Vikki is Professor of Health Services Research and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.

Vikki has spent much of her academic career working on questions relating to health care quality. After completing undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, and an MSc and PhD in Information Science at City University, London, in the mid-1990s she joined the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York, where she helped to pioneer the development of research-based information resources to help patients and health professionals consider the effectiveness of different healthcare options. This work led her to recognise a need for judgements of effectiveness to better reflect patients’ perspectives, and start to raise and tackle questions about patients’ involvement in both treatment decision-making and research agenda setting.

An interest in patient involvement and different perspectives on healthcare quality has persisted throughout Vikki’s career, which has included periods at the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee, as well as a Harkness Fellowship based at Harvard School of Public Health. Qualitative studies of patients’ experiences and perspectives illuminated for Vikki important shortfalls in some prevailing ways of thinking about practitioner-patient relationships and patients’ participation in healthcare quality and improvement. She undertook an MA in Philosophy with the Open University to help strengthen her conceptual and ethical contributions to health services research. Vikki’s relatively recent work includes the use of relational theorising about autonomy and a capabilities approach to thinking about quality of life to help develop accounts of ‘shared decision-making’ and ‘support for self-management’ that better reflect the social complexity of, and value plurality within, contemporary healthcare.

Vikki is currently working on a Wellcome Trust project ‘But why is that better?’ considering what applied philosophy and ethics can bring to healthcare quality improvement.


Twitter: @entwistlev