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Prof Michael Marmot
UCL Institute of Health Equity, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
1-19 Torrington Place
  • Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Epidemiology & Public Health
  • Institute of Epidemiology & Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, and President of the World Medical Association.  He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (2015) and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (2004).  Professor Marmot holds the Harvard Lown Professorship for 2014-2017 and is the recipient of the  Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health 2015. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from 16 universities. Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for 40 years.  He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008.  At the request of the British Government, he conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO Euro n 2014.  He chaired the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health.  He set up the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality. He leads the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health.  He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011, and is President of the British Lung Foundation.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.  He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities

Research Summary

Marmot's research has been devoted to establishing the chain of disease causation from the social environment, through psychosocial influences, biological pathways, to risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. In studies of Japanese migrants to the USA and migrants to Britain from a number of countries, he showed that disease rates change. The longer the migrant has been in the new country, the more closely rates of disease resemble those of the new country. A specific object of investigation was the high rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes among immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. This defied the usual explanations. Marmot showed it was related to the metabolic syndrome related to insulin resistance and the resultant lipid disturbances. This same set of biological mechanisms proved important to the inverse social gradient in cardiovascular disease in Britain. Marmot's studies of civil servants showed that the lower the status, the higher was the risk. Plasma fibrinogen and the metabolic syndrome mediate much of this excess risk. Marmot produced evidence linking low control at work to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. He and his colleagues have good evidence that psychosocial stress pathways are involved in the metabolic disturbances observed. It is these pathways that provide the most promising explanation for the new phenomenon that they are investigating: the dramatic increase in cardiovascular disease and drop in life expectancy that occurred in Russia and other former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. A new thrust of the research is its application to an ageing population.

Teaching Summary

MSc Health and Society: Social Epidemiology, Social determinants of global health module

01-JAN-2011 Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity Epidemiology & Public Health University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2000 Adjunct Professor, Harvard University Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies Harvard School of Public Health, United States
01-JAN-1995 – 31-MAR-2013 MRC Research Professor in Epidemiology Epidemiology & Public Health University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-1985 Professor in Epidemiology & Public Health Epidemiology & Public Health University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-1980 Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine   General Medical Council, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1975 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Epidemiology University of California - Berkeley
1972 MPH Master of Public Health – Epidemiology University of California - Berkeley
1968 MBBS Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine University of Sydney
1966 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Medicine University of Sydney
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