Chair in Health Services Research and Philosophy

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Office Address
Health Sciences Building
Foresterhill Campus
AB25 2ZD

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School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


I am Professor of Health Services Research and Philosophy with academic homes in both the Health Services Research Unit (Institute of Applied Health Sciences) on the University's Foresterhill campus and Philosophy (School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History) on the Old Aberdeen campus.

My research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary. Broadly speaking, I use philosophy and social research to understand and address concerns about quality, ethics and social justice in health care, public health and (more recently) funeral provision and work with the dead and bereaved. I am particularly interested in what are sometimes called person-centred approaches to service provision - you might prefer to talk about the humanity in health and social care provision. I often use feminist theorising and a relational capabilities approach to human wellbeing in my work. 

I've had the privilege of working in, and visiting, a number of universities internationally, gravitating back to the University of Aberdeen each time with an extended range of valued colleagues and learning. 


  • BA (hons) Natural Sciences and Theology 
    1986 - University of Cambridge 
  • MSc Information Science (Distinction)  
    1990 - City University, London 
  • MA Philosophy (Distinction) 
    2008 - The Open University 
  • PhD Information Science 
    1994 - City University, London 

External Memberships

Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore (2020-2024)

Visiting Research Fellow, University of South Australia (2024)

International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (Joint Co-ordinator, 2016-2020; Advisory Board Member ongoing)

Editorial board member for: 

Asian Bioethics Review

Health Care Analysis

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics


Latest Publications

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Public Health (2018)


Research Overview

I use social research and practical philosophy to help understand what matters for 'good' public health, healthcare and care of the dead and bereaved, and to consider how policy and practice  should be developed in those domains. I seek to take seriously the plurality of values, diversity of perspectives, complexity of social relationships and demands of social justice.  

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Applied Health Sciences, Philosophy.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me

Applied Health Sciences

Accepting PhDs


Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Ethics
  • Feminism
  • Health and Social Care

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

I am currently working on two major projects:

'But why is that better?' explores what applied philosophy and ethics can contribute to healthcare improvement. This is a collaboration with Professor Alan Cribb and Dr Polly Mitchell of King's College London. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust until November 2024. The project webpage is at .

Developing the foundations for a Centre (currently 'in development') for Interdisciplinary Death Studies. This  broad project initiative builds from the collaboration and learning that for me were initiated with the ESRC funded project 'Developing practical ethics of care for the dead and bereaved' examines what we can learn from the disruption and development of funeral practices during COVID-19. One of the main outputs from that project was the Care in Funerals Casebook - an online resource to support reflection and discussion of values and practical and ethical challenges in funeral provision ( ). Developmental work for the Centre includes fostering internal and external network development and supporting grant writing.  



Current projects

In addition to the two major funded projects listed above, I am currently working with: 

Dr YEW Tong Wei, Prof TAI E Shyong (National University of Singapore). Qualitative study of health professionals' experiences of Care and Support Planning; broader discussions of person-centred care. 

Mr Devanand ANANTHAM (PhD candidate), Dr VOO Teck Chuan (National University of Singapore). Doctoral supervision: Doctor-patient partnerships: the key to a better standard of medical advice? 

Mrs Lindsay OLIVER and Mr Nicholas LEWIS-BARNED (Year of Care Partnerships), Dr Becky HAINES (GP), Prof Alan CRIBB (King's College London) and Dr Sharon MCCANN (University of Aberdeen). Care and Support Planning via telephone and internet. 

Dr Mikey Dunn and Prof Emi Kiyota (National University of Singapore). Conceptual and ethical analysis of co-creation in the context of the Queenstown Health District initiative. 


Teaching Responsibilities

For Academic Year 2023-24 my main teaching commitments are:

Lecturer for PU5056/5062 Key Concepts in Global Health (covering human rights, justice and ethics in global health)

Lecturer for PH1522 How Should One Live? (covering feminist approaches to ethics, and the capability approach)

Lecturer for AY1505 Death! (covering Funerals and COVID-19: learning from disruption)

Lecturer for PH2542 Philosophy and Society (covering philosophy of quality and philosophy healthcare improvement)

Supervisor for PH354p Philosophy Honours Research Project


Project and dissertation supervision:

I will be very happy to discuss supervision possibilities with postgraduate students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in pursuing questions relating to questions about quality in healthcare and deathcare provision, and/or ethics and social justice in domains relating to health, wellbeing and death. I particularly welcome inquiries from people who want to work with feminist approaches and/or to draw on a capability approach.

