Professor Justine Davies

Professor Justine Davies

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Global Health

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Justine’s driver is to do research that informs development of health systems that deliver quality care in lower and middle income countries, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, projects that she works on all have a health system question in mind. 

The overall aim of her research is to provide the evidence to inform where health systems need to develop in order to serve the needs of their populations. This involves looking at the health of the population and the health system that serves them from many different angles; from epidemiological, qualitative, systems-readiness, and economic perspectives. Justine also does implementation science research in order to study real-world solutions to identified gaps. The specialty areas that Justine is interested in are in conditions that require surgery to treat and cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors. Both of these specialty areas require a joined-up health system that provides good quality care.


Justine has previously been a practising physician in the field of cardiovascular diseases and trained as a clinical pharmacologist in the area of cardiovascular disease risk factors. As a clinical pharmacologist she ran early stage clinical trials of medications to reduce cardiovascular risk. 

Recognising the necessity to put human health in the context of the planet on which we live, Justine took time out to study for a Zoology degree, after which she honed her interest in Global Health and research excellence whilst working at the Lancet Journals. She worked as an executive editor at The Lancet and latterly as Editor in Chief of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. She returned to full time academia in the field of Global Health in December 2016 and has worked at Wits University in South Africa and KCL since then.  

Experience at The Lancet Journals has developed a keen sense of what is an impactful research question and how to answer this with methodological rigour. 

Justine also has a love of writing and communicating science to non-scientists. She has thus done work as a freelance journalist and worked at the BBC.

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising 3 PhD projects at KCL:

  • Global surgery
  • Paediatric surgery
  • Access to care for trauma


Ageing Frailty and Resilience theme at the Institute for Global Innovation

The aim of this project is to guide policy and research thinking to better match the needs of older people across the world, both removing obstacles to healthy ageing and protecting what matters most to them. 


The aim of this project is to identify barriers in access to quality care for people who have been injured in lower and middle income countries, in particular Ghana, South Africa, and Rwanda.

Funded by the NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research (130036) and the Institute for Global Health Innovation at the University of Birmingham.

Ongoing projects in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia: 

Implementation science to Improve Quality Surgery Care in a tertiary referral hospital (NIHR funded)

  • Sierra Leone:

Burden of, barriers to access to care for, and consequences of Cardiovascular Diseases Risk Factor in Sierra Leone (Wellcome Trust funded)

  • Malawi:

Burden of peripheral vascular disease amongst high risk people living in Malawi (MRC/KCL funded)

  • Burkina Faso: 

Burden of and consequences of multimorbidity in a population in Nouna (Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation funded)

  • South Africa, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya

Burden and consequences of cardiovascular disease risk factors across four African Countries (part of the AWIGEN collaboration)

Other activities

  • Independent expert advisor to WHO on Global Surgery
  • Consultant on NCDs with MSF


Recent publications


Whitaker , J, O’Donohoe, N, Denning, M, Poenaru, D, Guadagno, E, Leather , AJM & Davies, J 2021, 'Assessing trauma care systems in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and evidence synthesis mapping the Three Delays framework to injury health system assessments', BMJ Global Health, vol. 6, no. 5, e004324.

Teufel , F, Seiglie , JA, Geldsetzer, P, Theilmann, M, Marcus , M-E, Ebert, C, Lopez Arboleda , WA, Agoudavi, K, Andall-Brereton, G, Aryal, KK, Brian, G, Bovet, P, Dorobantu, M, Singh Gurung, M, Guwatudde, D, Houehanou, C, Houinato, D, Jorgensen, JMA, Kagaruki, GB, Karki, KB, Labadarios, D, Martins, JS, Mayige, MT, McClure, RW, Mwangi, JK, Mwalim, O, Norov, B, Crooks , S, Farzadfar, F, Moghaddam, SS, Silver, BK, Sturua, L, Wesseh, CS, Stokes, A, Essien , UR, Neve , J-WDPG, Atun, R, Davies, J, Vollmer, S, Bärnighausen, TW, Ali, MK, Meigs , JB, Wexler , DJ & Manne-Goehler, J 2021, 'Body mass index and diabetes risk in fifty-seven low- and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative individual-level data', The Lancet, pp. 238-248.

Peiris, D, Ghosh, A, Manne-Goehler, J, Jaacks, LM, Theilmann, M, Marcus , M-E, Zhumadilov, Z, Tsabedze, L, Supiyev , A, Silver, BK, Sibai , AM, Norov, B, Mayige, MT, Martins, JS, Lunet, N, Labadarios, D, Jorgensen, JMA, Houehanou, C, Guwatudde, D, Singh Gurung, M, Damasceno , A, Aryal, KK, Andall-Brereton, G, Agoudavi, K, McKenzie, BL, Webster, J, Atun, R, Bärnighausen, T, Vollmer, S, Davies, J & Geldsetzer, P 2021, 'Cardiovascular disease risk profile and management practices in 45 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross sectional study of nationally representative individual-level survey data', PLoS Medicine, vol. 18, no. 3, e1003485.

