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


Ongoing projects are 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


Odland, ML, Payne, C, Witham, MD, Siedner, MJ, Bärnighausen, T, Buontogo, M, Coulibaly, B, Geldsetzer, P, Harling, G, Manne-Goehler, J, Ouermi, L, Sie, A & Davies, J 2020, 'The epidemiology of multimorbidity in conditions of extreme poverty: a population-based study of older adults in rural Burkina Faso', BMJ Global Health.

Seiglie , JA, Marcus , M-E, Ebert, C, Prodromidis , N, Geldsetzer, P, Theilmann, M, Agoudavi, K, Andall-Brereton, G, Aryal, KK, Bicaba, BW, Bovet, P, Brian, G, Dorobantu, M, Gathecha, G, Singh Gurung, M, Guwatudde, D, Msaidie, M, Houehanou, C, Houinato, D, Jorgensen, JMA, Kagaruki, GB, Karki, KB, Labadarios, D, Martins, JS, Mayige, MT, McClure, RW, Mwangi, JK, Mwalim, O, Norov, B, Quesnel-Crooks, S, Silver, BK, Sturua, L, Tsabedze, L, Wesseh, CS, Stokes, A, Atun, R, Davies, J, Vollmer, S, Bärnighausen, TW, Jaacks, LM, Meigs , JB, Wexler , DJ & Manne-Goehler, J 2020, 'Diabetes prevalence and its relationship with education, wealth, and body mass index in twenty-nine low- and middle-income countries', Diabetes Care.

Whitaker, J, Nepogodiev, D, Leather, A & Davies, J 2019, 'Assessing barriers to quality trauma care in low and middle-income countries: A Delphi study', Injury.

McKenzie, BL, Santos, JA, Geldsetzer, P, Davies, J, Manne-Goehler, J, Singh Gurung, M, Sturua, L, Gathecha, G, Aryal, KK, Tsabedze, L, Andall-Brereton, G, Bärnighausen, T, Atun, R, Vollmer, S, Woodward, M, Jaacks, LM & Webster, J 2019, 'Evaluation of sex differences in dietary behaviours and their relationship with cardiovascular risk factors: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative surveys in seven low- and middle-income countries', Nutrition Journal.

Onen , BL, Harris, C, Ignatowicz, A, Davies, J, Drouvelis, M, Howes, A, Nkomazana, O, Lukwiya Onen, C, Sapey, E, Tsima, B & Lasserson, D 2019, 'Ageing, frailty and resilience in Botswana: rapid ageing, rapid change. Findings from a national working group meeting and literature review', BMC Proceedings, vol. 13, no. Suppl 10, 8.

Blackstock, S, Witham, MD, Wade, AN, Crampin, A, Beran, D, Ogle, GD & Davies, JI 2019, 'Ability of verbal autopsy data to detect deaths due to uncontrolled hyperglycaemia: testing existing methods and development and validation of a novel weighted score', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 10, e026331, pp. 1-8.

Witham, MD, Davies, J, Bärnighausen, T, Bountogo, M, Manne-Goehler, J, Payne, CF, Ouermi, L, Sie, A, Siedner, MJ & Harling, G 2019, 'Frailty and physical performance in the context of extreme poverty: a population-based study of older adults in rural Burkina Faso', Wellcome Open Research, vol. 4, 135.

Global PaedSurg Research Collaboration & Davies, J 2019, 'Management and outcomes of gastrointestinal congenital anomalies in low, middle and high income countries: protocol for a multicentre, international, prospective cohort study', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 8, pp. e030452.

Bischops, AC, Manne-Goehler, J, Jaacks, LM, Awasthi, A, Theilmann, M, Davies, J, Atun, R, Bärnighausen, T, Vollmer, S & Geldsetzer, P 2019, 'The prevalence of concurrently raised blood glucose and blood pressure in India: a cross-sectional study of 2,035,662 adults', Journal of Hypertension, vol. 37, no. 9, pp. 1822–1831.

Geldsetzer, P, Manne-Goehler, J, Marcus , M-E, Ebert, C, Zhumadilov, Z, Wesseh, CS, Tsabedze, L, Supiyev , A, Sturua, L, Bahendeka, SK, Sibai , AM, Quesnel-Crooks, S, Norov, B, Mwangi, JK, Mwalim, O, McClure, RW, Mayige, MT, Martins, JS, Lunet, N, Labadarios, D, Karki, KB, Kagaruki, GB, Jorgensen , JMA, Hwalla , NC, Houinato, D, Houehanou, C, Msaidie, M, Guwatudde, D, Singh Gurung, M, Gathecha, G, Dorobantu, M, Damasceno , A, Bovet, P, Bicaba, BW, Aryal, KK, Andall-Brereton, G, Agoudavi, K, Stokes, A, Davies, J, Bärnighausen, T, Atun, R, Vollmer, S & Jaacks, LM 2019, 'The state of hypertension care in 44 low- and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of individual-level nationally representative data from 1.1 million adults', The Lancet, vol. 394, no. 10199, pp. 652-662.

Oni, T, Mogo, E, Ahmed, A & Davies, JI 2019, 'Breaking down the silos of Universal Health Coverage: towards systems for the primary prevention of non-communicable diseases in Africa', BMJ Global Health, vol. 4, no. 4, e001717.

Whitaker , J, Denning, M, O’Donohoe, N, Poenaru, D, Guadagno, E, Leather , A & Davies, J 2019, 'Assessing trauma care health systems in low- and middle-income countries, a protocol for a systematic literature review and narrative synthesis', Systematic Reviews, vol. 8, 157.

Edem , I, Dare, A, Byass, P, D’Ambruoso , L, Kahn, K, Leather , A, Tollman, SM, Whitaker , J & Davies, J 2019, 'External injuries, trauma and avoidable deaths in Agincourt, South Africa: a retrospective observational and qualitative study', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 6, e027576.

NIHR Global Health Research Uniton Global Surgery, Nepogodiev, D, Davies, J, Glasbey, J, Lilford, R, Morton, D & Bhangu, A 2019, 'Quality and outcomes in global cancer surgery: protocol for a multicentre, international, prospective cohort study (GlobalSurg 3)', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 5, e026646.

Prenissl, J, Jaacks, LM, Mohan, V, Manne-Goehler, J, Davies, J, Awasthi, A, Bischops, AC, Atun, R, Bärnighausen, T, Vollmer, S & Geldsetzer, P 2019, 'Variation in health system performance for managing diabetes among states in India: a cross-sectional study of individuals aged 15 to 49 years', BMC medicine, vol. 17, 92 .

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