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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Professor David McCoy, BMed (Southampton), MPhil (University of Cape Town), DPhil (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)


Professor of Global Public Health

Telephone: 020 7882 2529


I am Professor of Global Public Health at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Queen Mary University of London where I head a unit that delivers a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate Global Health taught programmes, and conducts critical public health research. The Unit consists of 14 academics from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. We currently have over 200 students across six MSc programmes and a three-year BSc in Global Health.

I am a public health generalist with experience across the domains of professional practice, academia and civil society activism. A childhood in Malaysia and 10 years of work in sub-Saharan Africa have given me a global outlook in all my work.

I qualified as a medical doctor from Southampton University in 1989 and began work as a clinician. After being a junior doctor in the UK for two and a half years, I worked in a rural hospital in South Africa (Hlabisa Hospital) for two and a half years, during which time I was Acting Medical Superintendent for a year in 1994.

Following that, I worked as a research fellow at the Child Health Unit of the University of Cape Town. I then spent six years working for the Health Systems Trust (HST), an NGO established to support the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa’s health care system. I was Deputy Director for a national programme of district health systems development, before becoming Director of Research and Technical Support.

My work with HST mainly consisted of health systems and policy research; providing technical assistance to national and provincial departments of Health; and developing and implementing training programmes for clinicians, managers and policy makers.

After 10 years in South Africa I returned to the UK and completed formal NHS training in public health medicine. I was awarded my Certificate of Specialist Training in 2005 and have since worked in various positions across the NGO sector, academia and the NHS. 

This has included: Senior Clinical Research at University College London (UCL); Director of Public Health, NHS Hammersmith and Fulham (Jan 2010 – Apr 2011); Research Director for Aidspan, a Kenya-based research and policy organisation focused on the Global Fund to Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria (Apr 2011 – Jul 2012); Head of Public Health Intelligence, NHS Inner North West London (May 2011 – March 2013); and Director of Medact, a London-based public health charity which works on the underlying social, political and ecological determinants of global health (Apr 2013 – Sep 2017).

I have an M.Phil in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Cape Town and a doctorate from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and am a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health.

I have been a member of the Steering Council of the Peoples Health Movement, and was the founding managing editor of Global Health Watch, the alternative world health report. I was a Trustee of the New Economics Foundation for three years; and am currently a Trustee of the Centre for Health in the Public Interest.




I am currently Director of Global Health Taught Programmes at Queen Mary University of London, and am responsible for the delivery of six MSc programmes and one BSc programme:

I teach across a range of subject areas including: maternal health; global health governance; health systems policy; disease management; and the social determinants of health.


Research Interests:

Methodologically, I am mainly interested in policy research and case studies. My research interests have evolved over time. I am currently interested in research related to global health governance and the political economy of health. Please see my selected publication list for more information on my interests and expertise.


Law A, Saunders P, Middleton J, McCoy D, 2018. Global warming must stay below 1.5°C. BMJ 2018; 363 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.k4410

Chuah FLH, Srivastava A, Singh SR, Haldane V, Koh GCH, Seng CK, McCoy D, Legido-Quigley H, 2018. Community participation in general health initiatives in high and upper-middle income countries: A systematic review exploring the nature of participation, use of theories, contextual drivers and power relations in community participation. Social Science & Medicine 213: 106–122. DOI: 

McCoy D and Saunders P, 2018. Fracking and Health. BMJ 2018; 361 doi:

Russo G, Bloom G and McCoy D, 2017. Universal health coverage, economic slowdown and system resilience: Africa’s policy dilemma. BMJ Global Health. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000400 Published 30 August 2017

Pope I, Burn H, Ismail SA, Harris T and McCoy D, 2016. A qualitative study exploring the factors influencing admission to hospital from the emergency department. BMJ Open 2017;7:e011543. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011543

View all David McCoy's Research Publications at: