Our collaborators – Professor Hilary Graham

Professor Hilary Graham joined the University of York in October 2005 as Professor of Health Sciences and as Director of the Public Health Research Consortium. She also holds a Visiting Professorship at UCL Institute of Child Health.

Socioeconomic inequalities in health are at the centre of Hilary's research interests and policy commitments. She is particularly concerned with how the experience of inequality across the life course contributes to socioeconomic inequalities in health in adulthood - and with how policies can moderate these inequalities.

Linked to this, her work has also focused on how socioeconomic disadvantage shapes women's lives. Here, women smoking has been a major and enduring focus.

Hilary has a background in sociology and social policy. Her BA, MA and PhD are in sociology; the research and teaching posts she has held have spanned both disciplines. After working for her PhD at the University of York in the 1970s, she moved to the University of Bradford as a Lecturer in Social Policy. She followed this with a research post in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University, before taking up the post of Head of the Applied Social Studies Department at Coventry Polytechnic (now Coventry University) in the mid 1980s. She was appointed to the Chair of Applied Social Studies at the University of Warwick in 1988, a post she held until 1996, before moving to Lancaster University in 1996 to head up the ESRC's Health Variations Programme (1996-2001).

Hilary's recent publications include Unequal Lives: Health and Socioeconomic Inequalities (Open University Press, 2007) and Understanding Health Inequalities (Open University Press, 2009).

Hilary has contributed both to research and to policy development in the area of health and inequality. On the research front, she has served on four Research Assessment Exercises. She was a member of the Social Work and the Social Policy Panel of the 1989 Research Selectivity Exercise and of the 1992, 1996 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercises. She is also a member of the NIHR Public Health Programme Research Board.

On the policy front, Hilary was a member of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health, chaired by Sir Donald Acheson. The Inquiry was established by the Minister for Health in 1997 to review the evidence on class inequalities in health and to make recommendations for policies to address them. My current policy-related commitments include membership of the Department of Health's Scientific Reference group on Health Inequalities, NICE's Topic Selection Public Health Consideration Panel and the Advisory Group for the EU-funded GRADIENT project.


Current projects

Principal Investigator: Public perceptions of the health risks of climate change and priorities for action

Involvement in the Public Health Research Consortium

For more information on the projects below, please visit Hilary Graham’s profile page on the Public Health Research Consortium website accessed here.


  • Member of the PHRC Project Management Group, 2011-
  • Principal Investigator: Multiple risk behaviours among parents with dependent children
  • Principal Investigator: Health behaviours and health behaviour change among adults in England
  • Principal Investigator: Promoting health and protecting the environment: a systematic review of qualitative research of behaviours with health and environmental benefits
  • Co-Investigator: Multiple risk behaviours and interventions to reduce multiple risk behaviours – what do we know?
  • Co-Investigator: Patterning across public health attitudes, experience and knowledge in Britain


  • Director of the Consortium, 2005-2011
  • Chair of the PHRC Consortium Management Group, 2005-2011
  • Chair of the PHRC Project Management Group, 2005-2011
  • Principal Investigator: Using qualitative research to inform interventions to reduce smoking in pregnancy in England: a systematic review of qualitative studies

For more information on the Public Health Research Consortium please visit: www.phrc.online