Professor Tom Marshall MB ChB, MSc, PhD, MRGP, FFPH

Professor Tom Marshall

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

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 7832
+44 (0)121 414 7878
Primary Care Clinical Sciences
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Tom Marshall is a Professor of Public Health and Primary Care. His main medical speciality is in Public Health Medicine but he also has trained in General Practice and has studied Health Economics.

Tom has over 70 peer reviewed publications to date, over 35 as first author and a significant number as sole author. His research publications cover a number of related areas.

- Cardiovascular disease prevention and in particular organising primary care services to improve the eifficiency of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary care.

- Patient preferences in relation to taking medication to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

- The analysis of electronic primary care records to understand primary health care, prescribing and epidemiology.

- The use of statistical process control for quality improvement in health care.

- Factors influencing General Practitioner decision making in relation to cardiovascular prevention

- The use of electronic primary care records to assist earlier identification of chronic diseases including: bowel cancer, patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease; left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

Tom has contributed to local, national and international media in relation to his research, particularly in relation to prevention of cardiovascular disease.


  • Reader in Primary Care
  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health (UK), 2005
  • PhD in Public Health: An economic evaluation of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary care, University of Birmingham, 2005.
  • Member of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (UK), 1997.
  • MSc. Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 1995
  • Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners 1994.
  • MSc. Health Economics (distinction), University of York, 1992.
  • MB ChB University of Edinburgh, 1987. 


Tom Marshall graduated MB ChB from the University of Edinburgh in 1987. He undertook clinical posts in hospitals the UK, South Africa and Gibraltar where he acquired his interest in the wider determinants of health and organisation of health care systems. In 1991 he undertook a MSc Health Economics at University of York. Following this he returned to clinical medicine to complete vocational training in general practice and his MRCGP before specialising in public health medicine in Northamptonshire. During this period he completed his MSc in Public Health, obtained the MFPH and spent a total of one year (in 1996 and 1997) working for the WHO Regional Office for Europe on health care systems and health care reforms in European countries.

In 1999 Tom moved to an academic post in public health in University of Birmingham and completed his PhD: an economic evaluation of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary care. In 2003 to 2004 he spent a year as a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Policy in Harvard Medical School.

From 2005 to 2010 he was Programme Director of the University of Birmingham Master of Public Health. He currently acts as an external examiner for the Imperial College London MPH programme.

Tom’s research interests are diverse. Common themes include his interest in addressing practical and substantial health problems and a focus on primary care. In 2000 his seminal paper on the potential for taxation to influence diet achieved worldwide media coverage and has sparked a number of subsequent papers by other authors. He has published on the use of statistical process control for quality improvement in health care and for monitoring mortality rates in primary care. He has researched patients views and preferences in relation to taking drug treatments to prevent cardiovascular disease. His work on the economics of cardiovascular prevention in primary care has been influential in the 2008 NICE guidelines on lipid lowering. He has published several papers on the effects of variation in the measurement of risk factors on clinical decision making. More recent work has investigated the potential for targeted case finding of patient at high risk of cardiovascular disease using information recorded in electronic primary care records. This is being evaluated in primary care based a cluster randomised controlled trial in the West Midlands. He has also investigated using electronic primary care records for the identification of patients at high risk of suspected colorectal cancer and is interested in making greater use of electronic records to improve patient care. He is currently leading a project to link cancer registry records on colorectal cancer to electronic primary care records.

Recently he acquired a sub-licence for a large dataset of anonymised electronic primary care records (THIN: The Health Improvement Network and he is keen to undertake collaborative research using this resource.

Tom is a  a reviewer for many grant awarding bodies. He has been a member of the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit grant awarding committee and also was a member of the editorial board of the Health Technology Assessment journal. 


