Public Health

From a range of medical specialties, the following pioneers of public health have helped to maintain and optimize population health through the organization, dissemination, and communication of medical knowledge, research, and best practice. Their work in the fields of physiology and disease have often led to actionable, and legislative, change and dramatic improvements in human wellbeing, both in the UK and internationally. 

Booth, Christopher

A gastroenterologist, medical politician and medical historian, Sir Christopher Booth was a remarkable figure in British medicine. He was the Professor of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital and Director of research at the MRC’s Clinical Research Centre in Northwick Park Hospital. He was also a founder member of the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, and in this clip he discusses the Royal College of Physicians’s influential 1962 report ’Smoking and Health’ that proved a turning point for public health policy surrounding smoking.

Inman, Bill

A pioneer of systems to detect risks in drug treatments, Professor Bill Inman worked as Senior (and later Principal) Medical Officer in the Committee on Safety of Drugs. Following the thalidomide tragedy of the late 1950s/early 1960s, the Committee dealt with major pharmaceutical issues such as the effect of the Pill on thrombosis risk. Here, Professor Inman discusses the evolution of his career, outlining the most notable and well-publicised cases handled by the Committee. 

Macfarlane, Alison

Since graduating in mathematics from Oxford in 1964, Professor Alison Macfarlane has spent her career working in public health. She has held positions both in governmental and academic institutions, as a statistician for research in agriculture, transportation studies, and environmental science. After helping to develop studies at the MRC Air Pollution Unit during the 1970s, she has been primarily interested in maternal and child health, and became Professor of Perinatal Health at City University, London.

Moore-Gillon, John

A specialist in respiratory medicine, Dr John Moore-Gillon was Lead Clinician for tuberculosis in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; Chairman of the Joint Tuberculosis Committee, and a former President of the British Lung Foundation. An advocate for the public discussion of medical science, in the following interview he shares his insights into the past and future of tuberculosis and public health. 

Will, Eric

After graduating from medicine at Guy’s Hospital, Dr Eric Will completed his MD in Leiden University, developing an interest in nephrology. He then took a post as Senior Registrar in Nephrology at Nottingham Hospital in the mid-70s. Recognising a need for the collation and analysis of clinical data, Eric formed what would eventually become the UK Renal Registry, for which he was the Secretary from 1995 to 2005.

Witness Seminars

Public Health in the 1980s and 1990s: Decline and Rise?

Short-course Chemotherapy for Tuberculosis

History of Cervical Cancer and the Role of the Human Papillomavirus, 1960-2000

History of the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles

WHO Framework Convention On Tobacco Control

The Development of Waste Management in the UK c.1960–c.2000