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Department's academic awarded OBE in New Year’s honours

Posted on 4 January 2023

Professor Kate Pickett has been awarded an OBE for Services to Societal Equality in the New Year’s Honours list.

Professor Pickett is a social epidemiologist, specialising in research into the social determinants of health and health inequalities, particularly child development.

As Professor of Epidemiology in the University’s Department of Health Sciences, her recent work has documented how health inequalities in the North of England have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Professor Pickett and her husband, Professor Richard Wilkinson, founded The Equality Trust which works to improve the quality of life by reducing socio-economic inequality through campaigning for change. 

Spirit Level

With Professor Wilkinson, she co-authored the best-selling books The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (2009) and The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone's Well-being (2018).

Professor Pickett is York’s academic lead for the Born in Bradford study, which tracks the lives of Bradford residents to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families. The 'Age of Wonder' project, which launched earlier this year, will build on this work to capture the journeys of 30,000 Bradford schoolchildren from adolescence to adulthood.

She is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health and Associate Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity, all at the University of York.

Public good

She is a Fellow of The Royal Society for Arts, a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and earlier this year she was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Pickett said: “I am so pleased to be honoured for my work researching and promoting societal equality, and I’m proud to be doing this work in a University that has public good at the heart of its vision and strategy.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with amazing colleagues at the University of York and the Bradford Institute of Health Research, and with many other researchers across the world.

“I want to thank them all for their support and tireless work for public health and social justice, with a special thanks to my colleague, co-author and husband, Richard Wilkinson, for inspiring and encouraging me.”


Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “Kate is an outstanding academic whose contribution to a fairer society is exceptional and an inspiration to us all.

“Her passion is working in partnership with communities to understand and address inequalities, helping to provide solutions for policy makers and the public alike.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her tireless commitment to reducing inequality and to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”