Postgraduate supervision

Tom currently supervises postgraduate research students investigating:

  • The use of sugar dressings for wounds
  • Pathways to teh diagnosis of heart failure
  • Psychological outcomes after Transient Ischaemic Attack and opportunities for stroke prevention
  • Evaluation of implementation of a critical care outreach programme in an Iranian hospital
  • Diagnosis and epidemiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Use of health informatics in diabetes management (completed subject to minor revisions)

He may be interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Analysis of electronic primary care records databases particularly in relation to predicting chronic diseases, service use in primary care
  • Chronic disease management
  • Analysis of factors influencing primary care prescribing decisions
  • Application of statistical process control to quality improvement in primary care
  • Applied health care research and evaluation of health service developments in primary care

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Tom on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.



Early diagnosis of cancers in primary care using electronic primary care records

Prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care

Chronic disease management in primary care

Statistical process control and quality improvement

Patient preferences in relation to preventive treatments

Factors influencing GP prescribing decisions in relation to cardiovascular prevention

The effects of measurement variation on clinical decision making

Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease


Principal Investigator: CREDIBLE (ColoRectal cancer Early Diagnosis, Information Based Local Evaluation) funded by the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) July 2011 to June 2013.

Theme lead for cardiovascular disease prevention in the NIHR funded Birmingham and Black Country Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (BBC-CLAHRC) Oct 2008 to Oct 2013.

Deputy Director of Birmingham and Black Country Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC-BBC)

Deputy Director of West Midlands CLAHRC (CLAHrC-WM) from 1st January 2014

Co-investigator on the PolyIran study – the world’s first full scale clinical trial of polypill for cardiovascular prevention. This cluster randomised controlled trial is taking place in North East Iran.

Research collaboration with Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Centre on analysis of the Isfahan Cohort Study.

Other activities

  • Honorary Consultant in Public Health in Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust
  • Chair of the Cegedim Scientific Review Committee (an electronic primary care database company).
  • Collaborative links to MSDi and Health Intelligence (software companies working with electronic primary care databases)


Nirantharakumar K, Hemming K, Narendran P, Marshall T, Coleman JJ. A prediction model for adverse outcome in hospitalized patients with diabetes Diabetes Care 2013 [In press]

Wu J, Yao GL, Zhu S, Mohammed MA. Marshall T. Patient factors influencing the prescribing of lipid lowering drugs for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in UK general practice: a national retrospective cohort study PLoS One 2013 8(7): e67611. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067611

Mohammed MA, Marshall T, Nirantharakumar K, Stevens A, Fitzmaurice D. Patterns of warfarin use in subgroups of patients with atrial fibrillation: a cross-sectional analysis of 430 general practices in the United Kingdom PLoS One. 2013 May 2;8(5):e61979. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone

Marshall T, Caley M, Hemming K, Gill P, Gale N, Jolly K. Mixed methods evaluation of targeted case finding for cardiovascular disease prevention using a stepped wedged cluster RCT BMC Public Health 2012; 12:908. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-908

Mohammed MA, Marshall T, Gill P. The Effect of Chance Variability in Blood Pressure Readings on the Decision Making of General Practitioners: An Internet-Based Case Vignette Study. PLoS ONE 2012; 7(11): e46556. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046556

Mohammed M.A., El Sayed C., Marshall T. Patient and other factors influencing the prescribing of cardiovascular prevention therapy in the general practice setting with and without nurse assessment. Medical Decision Making 2012 May-Jun;32(3):498-506.

Gale N, Greenfield S, Gill P, Gutridge K, Marshall T. Patient and general practitioner attitudes to taking medication to prevent cardiovascular disease after receiving detailed information on risks and benefits of treatment: a qualitative study BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:59doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-59.

Marshall T, Lancashire R, Sharp D, Peters TJ, Cheng KK, Hamilton W. The diagnostic performance of scoring systems to identify symptomatic colorectal cancer compared to current referral guidance Gut 2011 Sep;60(9):1242-8. Epub 2011 Feb 25


Prevention of heart disease