Profile: David Phillips

David R. Phillips is Chair Professor of Social Policy and Academic Dean (Social Sciences) at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is also honorary Adjunct Professor in the Department of Human Geography at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham UK. David s research interests focus on social gerontology, social epidemiology and health and development.

David Phillips was born in the United Kingdom, and brought up and educated in Hong Kong. In 1971, he returned to the UK to take his BScEcon, majoring in Geography and Russian Studies, at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he took his first classes in medical geography, which were within a demography course. After a short stint in international banking, he returned to Swansea University to research for PhD on the location and use of general practitioner medical services. In 1978, he was appointed to the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter, where he developed courses in the geography of health and development studies amongst others. He was secretary and treasurer and subsequently chair of the Institute of British Geographers medical geography study group. In this role, he helped establish the now well-known international symposium series on medical geography. He was for eight years the chair of the International Geographical Union Commission on Health, Environment and Development, a role he relinquished in 2000.

While at Exeter, David became director of the Institute of Population Studies in 1990 and reader in health studies. The IPS specialized in research on reproductive and population health and it was the first non-clinical centre to be designated a Collaborating Centre in the WHO s Human Reproduction Programme. In 1994, he was appointed professor of human geography at the University of Nottingham, where he established a joint WHO Collaborating Centre in Spatial Health Modeling. He left Nottingham in 1997 to take an appointment as Professor of Social Policy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. There he was tasked to develop research in gerontology, and, in 1998, he established the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS). He has subsequently been at the centre of an Asian ageing research network initially sponsored by Canada s IDRC. He has been elected a Fellow of the Academia Europaea (1995) and a corresponding member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences (2008)

David has a variety of refereed publications, book chapters and some 15 books and monographs. Further details of his research and teaching can be seen on: and He is currently working on a major project consolidating work on international health transitions.

David may be contacted at

Updated: January 2009