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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Dr Georgia Black


Reader in Applied Health Research



I joined the Centre for Cancer Screening, Prevention and Early Diagnosis at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health in August 2022 as a Reader in Applied Health Research. I am also a executive committee member of the Policy Research Unit in Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis, which is a programme of NIHR research aiming to research strategies and tactics which can lead to diagnosis of cancer at an earlier stage and consequently reduce premature mortality from cancer.

I hold a prestigious THIS Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship looking at patient safety in non-specific symptom pathways for cancer. I currently hold funding from the NIHR, Blood Cancer UK and Barts Charity. I have previously received funding from Cancer Research UK, the Health Foundation, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. I am the Principal Investigator of the BLADE study (BLood cancer: understanding public Awareness, help-seeking behaviours and Diagnostic management), a collaborative grant with the University of Surrey and North Central London Cancer Alliance. I also lead the PEARL study (understanding diagnostic experiences of lung cancer patients with no smoking history). I am a co-investigator on INTERPRET-X, the first study to understand the implementation of interpreting services in primary care in the UK.


Research Interests:

My work covers several areas of applied health research, with two main foci: (1) the impact of GP-patient communication on patient safety in cancer pathways and (2) the effect of socioeconomic inequalities and specifically exclusion from healthcare. My research has revealed the unintended consequences of patients’ communication with services such as delayed diagnosis, exclusion from services and exacerbation of illness. I have developed a programme of research looking at specific aspects including non-specific symptom pathways, emergency pathways, educational differences in language use around breast cancer, fear of cancer, and public attitudes to changes in cancer policy.

My work currently focuses on developing a ‘systems’ approach to early diagnosis of cancer, where the ‘system’ includes interconnected components of healthcare such as multiple healthcare professionals and organisations, technology, equipment and workplace culture that act together. The aim is to create a system in which cancer is efficiently detected, rather than over-burdening patients and clinicians with responsibility and risk.

The conceptual and theoretical foundations of my work come from social and cognitive psychology, and from the sociology of healthcare, patient safety and social inequalities. I use primarily ethnographic and qualitative mixed methods research techniques.


Please follow through to see a complete list of Georgia's publications.

Black, G.B., van Os, S., Renzi, C. et al. How does safety netting for lung cancer symptoms help patients to reconsult appropriately? A qualitative study. BMC Prim. Care 23, 179 (2022).

Black, G.B., Bhuiya, A., Smith, C.F., Hirst, Y. and Nicholson, B.D., 2022. Harnessing the Electronic Health Care Record to Optimize Patient Safety in Primary Care: Framework for Evaluating e–Safety-Netting Tools. JMIR Medical Informatics, 10(8), p.e35726.

Ip A, Black G, Vindrola-Padros C, Taylor C, Otter S, Hewish M, Bhuiya A, Callin J, Wong A, Machesney M, Fulop NJ, Taylor C, Whitaker KL. Socioeconomic differences in help seeking for colorectal cancer symptoms during COVID-19: a UK-wide qualitative interview study. Br J Gen Pract. 2022 Jun 30;72(720):e472-e482.

Jallow, M., Bonfield, S., Kurtidu, C., Baldwin, D.R., Black, G., Brain, K.E., Donnelly, M., Janes, S.M., McCutchan, G., Robb, K.A. and Ruparel, M., 2021. Decision Support Tools for Low-Dose CT Scan Lung Cancer Screening: A Scoping Review of Information Content, Format, and Presentation Methods. Chest, pp.S0012-3692.

Amelung, D., Whitaker, K.L., Lennard, D., Ogden, M., Sheringham, J., Zhou, Y., Walter, F.M., Singh, H., Vincent, C. and Black, G., 2020. Influence of doctor-patient conversations on behaviours of patients presenting to primary care with new or persistent symptoms: a video observation study. BMJ quality & safety, 29(3), pp.198-208. 


I am open to inquiries about PhD supervision on topics related to early diagnosis of cancer, primary care, patient safety and healthcare improvement.

I currently supervise:

Bethany Wickramasinghe, Medical Research Council, Exploring the value of prescriptions data in improving early cancer detection in primary care: a mixed methods approach (2020-2023)

Stephanie Kumpunen, THIS Institute, A critical analysis and development of rapid ethnographies in healthcare quality improvement (2019-2024)

Laura Boswell, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Studentships, University of Surrey, Understanding symptom appraisal and help-seeking to improve early diagnosis of blood cancer (2022-2025)

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