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Wolfson Institute of Population Health



Senior Clinical Lecturer in Health Equity



John is an academic public health doctor and Senior Clinical Lecturer in Health Equity in the Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary University London. He is also a Honorary Public Health Consultant within the national team of NHS England.

He leads the Health Equity Evidence Centre which uses machine learning to create living maps of what works to address inequalities in primary care. The centre produces evidence briefs, how-to guides and data to promote equity in primary care.

He believes that through our joint efforts we can build a fairer, more inclusive and equitable society. He works at the interface between research and practice to promote social justice and address health and care inequalities.

John’s main research interest is interventions and policies that seek to promote health equity and reduce health inequalities. He has range of interests relating to equitable health, including so called intervention-generated inequalities in health care settings, health care workforce inequalities, national policies and strategies to address inequalities and how primary care can address health and health care inequalities.

He leads a programme of research focused on health equity and is currently undertaking an NIHR Advanced Fellowship examining equity-focused quality improvement in health care organisations. He is co-editor in chief of the journal Public Health In Practice.

John’s medical school training was at the University of Aberdeen, graduating in 2007. Following this he completed his foundation medical training in hospitals in the north east of Scotland. John then spent a year in Auckland, NZ, working as a junior doctor. On returning to the UK, he worked in the Evidence Review Group at the University of Aberdeen appraising the clinical and cost effectiveness of new medications for NICE. During this period, John spent three months at the Liverpool School of Topical Medicine undertaking the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He also attained a distinction for his Master’s degree in public health and also won Division and College prizes for his thesis looking at vitamin D supplementation and heart disease.


In 2012, John began an Academic Clinical Fellowship in Public Health at the University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council. He started an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship in 2014  looking at how disadvantaged older people access primary care. His research informed an NHS toolkit and animation about improving access to primary care for vulnerable groups and based on this he won two prizes for research Impact. After finishing his fellowship, John was appointed as a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Cambridge in 2019 until 2022 where he led a programme of health inequalities research and co-lead the Health Inequalities Pillar of Cambridge Public Health. He retains a Visiting Fellows position at the University of Cambridge.

John’s career progress to date is as follows:

  • Nov 2022 – present – Senior Clinical Lecturer in Health Equity (Queen Mary University London)
  • Feb 2019 – Oct 2022 – Clinical Lecturer in Public Health (University of Cambridge)
  • Oct 2018 – Feb 2019 – Public Health Registrar (East of England)
  • Nov 2014 – Oct 2018 – NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow (University of East Anglia)
  • Aug 2012 – Oct 2014 – NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Public Health (University of East Anglia)
  • Sept 2011 – July 2012 – Masters of Health Services Research (Public Health) (University of Aberdeen)
  • Sept 2010 – Dec 2010 – Diploma of Topical Medicine and Hygiene (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
  • July 2010 – July 2012 – Research Associate Health Technology Assessment Group (University of Aberdeen)
  • Aug 2009 – Aug 2010 – House Officer, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland
  • Aug 2007 – Aug 2009 – Foundation Programme (NHS Grampian)

Aug 2002 – Aug 2007 – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor Surgery (MBChB) (University of Aberdeen)


Research Interests:

John leads a programme of research focused on interventions which seek to address health inequalities, especially in health care settings. He has a wide portfolio and ongoing research includes

  • Primary care
    • Health Equity Evidence Centre which uses machine learning to map what works to address inequalities
    • Interventions or aspects of general practice which increase or decrease inequalities (see EQUALISE study) and ways to synthesise existing research
    • Workforce inequalities in primary care (see general practice inequalities dashboard and BJGP article) and their link to funding and outcomes
    • Collection and use of social determinants of health data in general practice
    • Models of primary care that seek to support those in poverty
  • Secondary care
  • National health inequalities policy
    • Principles to guide cross-government action on health inequalities (see our Levelling up for Health framework)
    • Evaluation of the UK cross-government health inequalities strategy delivered during the 2000s (see BMJ Open paper)

How health inequalities data impacts on policy and decision making (SPHR funded project)


For full list please see and

Outstanding Publications

Reducing health inequalities through general practice

Anna Gkiouleka, Geoff Wong, Sarah Sowden, Clare Bambra, Rikke Siersbaek, Sukaina Manji, Annie Moseley, Rebecca Harmston, Isla Kuhn, John Ford

The Lancet Public Health 2023 DOI:

A systematic review of ‘equity-focused’ game-based learning in the teaching of health staff

Robyn Allan, Lucy McCann, Lucy Johnson, Maya Dyson, John Ford

Public Health in Practice 2024, 100462

Levelling up health: A practical, evidence-based framework for reducing health inequalities

Fiona Davey, Vic McGowan, Jack Birch, Isla Khun, Anwesha Lahiri, Anna Gkiouleka, Ananya Arora, Sarah Sowden, Clare Bambra, John Ford

Public Health in Practice 2022, 100322               

Systematic review of the effectiveness of the health inequalities strategy in England between 1999 and 2010

Ian Holdroyd, Alice Vodden, Akash Srinivasan, Isla Kuhn, Clare Bambra, John Ford

BMJ open 2022 12 (9), e063137

Transforming health systems to reduce health inequalities

John Ford, Sarah Sowden, Jasmine Olivera, Clare Bambra, Alex Gimson, Rob Aldridge, Carol Brayne

Future Healthcare Journal 2021 8 (2), e204


John is happy to discuss potential PhD supervision.

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