Professor KK Cheng FMedSci

Professor KK Cheng

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Public Health and Primary Care

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

KK Cheng (郑家强) has been Professor at the University of Birmingham since 1995. His main interests are in the epidemiology, prevention and control of important non-communicable diseases, and the development of primary care in China.

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-1516-1857

Google Scholar


  • Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences, UK 2012
  • FRCGP 2010
  • FFPHM 1997
  • PhD University of Cambridge 1997
  • MBBS, The University of Hong Kong 1984
  • BSc, The University of Hong Kong 1984


KK Cheng qualified in Medicine at University of Hong Kong. After completing his Public Health Medicine and General Practice training in Hong Kong, he was supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship and did a PhD in cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Nick Day. He joined the University of Birmingham in 1993 as a Senior Lecturer and promoted to Chair and Head of Department of Public Health and Epidemiology in 1995. From 2016-2023, he was Director of the Institute of Applied Health Research.

His research career began in cancer epidemiology, broadening later to the prevention and control of important non-communicable diseases in the UK and LMICs. Since 2010, he has been active also in the development of primary care and general practice in China. He helped founding the Department of General Practice at Peking University Health Sciences Center (PUHSC) in 2011 and was Head of Department in 2011-2015. He has been Honorary Director of General Practice Development and Research Center at PUHSC since 2016. He also leads the University’s collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University First Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou.

KK was elected to Fellowship of Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012. He was bestowed the title of Honorary Citizen of Guangzhou Municipality in the same year for his contribution to public health research and primary care development.


Postgraduate supervision

KK has supervised over 20 doctoral students at the University of Birmingham. Important examples of publications arising from their theses include:

Li B, Pallan M, Liu WJ, Hemming K, Frew E, Lin R, Liu W, Martin J, Zanganeh M, Hurley K, Cheng KK, Adab P. The CHIRPY DRAGON intervention in preventing obesity in Chinese primary-school--aged children: A cluster-randomised controlled trial. PLoS Med. 2019 Nov 26;16(11):e1002971. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002971. (this was one of the largest trials on obesity prevention in children in China).

Yuan M, Lu M, Guo Y, Lam KBH, Lu J, He J, Shen S, Wei D, Thomas GN, Cheng KK, Qiu X; BIGCS Study Group. Timing of Infant Formula Introduction in Relation to Body Mass Index and Overweight at Ages 1 And 3 Years: the Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study (BIGCS). Br J Nutr. 2022 Mar 10:1-29. doi: 10.1017/S000711452200071X. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35264258.

Yao M, Zhang DY, Fan JT, Lin K, Haroon S, Jackson D, Li H, Chen W, Cheng KK, Lehman R. The experiences of people with type 2 diabetes in communicating with general practitioners in China - a primary care focus group study. BMC Prim Care. 2022 Feb 3;23(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12875-022-01632-y.

Jokhio AH, Winter HR, Cheng KK. An intervention involving traditional birth attendants and perinatal and maternal mortality in Pakistan. N Engl J Med. 2005;352:2091-9. (This was one of the first research papers from Pakistan published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In helping to bring about a change of emphasis from a solely health centre one to multiple delivery approaches (i.e. in communities as well as health facilities), the findings have contributed towards the strategies towards two Millenium Development Goals.)

Yin P, Jiang CQ,  Cheng KK, Lam TH, Lam KL, Miller MR, Zhang WS, Thomas NG, Adab P. Passive smoking exposure and risk of COPD among adults in China: The Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. Lancet 2007; 370:751-7. (selected by the International Advisory Board of The Lancet as one of the research papers worldwide “that make the greatest potential contribution to clinical research” in 2007.)

Aveyard P, Cheng KK, Almond J, Sherratt E, Lancashire R, Lawrence T, Griffin C, Evans O. Cluster randomised controlled trial of expert system based on the transtheoretical (“stages of change”) model for smoking prevention and cessation in schools. British Medical Journal 1999; 319:948-53. (This was the first fast track article published by the British Medical Journal since its establishment in 1840. The paper has played a major role in the practice of smoking prevention in schools in this country and further afield.)


Cancer and Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Clinical Trials, Primary Care Research

Other activities

KK is the Academic Lead of the University’s project to develop a centre in Guangzhou in collaboration with the Guangzhou Municipal Government.

He is also active in primary care in China. As the lead member on health on the British Government's China Task Force, he has developed collaboration between the UK China in primary care. He founded the Department of General Practice at Peking University Health Science Center in May 2011 and is Honorary Head and Professor.

KK is Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine, UK Health Security Agency. He also holds an Honorary Chair at the University of Hong Kong.



Prevention and control of cancer and chronic disease; the development of primary healthcare and general practitioner training in China


Epidemiology, prevention and control of important non-communicable diseases