My work is driven by the need for radical change in health care, the importance of evidence, and a deep respect for the working class community I grew up in
The work that you see on this website began in 2013 while I was the Physician Editor of TEDMED, the TED event dedicated to health. Although the event sought to showcase ‘big ideas’ for the future of health, I was left convinced that very little of it would have much impact on the working class community I grew up in. That conviction has driven my work and helped me develop my perspective.
Prior to working with TEDMED, I was a medical editor and practicing doctor.
I trained as a medical editor at The BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) and honed my skills at BioMed Central, the publishing company that proved that it was commercially viable to make research articles freely available online (rather than hidden behind a paywall). BioMed Central’s achievements continue to disrupt academic publishing and I am proud to have served as its Editorial Director for Medicine.
After BioMed Central, I ran the company that created ‘Faculty of 1000 Medicine’, the service that identified the tiny number of research articles that matter from the thousands published each week. The simple truth is that most medical research is scandalously poor and it takes discerning experts to spot the few articles that truly add to our knowledge. We recruited about 2400 such experts for the service.
My interest has always been in influencing clinical practice and so after Faculty of 1000 Medicine, I moved into clinical improvement as the Editorial Director of Map of Medicine. The ‘map’ was a set of evidence-based pathways (essentially flow charts) illustrating the best care for the conditions most often seen in hospital. Although I loved the role, I was fascinated by how evidence alone has little sway over the delivery of health care.
I left Map of Medicine to become a consultant in the emerging digital health scene. It was in that role that I came to the attention of TEDMED whose leaders were looking for a doctor that understood evidence, technology and innovation.
I still work as a consultant in medical information. My clients include companies that make up the contemporary publishing landscape, from publishers (such as NEJM Group) and distributors (such as EBSCO Health) to platform providers (such as Silverchair). They also include companies looking to get into health and grappling with the importance of medical information, from communications agencies (such as Ogilvy Healthworld) and digital agencies (such as DigitasLBi) to social enterprises (such as Participle).
The work that you see on this website I now call ‘community health’ (I don’t much like the term but it’s better than the alternatives). As it has progressed, I have begun to share it through consultancy, including speaking. As a consultant, I often work through Collaborative Consulting, a specialist consultancy at the heart of medical-social integration. I have worked with foundations (such as The California Endowment and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity) and international agencies (such as the World Health Organisation).
As a speaker, I’m often asked to speak about the determinants of health, value-based health care, and understanding health beyond the lens of health care. My agencies in the US are Executive Speakers Bureau and Speakers on Healthcare, and outside the US are London Speaker Bureau, Speakers Corner, and MFL. If you don’t have a relationship with any of these agencies, contact me directly.
The perspective that I have developed through my work challenges the status quo, especially prevailing narratives about poor people and their health (they don’t “just need education” as many people believe). I have learnt that this challenge is essential to the work and that it’s hard to be challenging when you’re worried about upsetting your boss. That’s why I have chosen to remain independent.
A note on language. This site is a mixture of English and US English. That’s because the primary audiences for my projects have differed; sometimes they’ve been in the UK, sometimes they’ve been in the US. I’ll keep switching between languages based on the primary audience for the project. And when the primary audience is not clear, I’ll default to English.