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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Dr Jonathan Kennedy, PhD


Reader in Politics and Global Health

Centre: Centre for Public Health & Policy

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7882 2502


I am a Reader in Politics and Global Health in the Centre for Public Health and Policy. I am also co-Deputy Director of the Centre for Public Health & Policy.

My research use insights from sociology, political economy, anthropology and international relations to analyse important public health problems. For example, my research has explored the link between populist politics and vaccine hesitancy in Europe, the negative impact of the CIA drone strikes on polio eradication efforts in Pakistan, and how Saudi-led bombing of Yemen resulted in the world’s worst cholera outbreak in 2017.

I obtained my PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge (2013).

Prior to joining Queen Mary, University of London in 2016, I taught international development at the Department of Political Science, University College London and worked as a research associate at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge.

I am on Twitter: @j_j_kennedy


Research Interests:

My research seeks to understand why, when physicians and public health practitioners know how to prevent many infectious diseases, these diseases still persist. I use 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, I have published research on the political determinants of cholera in Yemen, vaccine hesitancy in Europe, and the impact of armed conflict on efforts to eradicate polio in a variety of countries, including Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and Somalia.

I am currently writing a book with the provisional title of Pathogenesis: How Infectious Diseases Shaped the Modern World, which will be published in 2022. It uses insights from a variety of academic disciplines – from genomics to economics – to understand the impact that infectious diseases have had on human society from 50,000 years ago to the present date.


Please click through to see a complete list of Jonathan's publications.

Featured Publications

Jonathan Kennedy (2019): ‘Populism and vaccine hesitancy in Europe: An analysis of national level data,’ European Journal of Public Health 29(3):512-16.

Jonathan Kennedy, Andrew Harmer and David McCoy (2017): ‘The political determinants of the cholera outbreak in Yemen’, Lancet Global Health 5(11): e970-71.

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.

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.


I am interested in supervising students whose research focuses on the social, political and economic determinants of health.

I am currently supervising Aida Hussain, whose research on healthcare in Somalia is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council through the London Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Doctoral Training Programme.

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