One of the country’s leading social scientists, Ann Bowling, has been appointed professor of health care for older adults at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

In her new role, Prof Bowling will continue her work on the healthcare of older people, with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of health services, improving access to these services, and improving patients’ ownership of their own care.

Prof Bowling has more than 30 years’ experience in research and teaching, and has developed a worldwide reputation for her work on how older people are catered for by health services. She has worked in public health and primary healthcare settings including St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and, most recently, the Royal Free and University College Medical School, where she was a professor of health services research.

Her recent research includes a survey on older people’s quality of life, research into how patients’ expectations of care influence their eventual experiences, and a study on the benefits of exercise for people over the age of 65. Her interests also include evaluating self-management programmes for people with long-term conditions, a field of work that is already prominent at the joint Faculty.

Funders for her projects include the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Technology Assessment programme.

Prof Bowling said of her appointment: “The themes of my work fit in very well with the work being done here, and I hope to have productive collaborations with some of my new colleagues.”

Prof Bowling, who is based at St George’s, was attracted to the role by the chance to progress her work, and the opportunity to work more closely with the local community.

“Earlier in my career I did a lot of local community research, and I really enjoyed being hands on and having contact with people. I wanted to have that kind of contact again, and being based here among such a diverse community with a range of themes will be great for that.

“You feel like you’re doing much more significant work when you’re working alongside the community and doing topical, important research that has an impact on local people. That’s very rewarding and personally satisfying.”