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Healthcare first for Cardiff University

08 January 2009

For immediate release

Professor Jonathon Gray has been appointed Cardiff University’s, and the UK’s only, designated Chair responsible for driving forward research in healthcare improvement and patient care.

The new position, a joint collaboration between the School of Medicine, School of Social Sciences and the Wales Centre for Health, aims to consolidate Cardiff University's reputation for healthcare research and develop a programme of world-class research in this area.

Professor Jonathon Gray said: "Cardiff University already boasts a major programme of healthcare research which is helping to shape UK and Welsh Assembly Government health policy, as well as improving health care services for patients.

"The position of Chair enables the University to improve its research capacity by linking together the School of Medicine and the School of Social Sciences. The position will provide a lead, help support policy and improve evidence-based medicine. I am particularly looking forward to developing original scientific research which could result in new initiatives to improve healthcare for Welsh patients."

With more than twenty years experience in the field of health, Professor Gray is a leading expert in healthcare improvement and innovative service development. He graduated in Medicine from Dundee University, following with a PhD in Clinical and Molecular Genetics.

A former Clinical Director for the All-Wales Medical Genetics Service and current Director of Healthcare Improvement at the Wales Centre for Health, he completed a fellowship at The Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Masters of Public Health degree from Harvard. He also gained an

Advanced Medical Leader Award from the British Association of Medical Managers. He is currently a joint Director of the 1000 Lives Campaign aimed at improving patients’ safety and healthcare quality throughout the NHS in Wales.

Professor Gray’s appointment is a multi-disciplinary position aimed at bringing together healthcare research in both the School of Medicine and the School of Social Sciences and has been welcomed by both schools.

Professor Mansel Aylward CB, Director of Unum Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, School of Psychology and Chair of the Wales Centre for Health said: "Jonathon’s appointment to the Chair in Healthcare Improvement is a powerful signal of the commitment we have in Wales to reforming the NHS and putting the patient and the achievement of high quality service delivery and patient safety at the very centre of the reforms.

"The new Chair in Healthcare Improvement is the only one of its kind in the UK. The appointment is also a well deserved recognition of Jonathon's creative role in advancing the pursuit of quality and safety in healthcare in Wales. We need talented people like Jonathon who will work at the interface of research, practice and policy development in this critically important area."

Professor Christopher Butler, Head of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Medicine, said: "This strategic appointment signals the importance of health care improvement as a growing academic discipline. Cardiff University is now well placed to develop an international profile in this arena. It also signals Cardiff University's clear and ongoing commitment to contributing to improving the quality of health care delivery in Wales, and beyond."

Professor Gareth Williams, School of Social Sciences, said: "The appointment of Professor Gray is an important initiative in the development of a more sound knowledge base for health care.

"The health services in Wales and across the UK are grappling with a range of difficult challenges including new drugs and technologies, new benefits, risks and costs, increasing numbers of older people requiring complex health and social care, chronic ill-health associated with social inequalities and changing patterns of living and issues of equity, effectiveness and efficiency.

Working alongside colleagues in the Schools of Medicine and Social Sciences, Jonathon will make an important contribution to developing research that can inform the way in which health care is delivered and help to address some of these complex problems."

Dr Donald Berwick, KBE, President of The Institute for Healthcare Improvement and clinical professor of paediatrics and health care policy at Harvard Medical School said: "Jonathon appointment to the Chair in Healthcare Improvement at Cardiff University is absolutely wonderful. He is an excellent emerging leader who will make a significant contribution not just in Wales but on the international stage. Jonathon brings a rare and valuable combination of scientific acumen and a bias toward action."



1. Cardiff School of Medicine

Cardiff University’s School of Medicine is a significant contributor to healthcare in Wales, a major provider of professional staff for the National Health Service and an international centre of excellence for research delivering substantial health benefits locally and internationally. The school’s 800 staff include 500 research and academic staff who teach more than 2,000 students, including 1,110 postgraduate students.

The School is based at the Heath Park Campus, a site it shares the University Hospital of Wales, the third largest university hospital in the UK. The School has an all-Wales role, contributing greatly to promoting, enhancing and protecting the nation’s health. A key partner in this role is the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales, with which the School is linked at all levels. This mutual dependency is illustrated by the teaching of medical undergraduates in more than 150 hospitals located in all of Wales’ health authorities.

The School is an international leader in basic and clinically applied research activities and scored highly in the most recent Government Research Assessment Exercise. School of Medicine researchers annually win tens of millions of pounds in research awards to work with Government, the healthcare industries and the charitable sector on the most pressing issues of human health. The School has six interdisciplinary research groups to draw upon its own strength in depth and the vast range of expertise available across Cardiff University.

2. School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences encompasses teaching and research in social studies and education. Within social studies, the School has research interests in five main areas: criminology and criminal justice; health and medicine, knowledge and social change; modernity (time, risk, environment); and social welfare systems. Recent research includes investigation of drug use, white collar fraud, child welfare, domestic violence and European environmental policies. Many of the staff are international experts in their fields.

The School’s education programmes are aimed at students who are interested in the psychological, social and political dimensions of education, as well as those who are vocationally-orientated. Education-related degrees are recognised by the British Psychological Society for the Graduate Basis for Registration, which provides the basis for future training in psychology-related professions. At a postgraduate level, it offers a range of research and taught Masters schemes in education, in addition to the PGCE for teaching in Further Education.

The School’s research contributions in education management and policy; psychology of education and special educational needs; and post-compulsory education and training are internationally-recognised and are the foundation of its teaching programmes. In the independent government assessment of teaching quality, the School was awarded the highest, "Excellent" rating.

3. The Wales Centre for Health

The Wales Centre for Health is an Assembly Government Sponsored Body (AGSB) established in 2005 with a commitment to improving the health by making information available, supporting the training and development of the public health workforce and enhancing the link between public health research, policy and practice. Visit

Further Information

Chris Jones
Public Relations Office
Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2087 4731