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Catherine Pope

Professor of Medical Sociology


Catherine Pope is Professor of Medical Sociology, and Associate Head of Department for People, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.  She is also a senior research fellow at Green Templeton College, an NIHR Senior Investigator (since 2020) and was made Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2016.

An internationally recognised researcher and teacher, Catherine spent thirty years working in Higher Education in London, Leicester, Bristol and Southampton, before moving to Oxford in July 2019. She is co-lead with John Powell, of the MSc Applied Digital Health and also teaches on Oxford Qualitative Courses and the MSc Translational Health Sciences programmes. 

Catherine is an expert in qualitative and mixed methods for applied health research, and a key contributor to developing methods for evidence synthesis. She has published empirical, theoretical, and methodological work, including over 200 peer reviewed journal and conference papers for clinical, sociological, policy and practitioner audiences.  She is co-editor of ‘Pope and Mays’ Qualitative research in health care (4th edition Oxford: Wiley 2020, Japanese translation, 2001; Portuguese translations, 2005, 2007). She is co-author of Organisational innovation in health services: lessons from the NHS treatment centres (2011, Bristol: Palgrave) and Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health evidence (2007, Buckingham: Open University Press, translated into Japanese in 2009).

Catherine’s current programme of research includes projects about

  • access to General Practice (GP SUS)

  • the relationship between waiting and social disadvantage in Emergency Care (ED Waits)

  • urgent care and triage and assessment, including NHS 111

  • a programme of work developing and co-producing better models of care for people with fibromyalgia (PACFIND, funded by Versus Arthritis and led by colleagues in the University of Aberdeen)

  • a programme looking at machine learning and models to inform management of multimorbidity (COMPUTE)

  • Stroke (OPTIMIST and SAMUEL2) looking at a new life saving surgical and medical interventions for stroke and how services and practice may need to be reconfigured to deliver it. 

Her research interests encompass organisational change in health care, service delivery and reconfiguration, workforce and work in health services, and the impact of digital and Web technologies on health care and services.

She is a past editor of Sociology, a world-leading, international journal of the British Sociological Association, Associate Editor for the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy.

Catherine does not have capacity to supervise additional DPhils for 2024/25 but is happy to hear from prospective DPhil students interested in doing sociologically-informed studies of primary health care work and professions, and those wanting to explore how organisational change and digital innovations are implemented in the NHS, in future years. Catherine also offers mentoring to early career researchers from non-traditional or disadvantaged backgrounds, including those from minority ethnic communities, who want to develop careers in health services research/medical sociology.