Professor David Coggon

Professor David Coggon OBE, MA, PhD, DM, FRCP, FFOM, FFPH, FMedSci           Emeritus Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Prof David CoggonDavid Coggon studied mathematics and medical sciences at the University of Cambridge before graduating in clinical medicine from the University of Oxford in 1976.  Following SHO and registrar appointments in internal medicine at the City Hospital Nottingham, he joined the newly formed MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit in Southampton in 1980.  There he completed a PhD on occupational cancer under the supervision of Professor Donald Acheson, and trained as specialist in occupational medicine.

He continued to work for the MRC in Southampton throughout his career, conducting epidemiological research mainly on the inter-relationship of work and health, and on environmental causes of disease.  Notable discoveries included a previously unrecognised hazard of infectious lobar pneumonia in workers exposed to metal fume, demonstration that farmers experience substantially elevated risk of hip osteoarthritis (from heavy lifting), and contributions to the recognition of occupational kneeling as a cause of knee osteoarthritis.

In parallel with his research, he was much involved in the translation of science into policy, serving on numerous national and international scientific advisory committees, including the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, Depleted Uranium Oversight Board and Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (all of which he chaired); the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (for which he was awarded an OBE in 2002); and the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards, Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, and Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation.

As President of the UK Faculty of Occupational Medicine during 2008-11, he initiated a new national accreditation scheme for occupational health services.

In 2014, he became the first Director of the Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work.

Since retiring from paid employment at the end of 2015, Professor Coggon has continued with his research in a part-time emeritus role, focusing particularly on the contribution of culturally determined health beliefs and expectations to disability from back pain and other common musculoskeletal complaints.  He is also a Trustee of the Colt Foundation, which is the largest non-governmental funder of occupational health research in the UK.