Intended for healthcare professionals


Anthony J Hedley

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 05 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h611
  1. Jane Parry, Hong Kong
  1. jeparry{at}

Public health researcher and advocate, with a focus on air pollution and tobacco control

Less than two weeks before his death, Anthony J Hedley made a trip back to Hong Kong, where he had lived and pursued an illustrious academic career in public health from 1988 until his retirement in 2010. The purpose of the trip was to attend a forum held by the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health—an event attended by more than 350 former colleagues, students, public health professionals, and friends—in honour of his contributions to public health both globally and within Hong Kong.

Hedley returned home to the Isle of Man with an emeritus professorship from the School of Public Health to add to the many other acknowledgements he had received. These included the honorary degree of MD, presented by Thailand’s King Bhumipol Adulyadej; a World Health Organization medal for outstanding contributions to public health; and, in 2000, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Bronze Bauhinia Star.

Hedley was a public health polymath—an old-school generalist who also became a deeply knowledgeable expert on a range of issues: air pollution, tobacco control, life course epidemiology, health services research, and the control of infectious disease. As well as producing a substantial body of research across these domains, he was also a passionate advocate.

“He had a major role in ensuring that public health was recognised for its behavioural, economic, political, and advocacy dimensions,” said Richard Fielding, a former colleague and friend. “He …

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