Professor Richard Coker
MBBS MSc MD FRCP FFPH
of Public Health
Mahidol University, 9th Floor
Satharanaukwisit Bldg, 420/1 Rajwithi Rd,
Richard Coker trained in medicine at St. Mary's Hospital, London and, in 1994, became consultant physician to the hospital and senior lecturer at Imperial College School of Medicine. His interests include communicable diseases, in particular emerging infectious diaseases, HIV, and tuberculosis, and health systems responses to disasters. In 1997, as a Harkness Fellow, he spent a year at Columbia School of Public Health in New York, USA, researching the causes and responses to the epidemic of tuberculosis that city witnessed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His book, From Chaos to Coercion: detention and the control of tuberculosis, was one of the results from this work. He subsequently worked as a Wellcome Research Associate researching public health legislative responses to infectious disease threats. In recent years he has worked in predominantly in SE Asia on public health responses to support control of infectious diseases. He joined the School in 1999 as a Research Fellow before becoming Senior Lecturer in 2001, Reader in 2005, and Professor of Public Health in 2009.
He currently heads the Communicable Diseases Policy Research Group (CDPRG; www.cdprg.org), based in Bangkok, Thailand, since 1997, which provides a focus of expertise on the diverse public health problems associated with communicable disease control in SE Asia. Notable areas of research which have received considerable attention have included health systems analysis, planning for emerging infectious diseases, analyses of strategic planning, policy analyses, the development and ranking of indicators to assess performance, and the development of models to support health system functioning (see for example: www.asiaflucap.org).
Professor Coker has taught on the Public Health MSc on 'Epidemiology', 'Issues in Public Health', and seminars in epidemiology and public health. He was previously organiser for the 'Integrating Unit in Public Health'. He now teaches on the Distance Learning programme and is developing a joint PhD programme between LSHTM and SSHSPH.
Over the past 5 years funding through grants and consultancies has been received from a variety of sources including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Open Society Institute (OSI), German Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ/GIZ), Rockefeller Foundation, government ministries of health, and industry.
Over the past decade the group's research has included a substantial multi-institutional project on TB in the Former Soviet Union. This reseach, internationally recognised, resulted in a large number of academic publications and influenced TB control policy most notably in Russia.
In recent years several research projects on analyses of pandemic influenza preparedness have received considerable international attention. The research findings have been published in highly prestigious academic journals including the Lancet and Bulletin of the World Health Organization; invited presentations have been made to G8, European Parliament, and Chief Medical Officers of Europe amongst many; and advice has been sought and provided to national governments, bilateral donors and the UN system.
The Group's current research focus is supporting preparedness for pandemic influenza in SE Asia, the likely epicenter of emerging infectious diseases including pandemic influenza, and health systems responses to disasters, and the control of tuberculosis and MDR TB. The Group has developed a research consortium including partners from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia and Singapore to analyse health systems functioning in SE Asia. The Group is also conducting clinical research on influenza in Indonesia, Cambodia and Lao PDR, and virological research in Indonesia in association with Duke-NUS, Singapore. The Group aims to support, through their collaborations, links between LSHTM and institutions in the region in order to strengthen regional research capacity in emerging infectious diseases, communicable diseases, health systems research, and disaster research.