Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Professor of Primary Care



+44 (0)20 7594 0839s.saxena




332Reynolds BuildingCharing Cross Campus





My research aims to improve child health and well being in the population. I am Head of the Imperial Child Health Unit, among the UK's leading research groups for primary care of children. We use large data sets from health and social care to generate science and drive changes in practice and policy for child health

My work is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Programme Development Grants and fellowships and charities. I co-lead the 'Harnessing data to improve Children and Young People’s Health' for the  National School for Public Health Research (SPHR). Locally, I lead the Child Population Health Theme for the NIHR Northwest London Applied Research Collaboration. I have strong links with international partners including the Global Burden of Disease Collaborators and in my elected role as President, Child and Adolescent Health Section of the European Public Health Association

I enjoy mentoring postgraduate students and early career researchers to build academic capacity in primary care and public health. I teach medical undergraduates and lead the Child Health Specialisation module on the Imperial  Online Global Masters in Public Health. I am committed to widening academic opportunities through outreach, structural reforms and mentoring eg Oxford International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme. I have been a practising inner city GP in London since 1995. 

Principal research areas:

Preventive primary care for young children and families

  • Impact of preventive primary care on vaccine preventable disease 
  • Effects of primary care health policy on children's access to healthcare
  • Early years pathways to persistent asthma in adolescence

Obesity prevention and improving health & well being in schools

  • Uptake, physical activity and equity of The Daily Mile in primary schools 
  • Core outcome sets for school based physical activity interventions
  • IMprOVE cohort study; evaluating children's physical activity health and wellbeing in primary school  

Improving health of children and young people

  • Impact of contraceptive practice and policy on contraception and abortion
  • Transitional care in inflammatory bowel disease
  • Improving quality and outcomes of asthma care for young people

Selected publications

Preventive primary care for young children and families

Global, regional, and national under-5 mortality, adult mortality, age-specific mortality, and life expectancy, 1970-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet 2017;390:1084-1150.

Ma R, Cecil E, Bottle A, French R, Saxena Set al., 2020, Impact of a pay-for-performance scheme for long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) advice on contraceptive uptake and abortion in British primary care: An interrupted time series studyPLoS Medicine, Vol: 17, Pages: e1003333-e1003333, ISSN: 1549-1277

Cecil Cowling, T, Bottle A, Wolfe I, Majeed A,  Saxena S Access to primary care, visits to emergency departments and unplanned short stay hospital admissions: a cross sectional analysis of children in England 2016 Pediatrics Vol: 137, ISSN: 0031-4005

Cecil E, Bottle A, Sharland M, Saxena S. Impact of UK Primary Care Policy Reforms on Short-Stay Unplanned Hospital Admissions for Children With Primary Care-Sensitive Conditions. Annals of Family Medicine 2015; 1544-1717 

Saxena S, Atchison C, Cecil E, Sharland M, Koshy E, Bottle A. Additive impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on pneumonia and empyema hospital admissions in England. J Infect. 2015.

Obesity prevention and improving health and wellbeing in schools

Venkatraman T, Honeyford K, Costelloe C, Ram B, van Sluijs EMF, Viner R, Saxena Set al.Sociodemographic profiles, educational attainment and physical activity associated with The Daily Mile™ registration in primary schools in England – a national cross-sectional linkage studyJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ISSN: 0143-005X

Laverty AA, Magee L, Monteiro CA, Saxena S, Millett C et al., 2015, Sugar and artificially sweetened beverage consumption and adiposity changes: National longitudinal study, Int J Behav Nut and Physical Activity Vol: 12, ISSN: 1479-5868

Black JA, Park M, Gregson J, Falconer CL, White B, Kessel A, Saxena S et al. Child obesity cut-offs as derived from parental perceptions: cross-sectional questionnaire. Br J Gen Practice 2015 ;1478-5242.

Post RE, Mainous AG, Gregorie SH, Knoll ME, Diaz VA, Saxena S. The Influence of Physician Acknowledgment of Patients' Weight Status on Patient Perceptions of Overweight and Obesity in the United States. JAMA Int Med 2011; 171(4):316-321.

Improving health of adolescents and young people 

Blackwell J, Saxena S, Jayasooriya N, Bottle A, Petersen I, Hotopf M, Alexakis C, Pollok RCet al., 2020, Prevalence and duration of gastrointestinal symptoms before diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and predictors of timely specialist review: a population-based study,Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, ISSN: 1873-9946

Chhaya V, Pollok RC, Cecil E, Subramanian V, Curcin V, Majeed A Saxena S. Impact of early thiopurines on surgery in 2770 children and young people diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease: a national population-based study. Aliment Pharmacol Therapeutics 2015; 1365-2036

Chatu S, Subramanian V,  Saxena S, Pollok RC. The Role of Thiopurines in Reducing the Need for Surgical Resection in Crohn's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Am J Gastroenterol 2014; 109(1):23-34



Hargreaves D, Hanna J, Grinspan ZM, et al., 2021, Our health-care system is failing young people with epilepsy., Lancet Neurol, Vol:20, Pages:26-27

Blackwell J, Saxena S, Jayasooriya N, et al., 2020, Stoma formation in Crohn's Disease and the likelihood of antidepressant use: a population-based cohort study., Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol

Smith HC, Saxena S, Petersen I, 2020, Postnatal checks and primary care consultations in the year following childbirth: an observational cohort study of 309 573 women in the UK, 2006-2016., Bmj Open, Vol:10

Greenfield G, Blair M, Aylin P, et al., 2020, Characteristics of frequent paediatric users of emergency departments in England: an observational study using routine national data, Emergency Medicine Journal, ISSN:1472-0205

Creese H-M, Taylor-Robinson D, Saglani S, et al., 2020, Primary care of children and young people with asthma during the Covid-19 era, British Journal of General Practice, Vol:70, ISSN:0960-1643, Pages:528-529

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