Dr Derek Ward MPH MD FFPH

Derek Ward

Institute of Applied Health Research
Reader in Public Health and Medical Education

Contact details

Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Derek Ward is a Reader in Public Health and Medical Education and holds an honorary contract with Public Health England. He teaches on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and he has a particular interest in medical education, selection and assessment.

Currently, Derek leads the popular Master’s in Public Health (MPH) programme, co-leads the intercalated Public Health and Population Sciences BMedSc programme and is the Senior Admissions Tutor for the MBChB/Medicine programme.

Previously, Derek has held roles as the Director of Education for the Institute of Applied Health Research and Co-Director of the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre. He maintains an interest in the development, introduction and assessment of novel health technologies.

Derek is also Chair of Examiners for the UK Faculty of Public Health Diploma examination, a member of a NICE Technology Appraisal committee and External Examiner at another UK institution.



  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health 2007
  • Member of the Faculty of Public Health 2004
  • MD, University of Bristol, 2002
  • MPH, University of Birmingham, 2001
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, MRCP(UK), 1996
  • MBChB, University of Bristol, 1993
  • BSc (Hons) in Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Bristol, 1990


Derek Ward qualified from the University of Bristol in 1993 and completed his MRCP(UK) in 1996. After this, he gained a research post in environmental epidemiology, working on a large air pollution panel study that led to a number of publications and his MD in 2002.

Derek began specialist Public Health training in the West Midlands in 1999. His training included time at the University of Birmingham, where he worked on health technology assessments, including a systematic review of behavioural interventions to reduce sexually transmitted infections and a collaboration with the National Prescribing Centre on new drug monographs. Derek was appointed a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for the Health Protection Agency West Midlands in 2005 where he held lead roles for healthcare acquired infections and sexual health and HIV.

In January 2010, Derek was appointed Deputy Director (subsequently Co-Director) of the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research & Intelligence Centre, where he developed a particular interest in new and emerging pharmaceuticals.

Since 2017, Derek has developed an interest in medical education and now takes an academic lead on admissions for the University of Birmingham MBChB course. He leads the popular MPH programme, jointly leads the intercalated Public Health and Population Sciences BMedSc programme. He teaches and supervises students across a broad range of programmes relevant to Public Health.


Postgraduate supervision

Derek is available to supervise postgraduate students in any area related to his research or professional interests.


Derek Ward maintains a broad range of research interests, in particular relating to medical education and the introduction of novel health technologies.

He is currently involved in projects that explore the relationship between burden of disease and innovation in health technologies (pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, and procedures) in developed world health systems; identifying and characterising trends in pharmaceutical innovation rates and cost inflation across different disease areas; the accuracy of methods used to predict the future of health services; the development and commercialisation of new point of care tests; and the changing evidence requirements for the introduction of new technologies.

Research groups and centres

SHarPS: Student Healthcare Professionals Study

Other activities

  • Chair of Examiners for the UK Faculty of Public Health Diploma examination (DFPH) since June 2019 (previously an examiner from October 2010 and Deputy Chair from January 2017).
  • Member of NICE Technology Appraisal Committee C (from August 2017).
  • Honorary Public Health Academic Consultant with Public Health England (from November 2012).

Previously Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with the Health Protection Agency West Midlands East Health Protection Unit, based in Birmingham (March 2005 to December 2009).


I Harris, H McNeilly, H Benamer, D Ward, A Sitch, J Parry. Factors affecting consultant attitudes to undertaking undergraduate medical student teaching in the UK: a systematic review. BMJ Open 2020; 11: e042653

DJ Ward, L Doos, A Stevens. Trends in the costs of drugs launched in the UK between 1981 and 2015: an analysis of the launch prices of drugs in five disease areas. BMJ Open 2019; 9: e027625

L Doos, C Packer, DJ Ward, S Simpson, A Stevens. Past speculations of future health technologies: a description of technologies predicted in 15 forecasting studies 1986-2010. BMJ Open 2017; 7: e016206

L Doos, DJ Ward, A Stevens, C Packer. Accuracy of pharmaceutical company licensing predictions: projected versus actual licensing dates. Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research 2016; 7(2): 117-122

LC Dixon,DJ Ward, J Smith, S Holmes, R Mahadeva. New and emerging technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A horizon scanning review. Chronic Respiratory Disease 2016; 13(4): 321-326 doi: 10.1177/1479972316636994

L Doos, C Packer, DJ Ward,S Simpson, A Stevens. Past speculations of the future: a review of the methods used for forecasting emerging health technologies. BMJ Open 2016; 6: e010479

DJ Ward, E Hammond, L Linden-Phillips, AJ Stevens. Trends in clinical development timeframes for antiviral drugs launched in the UK, 1981–2014: a retrospective observational study. BMJ Open 2015;5:e009333. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009333

J Smith, D J Ward, M Michaelides, AT Moore, S Simpson. New and emerging technologies for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases: a horizon scanning review. Eye 2015; 29: 1131-40. doi:10.1038/eye.2015.115

DJ Ward, A Slade, T Genus, OI Martino, AJ Stevens. How innovative are new drugs launched in the UK? A retrospective study of new drugs listed in the British National Formulary (BNF) 2001–2012. BMJ Open 2014; 4:e006235. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006235

DJ Ward, OI Martino, C Packer, S Simpson, AJ Stevens. Burden of disease, research funding and innovation in the UK: Do new health technologies reflect research inputs and need? Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 2013;18(Suppl. 1):7-13

DJ Ward, OI Martino, S Simpson, AJ Stevens. Decline in new drug launches: myth or reality? Retrospective observational study using 30 years of data from the UK. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002088. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002088

OI Martino, DJ Ward, C Packer, S Simpson, A Stevens. Innovation and burden of disease: retrospective observational study of new and emerging health technologies reported by the EuroScan network from 2000 to 2009.  Value in Health2012; 15: 376-380.

A Tayo, J Ellis, L Linden Phillips, S Simpson, DJ Ward. Emerging point of care tests for influenza: innovation or status quo. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 2011; 2012 6(4): 291–298.

DJ Ward, B Rowe, H Pattison, RS Taylor, KW Radcliffe. Reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections in genitourinary medicine clinic patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of behavioural interventions. Sex Transm Inf2005;81(5):386-393

DJ Wardand JG Ayres. Particulate air pollution and panel studies in children: a systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine2004; 61(4): e13 (12 pages)

DJ Ward, KT Roberts, N Jones, RM Harrison, JG Ayres, S Hussain and S Walters. Effects of daily variation in outdoor particulates and ambient acid species in normal and asthmatic children. Thorax2002; 57: 489-502

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