Observations BMJ Confidential

Anne Johnson: A niche in population health

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1095 (Published 08 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1095


Anne Johnson, 63, rocketed to national prominence in 1990 as the leader of a nationwide sex survey that earned the disapprobation of the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. With public funding banned, only the Wellcome Trust’s backing saved the survey.

Since repeated twice, the survey provided the groundwork for many sexual health initiatives such as chlamydia screening and HPV vaccination—as well as showing, in its most recent iteration, that UK women are now more likely than men to have same sex relationships.

Johnson is professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London, has served on numerous advisory committees, chaired the recent AMS Working Group on the health of the public in 2040, and was appointed a DBE in 2013.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be able to ice dance in a short frock and tights: I thought it the height of elegance and sophistication. But I had to stick to algebra.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Mike Adler, professor of genitourinary medicine at the Middlesex …

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