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Professor Tony Gatrell


Tony Gatrell

Furness Building



Tel: +44 1524 594823

Research overview

I am a geographer by training and my research interests lie in the geography of health and ‘medical geography’. In brief, this means looking at the connections between space, place and health. More specifically, I have interests in: the geographical dimensions of health inequalities; spatial epidemiology; and the geography of health care provision. More recently I have become interested in the links between movement and health, including walking and well-being. Some of this work has been summarised in my latest book, on ‘Mobilities and Health’ (Ashgate, 2011). I have been pleased to collaborate with many health professionals in the past, including those working in: palliative care; public health; neurology; cardiology; and paediatrics.



PhD supervision

Geography of health, including:

geographical epidemiology

health inequalities

environmental change and health

mobility and health

Research Interests

I have been interested for some time in ‘mobilities’ and health; in essence the relationships between different forms of movement and health and wellbeing. This covers, for example, different modes of travel (whether on foot, by cycle, car, train or air) and migration and health.  Such flows can have positive and negative consequences for health. For example, walking can be therapeutic but this depends on the context of the walk. Journeys by train can be very enjoyable and thereby contribute to wellbeing, but not if the train is crowded or seriously delayed. Migration might find people living in a healthier environment, but not if the relocation is forced on them by other circumstances. Yet ‘mobilities’ includes other forms of movement; for example, the spread (diffusion) of infections and disease, and the delivery of health care on the move and in virtual environments.

I have also undertaken research recently on the geographical dimensions of palliative care provision, working with a former research student, Justin Wood, on the provision of specialist adult hospices in England. This has used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map and analyse access to services and to relate this to spatial variation in service provision.

I remain interested in geographical aspects of health inequalities and in the socio-spatial theorising underlying these. I continue to be fascinated by the work of Pierre Bourdieu in this regard.

My methodological interests are quite broad. While I have undertaken research using GIS and spatial data analysis I am sympathetic to a range of approaches to the geography of health. As ever, the research problem or questions dictate the methods!

Current Teaching

Currently I am supervising two students on the Doctorate in Public Health.  I give a lecture at the Summer Academy on Geographical Information Systems and health applications.

Additional Information

I am currently (and until July 2014) Dean of the Faculty of Health & Medicine (FHM) at Lancaster University. Prior to my appointment as Dean of FHM I was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (2005-08). I am also Professor of the Geography of Health at Lancaster University, and was for eight years Director of the Institute for Health Research (IHR).

 As Dean I am a member of the University’s senior management team (University Management Advisory Group: UMAG). Externally, I am a Board member of the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and represent the University on the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA).

I hold a First Class Honours degree in Geography from Bristol University and a PhD from Pennsylvania State University, where I was awarded a Fulbright graduate student Fellowship. I am the author of ‘Geographies of Health: an Introduction’ (second edition, 2009, published by John Wiley, third edition in progress, with Susan Elliott) and author or editor of four other books: Mobilities & Health; GIS and Health; Interactive Spatial Data Analysis; and Distance and Space. I was presented with the Murchison Award from the Royal Geographical Society in 2008 for my contributions to the geography of health.



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