I also contribute to the supervision of philosophy honours projects relating to ethics and/or feminist philosophy.   


Previous teaching:

For Academic Year 2022-23 my main teaching commitments were:

Course co-ordinator and academic lead for PU5528 – Values and Ethics in Public Health

This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences.

Lecturer for PH1522: How Should We Live?

For this level 1 course, I contribute introductions to Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.  

Supervisor for PH354p: Philosophy honours research project and PH402D: Philosophy Dissertation

Lecturer for PH5066: Philosophy and society 

Lecturer for PH5568: Impact and engagement

Supervisor for PH5067: Readings in Philosophy and Society and PH5905 Philosophy and Society Dissertation

These Masters level (level 5) courses are part of the MLitt in Philosophy and Society.


For Academic Year 2021-22 my main teaching commitments were:

Lecturer for PH1522: How Should We Live?

For this level 1 course, I contribute introductions to Virtue Ethics, Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.  

Lecturer for Ph5568: Impact and engagement

This Masters level (level 5) course is part of the MLitt in Philosophy and Society.

Supervisor for PH5067 – Readings in Philosophy and Society

This Masters level (level 5) course is part of the MLitt in Philosophy and Society.

Supervisor for PH402D – Philosophy Dissertation

Academic lead for Weeks 1-6 for PU5528 – Values and Ethics in Public Health

This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences. (Please note the course co-ordinator for AY2021-22 is Dr Samantha Donnelly)


For Academic Year 2020-21 my main teaching commitments were: 

Course co-ordinator for PU5528: Values and ethics in public health

This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences. 

Lecturer for PH1522: how should we live? 

This level 1 course is co-ordinated by Professor Beth Lord. I contributed introductions to Virtue Ethics, Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.   

Lecturer for PH306D: contemporary research topics in philosophy

This level 3 course is co-ordinated by Dr Luca Moretti. I contributed teaching on various questions relating to Trust, and on the use of Thought Experiments to examine ethical issues. 



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  • Developing information materials to present the findings of technology assessments to consumers: The experience of the NHS centre for reviews and dissemination

    Entwistle, V., Watt, I., Davis, H., Dickson, R., Pickard, D., Rosser, J.
    International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 47-70
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Disseminating information about healthcare effectiveness: A survey of consumer health information services

    Entwistle, V., Watt, I.
    Quality in Health Care, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 124-129
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Evaluating interventions to promote patient involvement in decision-making: By what criteria should effectiveness be judged?

    Entwistle, V., Sowden, A., Watt, I.
    Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 100-107
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Supporting consumer involvement in decision making: What constitutes quality in consumer health information?

    Entwistle, V., Sheldon, T., Sowden, A., Watt, I.
    International Journal for Quality in Health Care, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 425-437
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Media coverage of the child B case

    Entwistle, V., Watt, I., Bradbury, R., Pehl, L.
    British Medical Journal, vol. 312, no. 7046, pp. 1587-1591
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • A systematic review of the effectiveness of health service interventions aimed at reducing inequalities in health

    Arblaster, L., Lambert, M., Entwistle, V., Forster, M., Fullerton, D., Sheldon, T., Watt, I.
    Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 93-103
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Informed choice for users of health services: views on ultrasonography leaflets of women in early pregnancy, midwives, and ultrasonographers

    Oliver, S., Rajan, L., Turner, H., Oakley, A., Entwistle, V., Watt, I., Sheldon, T. A., Rosser, J.
    BMJ (Clinical research ed.), vol. 313, no. 7067, pp. 1251-3
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Reporting research in medical journals and newspapers

    Entwistle, V.
    British Medical Journal, vol. 310, no. 6984, pp. 920-923
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Health and medical coverage in the UK national press

    Entwistle, V., Hancock-Beaulieu, M.
    Public Understanding of Science, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 367-382
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
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