University of Minnesota

Michael Marmot, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Born: 1945

After graduating from the University of Sydney, Marmot’s early experiences as a physician in Australia shaped his thinking about medicine and the importance of prevention as he repeatedly “saw the same patients for the same cardiac and respiratory complaints” and began to question whether medicine was simply failed prevention.

Peter Harvey, a pulmonologist who had participated in migrant studies in New Zealand, recognized Marmot’s interest and in 1970 steered him to Berkeley’s PhD program in epidemiology with Len Syme. There Marmot participated in the NIHONSAN migrant study comparing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and mortality among mainland Japanese and immigrants in San Francisco and Honolulu.

Under Syme’s guidance Marmot investigated not only diet and environment, but also psychosocial factors. At University College London, Marmot applied this experience to the Whitehall Studies I and II and in his analysis found an inverse relationship between status and heart disease. He has devoted his career to the study of health disparities and the psychosocial factors that contribute to them, in particular, the relationship between cardiovascular diseases and the social environment.

In 2000, Marmot was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his many years of service to epidemiology and the study of health disparities, and he remains active academically and in policy issues. Marmot is Director of the International Centre for Health and Society and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. (HB)

Please click here for a description of the Whitehall I Study, and here for a description of the Whitehall II Study.


Oral history with Henry Blackburn, July 11, 2002.

University College London, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Staff Pages, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, retrieved August 11, 2004.

Kriesler, Harry. 2002. Redefining Public Health: Epidemiology and Social Stratification. Conversation with Sir Michael Marmot [online]. Originally broadcast March 18, 2002. Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Radiation Effects Research Foundation, “Ni-Hon-San Cardiovascular Study,” retrieved September 1, 2004.

Related Content

Oral Histories

Study Synopses