Ben Walker
Teaching Fellow



BA (Cambridge), MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (York)

Ben has worked on the history of global health, Africa, religion and development. He recently passed his doctorate at the University of York and is currently working on projects on Faith-Based Organisations and global health in Africa, especially exploring how Africans have been active agents in shaping the world rather than seeing them simplistically as passive recipients of development aid. He is currently working within the Centre for Global Health History, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre at the University of York, to promote a better understanding of religion and health history in international contexts, such as with WHO and the World Council of Churches (WCC). He also is passionate about seeing improved health outcomes and capacity development in sub-Saharan Africa and has worked on governmental-level projects such as regarding sustainable community development following the Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2013 and 2014.



Ben's research is focused on providing a new historical framework for twentieth-century international health and development, in ways that are not determined by the Cold War, the postwar growth of the international community or by imperial powers working in their former colonies. He has analysed the emergence and growth of national and international health in Africa, specifically in Ghana between 1919 and 1983. He has examined how healthcare in Africa was formed through local and global interests, funding and denominational cultures of medical missionaries in coordination with international organisations and national governments. His work has broken new ground in showing how there was rapid growth in healthcare in Ghana as a result of Catholic medical mission funded by West German and Dutch Catholic aid, combined with patient fees, government contributions and support from international organisations. In doing so, Ben has furthered the historiographies of international health, development, colonial and postcolonial governance and medical mission, by creating fresh analytical categories. This work was completed during his doctoral research funded by the Wellcome Trust. It was made possible by discovering, analysing and comparing rich but neglected archival stores, together with interviews of participants in Africa and across the world. He has worked in research in Accra (Ghana), Aachen (Germany), Nijmegen (Netherlands), Washington DC (USA), John Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore (Baltimore), Philadelphia (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), Rome (Italy) and across the UK.



Contact details

Dr Ben Walker
Teaching Fellow
Vanbrugh College V/N/205 (Fridays 15:30-16:30 only)
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 2967, External (01904) 322967

Student hours