BICOM Partners
University College London

Short biography Trisha Greenhalgh

Trisha Greenhalgh has a first degree in social sciences and a second degree in medicine. She began her medical career working in diabetes research in a laboratory but soon learnt that diabetes is best investigated and treated in the community. Diabetes disproportionately affects older people, poor people, the socially excluded, and minority ethnic groups. Effective diabetes care requires lifestyle changes (giving up smoking, following a healthy diet, taking exercise) that are often presented as contemporary white middle class choices (e.g. going to the gym). However, the traditional lifestyle of many ethnic minority groups is also very healthy - based on a simple diet of rice and vegetables, and physical labour that promotes 'sweating'. In inner London, two-thirds of medical consultations for diabetes take place across a language barrier. The main barriers to effective diabetes care are poverty, low health literacy, poor communication, social and cultural distance between doctor and patient, and inaccessibility of services. Diabetes care is thus a 'paradigm case' for the exploration of interpreted and cross-cultural consultations.

Trish is currently Professor of Primary Health Care at University College London. She is leading a number of research programmes on the general theme of culturally competent health care, including three randomised controlled trials (of yoga in diabetes, a new smoking cessation strategy based on advice by healthcare assistants, and group-based storytelling in five different ethnic languages). She is also leading a large qualitative study of the experience of interpreted consultations.

Trisha Greenhalgh Professor of Primary Health Care
University College London
403 Holborn Union Building Highgate Hill
London N19 5LW

Phone 020 7288 3246
Fax 020 7281 8004

University College London