I was a senior policy adviser at the Department of Health for 25 years (1992-2017). Before that, I worked at the Trades Union Congress (health and social policy adviser), the Health Education Authority (alcohol policy manager) and Birmingham University (social policy lecturer). I am a graduate of Warwick and Birmingham universities. My doctorate was on the Labour Movement and the Creation of the NHS 1890-1948 (University of Birmingham).
At the Department of Health, I led on the social determinants of health agenda, including cross-government collaboration on housing and homelessness, troubled families, early years and school policies, the health inequalities strategy focusing on infant mortality, and international health, including working with WHO and the EU. I chaired the EU Equity Action project on addressing health inequalities across the union (2011-14). I was private secretary to the Director of Research and Development (1995-97), secretary to the Acheson Independent Inquiry on Inequalities of Health (1998) and DH lead for the Marmot Fair Society, Healthy Lives report (2010). At the TUC, I led on emerging AIDS/HIV workplace programmes (1986-88), including working with WHO.
I am a policy adviser supporting a number of projects. These include the DeStress project, which examines the impact of poverty on mental health through the lives of people in disadvantaged communities; the Patient Experience project, looking at the engagement of young people and their families in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services; and the NHS at 70 project. I am a blogger and regular contributor to the Cultural Contexts of Health website (e.g. what can a singing cowboy teach us about policymaking?)