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Observations BMJ Confidential

Ann Louise Kinmonth: Linking the social and biological

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 01 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j362


Ann Louise Kinmonth, 66, describes herself as a “specialist generalist.” Foundation professor (now emeritus) of general practice and fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, in her research she tackles questions arising at interfaces between disciplines (especially behaviour, social science, and biology), between prevention and management, and between practitioner and patient centred care, all of which helped in developing early Medical Research Council guidance on trials of complex interventions. She has championed academic training in primary care, particularly mentoring of younger academic women in medicine, and she advocates wholehearted commitment to action—“It’s no good fiddling about at the margins.” She admits, however, to having deliberately deepened her voice to be better heard as the only woman at a table of grey suits at the council of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Success and failure are only a fingernail apart, she believes, so it’s best not to make too much fuss about either.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a spy. I prepared a complicated set of papers and had accomplices and an enemy called Jackanore. I wore a spy jacket, with invisible ink pens and syringes …

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