Karen Lock


of Public Health

Room 147

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

I have an eclectic background. I studied clinical medicine at the University of Oxford, and am a consultant in public health medicine in the UK NHS (I hold the post of Honorary Consultant at Public Health England). I have also studied for an MA in environmental geography at the University of California (Los Angeles) and an MSc and PhD in public health at LSHTM.


Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


Centre for Global Chronic Conditions


I am involved with development and delivery of the MSc Public Health as public health stream advisor. I currently teach on two core MSc modules; Issues in Public Health (term 1) and Principles and Practice of Public Health (term 3). I supervise the research of Masters, DRPH and PhD students and welcome enquiries from any prospective research students.

In addition, I am one of the Educational Supervisors on the London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex NHS Public Health Training Scheme, and supervise professional public health training at LSHTM. I hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching for Higher Education (LSHTM).


I co-lead a 10 year funded research programme focusing on UK public health as part of the NIHR School of Public Health Research (SPHR@L).  My current research focuses on upstream determinants of diseases, and in particular evaluation of place-based public health policies at local government level.

I have worked with colleagues at LSHTM and collaborations worldwide developing methods to measure contextual environmental determinants of diet, alcohol, physical activity and cardiovascular disease in a range of urban and rural populations in countries at all stages of economic development. In the UK, this research looks at what factors produce 'healthy' neighbourhoods and how this can be operationalised through local government polices such as planning and licencing. We have been involved in using novel evaluation methods including applying systems evaluation methods to public health practice.

I have been involved for a number of years in highlighting the important linkages between food and health, both in research and policy. Currently this work focuses on researching local food systems in local communities, and exploring what levers are effective in creating healthier food environments.

My previous food research has included exploring the potential impacts of adopting healthier diets for NCDs on agricultural production and trade, especially as a member of the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), an innovative programme to link agriculture and health research for international development. I have previously been involved in a number of food and agriculture policy processes. During 2007-9, I was an expert contributor to the European Commission DG Agri during development of new policy for school fruit and vegetable schemes as part of FV sector reform (SFS). I was a member of the World Bank Global Design and Writing Team for the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) which was adopted at an intergovernmental meeting in April 2008, and have provided input to two UK Government Foresight Assessments including that on 'Tackling Obesity: Future Choices' which was undertaken in 2006-7, and 'Global Food and Farming Futures' in 2010.

My early research focused on estimating the global burden of disease due to low intake of fruit and vegetables, and I have also contributed to systematic reviews on the effectiveness of interventions and programmes promoting fruit and vegetable intake worldwide.

Research Area
Complex interventions
Health inequalities
Health policy
Research : policy relationship
Social and structural determinants of health
Evidence use
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease
Non-communicable diseases
United Kingdom

Selected Publications

Detention and the evolving threat of tuberculosis: evidence, ethics, and law.
Coker R; Thomas M; Lock K; Martin R
The Journal of law, medicine & ethics
Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review.
McGill E; Er V; Penney T; Egan M; White M; Meier P; Whitehead M; Lock K; Anderson de Cuevas R; Smith R
Social Science & Medicine
Media representations of opposition to the 'junk food advertising ban' on the Transport for London (TfL) network: A thematic content analysis of UK news and trade press.
Thompson C; Clary C; Er V; Adams J; Boyland E; Burgoine T; Cornelsen L; de Vocht F; Egan M; Lake AA
SSM - Population Health
Sociodemographic differences in self-reported exposure to high fat, salt and sugar food and drink advertising: a cross-sectional analysis of 2019 UK panel data.
Yau A; Adams J; Boyland EJ; Burgoine T; Cornelsen L; de Vocht F; Egan M; Er V; Lake AA; Lock K
BMJ open
Policy Process And Non-State Actors' Influence On The 2014 Mexican Soda Tax
Carriedo A; Lock K; Hawkins B
Health Policy and Planning
'The opportunity to have their say'? Identifying mechanisms of community engagement in local alcohol decision-making.
Reynolds J; McGrath M; Halliday E; Ogden M; Hare S; Smolar M; Lafortune L; Lock K; Popay J; Cook P
The International journal on drug policy
NIHR SPHR Guidance on Systems Approaches to Local Public Health Evaluation. Part 1: Introducing systems thinking.
Egan M; McGill E; Penney T; Anderson de Cuevas R; Er V; Orton L; Lock K; Popay J; Savona N; Cummins S
NIHR SPHR Guidance on Systems Approaches to Local Public Health Evaluation. Part 1: Introducing systems thinking.
Identifying opportunities for engaging the 'community' in local alcohol decision-making: A literature review and synthesis.
McGrath M; Reynolds J; Smolar M; Hare S; Ogden M; Popay J; Lock K; Cook P; Egan M
The International journal on drug policy
See more Publications