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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Dr Jonathan Kennedy, BA, MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)


Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44(0)20 7882 2502


Twitter: @j_j_kennedy

Dr Jonathan Kennedy has worked at Queen Mary since 2016, first as a lecturer and since 2019 as senior lecturer in global public health.

Dr Kennedy’s research has two main strands: the first focuses on armed conflict and health, the second on vaccine hesitancy. His work has been published in journals such as Lancet, Social Science and Medicine, European Journal of Public Health, European Journal of Sociology, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.

He writes on topics related to politics and health for a non-academic audience, including The Guardian, The London Review of Books, Al Jazeera, El Pais, Les Echos, Politico, and Project Syndicate.

Dr Kennedy teaches undergraduate and masters courses on the social, political and economic determinants of health. In 2019 he was awarded a Queen Mary Education Excellence Award for his contribution to the global health teaching programme. He is currently director of iBSc and MSc global health programmes.

Dr Kennedy has a PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge (2013). Prior to joining Queen Mary, he taught international development at the Department of Political Science, UCL and worked as a research associate at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge.


At Queen Mary, Dr Kennedy teaches modules on Introduction to Politics and Global Health (first-year undergraduate) and Public Health, International Law and Governance (MSc). He has taught a variety of undergraduate and masters courses at UCL and Cambridge, including Political Economy of International Development, Political Economy of Capitalism, Introduction to Sociology and Advanced Qualitative Methods.


Research Interests:

Dr Kennedy’s research seeks to understand why, when physicians and public health practitioners know how to prevent many infectious diseases, these diseases still persist. He uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews with key informants and national and sub-national statistical analysis. In the past couple of years he has published research looking at the political determinants of cholera in Yemen (Lancet Global Health), vaccine hesitancy in Europe (Lancet Infectious Diseases, European Journal of Public Health), and the impact of armed conflict on efforts to eradicate polio in countries such as Syria (Health Policy and Planning), Pakistan (International Journal of Health Services), Nigeria and Somalia (Medicine, Conflict and Survival).


Jonathan Kennedy (2019): ‘Populism and vaccine hesitancy in Europe: An analysis of national level data,’ European Journal of Public Health 29(3):512-16. [Reported in The Guardian, Times, Daily Tele-graph, Daily Mail, The Week, Jezebel, La Presse, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, Politico, Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, British Medical Journal.]

Jonathan Kennedy, Andrew Harmer and David McCoy (2017): ‘The political determinants of the cholera outbreak in Yemen’, Lancet Global Health 5(11): e970-71. [Reported in BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, Daily Mail, Independent, Middle East Eye, and Swedish Radio.]

Jonathan Kennedy and Domna Michailidou (2017): ‘Civil war, contested sovereignty and the limits of global health: The political determinants of the Syrian polio outbreak in 2013’, Health Policy and Planning 32(5): 690-698.

Jonathan Kennedy and Lawrence King (2014): ‘The political economy of farmers' suicides in India: Indebted cash-crop farmers with marginal landholdings explain state-level variation in suicide rates,’ Globalization and Health 10(16): 1-9. [Widely covered in the Times of India and Hindustan Times.]

Keertichandra Rajan, Jonathan Kennedy and Lawrence King (2013): ‘Is Wealthier Always Healthier in Poor Countries? The Health Effects of Income, Inequality, Poverty, and Literacy in India,’ Social Science and Medicine 88: 98-107. [Covered in The Guardian and Economic Times (India).]


All publications


Dr Kennedy is interested in supervising students on whose research focuses on a variety of issues related to public health in civil war affected regions.

Public Engagement

Dr Kennedy write on topics related to politics and health for a non-academic audience. Below are are a selection of his articles: