
I am also Co-Director of LiLaC: the Liverpool and Lancaster Universities Collaboration for Public Health Research, which is one of the eight institutional members of the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR); Liverpool Lead for the NIHR Policy research Unit: the UK Public Health Research Consortium and Lead for the People Theme in the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections.
In 2014, I chaired the Independent Inquiry into Health Equity for the North of England (the Due North Report), commissioned by Public Health England, which sets out recommendations for Northern agencies to work together across sectors, as well as for central government to play its full part. Since then, I have been actively involved in initiatives with Public Health England to take forward the research agenda stemming from the Due North recommendations.
I was awarded a Damehood in the 2016 New Year Honours list for services to public health, and in particular the field of health inequalities.
In 2018 I was selected by the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK as an ‘Outstanding ‘Woman in Medicine’ for the RCP’s celebratory exhibition of 'women in medicine'
- Awarded a Damehood for services to public health, and in particular the field of health inequalities (Queen's New Year's Honours List 2016)
- Selected by the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK as an ‘Outstanding ‘Woman in Medicine’ for the RCP’s celebratory exhibition of ‘women in medicine’ (Royal College of Physicians 2018)
- Alwyn Smith Award of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians for contribution to improving the health of the public. (Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians 2018)
- Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (Academy of Medical Sciences 2017)
- Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health (Royal Colleges of Physicians 2001)
- Visiting Professorship, Karolinska Institute, 2013-16 (Karoliska Institute, Stockholm 2013)
- Life Membership of the Society for Social Medicine for services to population health. (Society for Social Medicine 2014)
- Head of WHO Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Determinants of Health Equity
- Co-Director of LiLaC (Liverpool and Lancaster Universities Collaboration for Public Health Research)