Barker, FJ, Davies, J, Gomez-Olive, FX, Kahn, K, Matthews, FE, Payne, CF, Salomon, JA, Tollman, SM, Wade, AN, Walker, RW & Witham, MD 2021, 'Developing and evaluating a Frailty Index for older South Africans – findings from the HAALSI study', Age and Ageing.

Whitaker , J, Chirwa , L, Munthali , B, Dube , A, Amoah , AS, Leather , AJM & Davies, J 2021, 'Development and use of clinical vignettes to assess injury care quality in Northern Malawi', Injury.

Basu, S, Flood, D, Geldsetzer, P, Theilmann, M, Marcus , M-E, Ebert, C, Mayige, MT, Wong-McClure, R, Farzadfar, F, Moghaddam, SS, Agoudavi, K, Norov, B, Houehanou, C, Andall-Brereton, G, Singh Gurung, M, Brian, G, Bovet, P, Martins, JS, Atun, R, Bärnighausen, T, Vollmer, S, Manne-Goehler, J & Davies, J 2021, 'Estimated effect of increased diagnosis, treatment, and control of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risk factors among low-income and middle-income countries: a microsimulation model', Lancet Global Health.

Wagner, RG, Crowther, NJ, Micklesfield, LK, Boua, R, Nonterah, EA, Mashinya, F, Mohamed, SF, Asiki, G, Tollman, SM, Ramsay, M & Davies, J 2021, 'Estimating the burden of cardiovascular risk in community dwellers over 40 years old in South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Ghana', BMJ Global Health, vol. 6, no. 1, e003499. bmjgh-2020-003499

Basu, S, Brown, C, Beran, D, Flood, D, Seigle, J, Manne-Goehler, J, Mezhrahid, J, Yudkin, JS, Davies, J, Lipska, KJ, Sibai , AM, Houehanou, C, Labadarios, D, Farzadfar, F, Aryal, KK, Marcus , M-E, Mayige, MT, Theilmann, M, Geldsetzer, P, Atun, R, Moghaddam, SS, Vollmer, S, Bärnighausen, T & Domainico, P 2021, 'Expanding access to newer medicines for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus in low- and middle-income countries: a microsimulation and price target analysis', The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

GlobalSurg Collaborative and National Institute for Health Research Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery 2021, 'Global variation in postoperative mortality and complications after cancer surgery: a multicentre, prospective cohort study in 82 countries', The Lancet, vol. 397, no. 10272, pp. 387-397.

Breedt , DS, Odland, ML & Davies, J 2021, 'Identifying knowledge needed to improve surgical care in Southern Africa using a theory of change approach', BMJ Global Health, vol. 6, no. 6, e005629. bmjgh-2021-005629

Brinkmann, B, Davies, J, Witham, MD, Harling, G, Bärnighausen, T, Bountogo, M, Siedner, MJ, Ouermi, L, Junghanns, J, Boubacar , C, Sie, A, Payne, CF & Kohler, IV 2021, 'Impairment in activities of daily living and unmet need for care among older adults: a population-based study from Burkina Faso', The journals of gerontology series B: psychological sciences and social sciences, vol. 2021, no. 00, gbab041.

Brima, N, Sevdalis, N, Daoh , K, Deen, B, Kamara, T, Wurie, H, Davies, J & Leather, A 2021, 'Improving nursing documentation for surgical patients in a referral hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone: protocol for assessing feasibility of a pilot multifaceted quality improvement hybrid type project', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 7, 33.

Global PaedSurg Research Collaboration 2021, 'Mortality from gastrointestinal congenital anomalies at 264 hospitals in 74 low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries: a multicentre, international, prospective cohort study', The Lancet.

Review article

Ryan-Coker , MFD, Davies, J, Rinaldi, G, Hasselberg, M, Marke, DH, Necchi, M & Haghparast-Bidgoli, H 2021, 'Economic burden of road traffic injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review of existing literature', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 9, e048231.

Davies, J, Gelb, AW, Gore-Booth, J, Mellin-Olsen, J, Martin, J, Åkerman, C, Ameh, EA, Biccard, B, Sverre Braut , G, Chu, K, Derbew, M, Langli Ersdal, H, Guzman, JM, Hagander, L, Haylock-Loor, C, Holmer, H, Johnson, WP, Juran, S, Kassebaum, NJ, Laerdal, T, Leather, AJM, Lipnick, MS, Ljungman, D, Mwenda Makasa, EM, Meara, JG, Newton, MW, Østergaard, D, Reynolds, T, Romanzi, LJ, Santhirapala, V, Shrime, MG, Søreide, K, Steinholt, M, Suzuki, E, Varallo, JE, Visser, GHA, Watters, D & Weiser, TG 2021, 'Global surgery, obstetric, and anaesthesia indicator definitions and reporting: an Utstein consensus report', PLoS Medicine, vol. 18, no. 8, e1003749.

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