After completing a B.Sc in Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Surrey in 1971, I began a Ph.D in Philosophy with David Hamlyn at Birkbeck College, University of London.
A year later, in pursuit of a more stable income, I switched disciplines and colleges and signed up for a Ph.D in Sociology with George Brown at Bedford College, University of London. In less pressurized times, I knocked off my Ph.D – on the stigma experienced by adults with epilepsy living in the community – in a dozen years. I had become, it seemed, a medical sociologist (although I continue to regard myself as a sociologist who happens to write mostly about health).
My first lecturing post was at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School from 1972-5, followed by another at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School from 1978-87, at which point the Middlesex HMS was swallowed whole by UCL. Progressing slowly through the academic gears I was eventually appointed Professor of Medical Sociology at UCL in 2001. I was Visiting Professor of Sociology at Emory University in 1998 and remain an Adjunct Professor in its Department of Sociology. I was London Director of a ‘Comparative Health Care’ summer programme for Emory undergraduate students from 1976-2011. In 2010 I was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, UK.
On my retirement in 2013 I became Emeritus Professor of Sociology at UCL.