Combining state-of-the-art research methods with expert knowledge Combining state-of-the-art research methods with expert knowledge

Department of Population Health and Primary Care

The Department has four groups (Primary Care, Health Evidence, Health Economics, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics). It also includes the NIHR Research Design Service for East of England and Health Economics Consulting, and is deeply involved in the Norwich Clinical Research and Trials Unit based in Norwich Medical School and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Max Bachmann is the head of department.

Our research typically involves members of several groups, combining state-of-the art research methods with expert knowledge in several clinical, public health and health service fields. In our research collaborations beyond the department we provide methodological expertise, especially in interdisciplinary health services research, health economics, clinical trials, clinical epidemiology and medical statistics. Our research addresses a wide range of clinical, health service and public health problems. We have particular strengths in research on the organisation and delivery of primary health care, diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, obesity, smoking, musculoskeletal disease, HIV, tuberculosis, respiratory disease, mental health and diagnostic screening.

The Department currently has over £14 million in external research funding. We lead or collaborate on many clinical trials, with an emphasis on large scale pragmatic trials of complex health care interventions, often based in primary care, and usually including economic and qualitative research components. We also carry out evidence synthesis and meta-analytic studies which, in addition to influencing health policy and clinical practice, help identify gaps in current knowledge and priorities in future research.

Epidemiology and Health Geography

Our work focuses on the environmental, social, and policy influences on population health. In particular we undertake research to identify the manner by which characteristics of the social and physical environments act to influence key health related behaviours. We make use of geographical information systems and mapping technologies in much of our work.

Key areas of interest are:

  • Obesogenic environments
  • Physical activity behaviours
  • Dietary behaviours
  • Environmental determinants of health outcomes
  • Rurality and access to health care
  • Spatial analysis and mapping

In collaboration with the University of Cambridge we are part of the UK Clinical Research Consortium funded Centre of Excellence in Diet and Physical Activity Research (CEDAR) ( . We also work closely with the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, and the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol.


  • Prof Andy Jones
  • Dr Emma Coombes
  • Dr Flo Harrison
  • Dr Alice Dalton (School of Environmental Sciences)

University Partners

  • Nutrition
  • Health Services Research
  • Musculoskeletal Science
  • Respiratory Health
  • Health Economics
  • School of Environmental Sciences

Health Economics

Health economics research revolves around a central theme of decision-making in health care. Keys areas of research are:

  • Economic evaluation, including cost effectiveness analysis alongside randomised controlled trial, and economic evaluation of public health interventions
  • Public health economics, including social and economic consequences of health and health behaviours
  • Socio-economic inequalities in and determinants of health and health behaviours
  • Benefit valuation

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  • Dr Garry Barton
  • Dr Charlotte Davies
  • Rebekah Fong
  • Professor Ric Fordham
  • Dr Yevgeniy Goryakin
  • Professor Ruth Hancock
  • Lisa Irvine
  • Emma Mcmanus
  • Bisham Mohindru
  • Dr Marcello Morciano
  • Ferran Espuny Pujol
  • Angela Robinson
  • Dr Tracey Sach
  • Dr Chris Skedgel
  • Vijay Singh GC
  • David Turner

University Partners

Health services research
Clinical science and trials
Health Economics Consulting

Health Services Research

Our health services research investigates the effectiveness, efficiency, equity and acceptability of health care. We emphasise research on health care that affects the health of populations, especially through primary care. Key research areas are:

  • Randomised controlled trials, assessing the effectiveness of complex health care interventions
  • Observational studies of the quality and effectiveness of health care
  • Qualitative research on patients' and professionals' experience of health care
  • Diagnostic accuracy and screening programmes
  • Medical ethics


  • Prof Max Bachmann
  • Dr Jean Craig
  • Prof Amanda Howe
  • Dr Bob Fleetcroft
  • Prof Richard Holland
  • Dr Lee Hooper
  • Dr Tom Shakespeare
  • Dr Nick Steel
  • Dr Andrea Stockl
  • Dr Anna Smajdor
  • Prof Fujian Song

University Partners

Primary care
Health economics
Evidence synthesis
Medical statistics
Clinical science and trials

Evidence Synthesis

Methodological studies of methods for systematic review and meta-analysis, including publication bias, indirect treatment comparison and network meta-analysis, evaluation of complex healthcare interventions, and methods for evaluating data on adverse effect.
Health technology assessment, systematic reviews and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, observational studies, and studies of diagnostic tests on a wide range of health topics.
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  • Dr Jean Craig
  • Dr Lee Hooper
  • Dr Yoon Loke
  • Prof Fujian Song

University Partners

  • Health services research
  • Clinical science and trials
  • Nutrition

Primary Care

Our research combines clinical, epidemiological and social sciences to extend knowledge that addresses the core challenges of primary care. We focus our research on patient needs, working both with quantitative and qualitative approaches, and addressing issues both at the level of individual patients and populations. Some key current research areas are: health literacy and the consequences of diagnosis for predictive medicine, quality of care and relevance of guideline evidence to primary care, effectiveness of screening interventions, impacts of patient and public involvement, models of disability, and the ethics of reproductive technologies.


  • Dr Bob Fleetcroft
  • Dr John Ford
  • Prof Amanda Howe
  • Dr Caitlin Notley
  • Dr Tom Porter
  • Dr Charlotte Salter
  • Dr Nick Steel
  • Dr Tom Shakespeare
  • Dr Andrea Stockl
  • Dr Anna Smajdor

Academic clinical fellows

  • Dr William Bostock
  • Dr Vanessa Bull
  • Dr Helen Edwards
  • Dr Serge Engamba
  • Dr Brendan Fletcher
  • Dr Mark Karaczun
  • Dr Pieter McKeith
  • Dr Kosala Perera
  • Dr Joanna Sheldon
  • Dr Caroline Thurlow
  • Dr Rachel Wakelin 

University Partners

The Group works with many others in the Department and across MED, also having regular collaborations with RSC (Simon Horton, Fiona Poland, Val Pomeroy), SNS (Jamie Murdoch) and PHA (David Wright, Debi Bhattacharya). Outside UEA, we have a number of grants with other universities, including Univ. of Herts, UCL, York, and KCL.

NHS Partners

We work with many general practices who host UEA research, and closely with the R&D team at Norfolk PCT who co-ordinate the Norfolk and Suffolk Primary Care Research Network. Dr.Charlotte Salter is currently linked with the Research and Development Research Unit. We have a number of projects linked with NHS colleagues at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (Prof Sampson, Prof Scott, Dr Tarnya Marshall, Dr Phyo Mint, Dr Andrew Wilson); and at James Paget Hospital (Dr Justin Zaman).

Medical Statistics

Medical statistics provides statistical support for a range of research activities within the Norwich Medical School including clinical trials and epidemiological studies and leads research into statistical methods for clinical trials.

Key areas of research are:

  • Statistical methods within clinical trials
  • Genetic epidemiology


  • Dr Allan Clark
  • Dr Ian Nunney
  • Dr Gill Price
  • Prof Lee Shepstone
  • Dr Jane Skinner

University Partners

  • Clinical science and trials
  • Health services research
  • Health economics
  • Epidemiology