Karl Atkin
Head of Department



Karl Atkin holds a personal chair and is the Head of Department. He is a medical sociologist with a background in doing qualitative research in multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse settings. His work has a particular focus on understanding the social consequences of various long standing, chronic conditions, including sickle cell and thalassaemia disorders.

In November 2015 Karl received the award of Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences (FAcSS). 


  • DPhil, The Production of Health and Social Care, University of York
  • BA (Hons) Sociology (CNAA), Class 2i, City of Birmingham Polytechnic

Departmental roles

  • Head of Department
  • Chair of Departmental Management Team
  • Member of Training and Professional Development Committee

University roles

  • Member of Faculty of Sciences Board
  • Member of University Equality and Diversity Committee (University Council)
  • Member of Facuty of Science Executive Board



Karl's research interests include long standing chronic conditions, ethnicity and health and qualitative methodologies.

Karl is an experienced PhD supervisor and would welcome new students with an interest in health care in multi-cultural societies, as well as the social experience of long standing chronic and disabling conditions, including the role of family care and service support.


Research group(s)



  • Contributor to "Individual and Public Health"



Full publications list

External activities


  • 2016-ongoing: National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Post Doctoral Fellowships Board
  • 2015-ongoing: Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) (elected member).
  • 2010-2016: National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Public Health Research Board
  • 2005-2012: Chair of Public Outreach sub-committee, National Screening Committee (NHS) for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia
  • 2010-2014: Scientific Advisor, UK Thalassaemia Society

Editorial duties

  • 2014-ongoing: Managing Editor, Standards of Care for Adults with Sickle Cell Disease (Department of Health/Sickle Cell Society)
  • 2009-2015 Managing Editor, Ethnicity and Health (Routledge Press)

Invited talks and conferences

  • ​Ethical dilemmas and social consequences​: Genetic Screening​ ​during Pregnancy and Afterwards​, invited talk University of Third Age (Uo3A)​, York, 21 November 2015.
  • The (in)visability of choice in genetic screening and the consequences for how we understand sickle cell disease, invited talk, (En)countering Invisibility: Critical perspectives of disease, health advocacy and equity, Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland, 4 to 6 November 2015.
  • Invited workshop on the 'The pholosophical origins of qualitate research', by the International Institute of Qualitative Methodologies, Manchester, March 2015
  • John Snow's York and his contribution to public health. A public lecture to the Ricall Historical Society, April 2015.
  • Yornight: Presentation and walking tour (with Professor Steven Oliver) on 'John Snow's York and his contributionto public health, September 2014
  • Diagnosing risk in pregnancy: to what extent do mother's exercise choice when making decisions about genetic testing?’ presented as part of ESRC seminar series, The Role of Diagnosis in Health and Well ​​being, held at University of York on Monday 27 January 2014.

Contact details

Prof. Karl Atkin
Head of Department

Tel: 01904 32(1355)