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 provide evidence to improve child health and wellbeing in the population, and thereby reduce the population burden from poor health. I lead a team of researchers in the Child Health Unit with funding support from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Programme Development Grants and fellowships and charities.

It has expanded to become one of the UKs leading research groups on primary care of children. Our methodological strengths include analysis of large routinely collected health and social care data sets and surveys, evidence synthesis, consensus methods for evaluation of practice and policy. Founding principles of my research are its relevance in addressing priorities for children and families, a multidisciplinary approach to the pursuit of knowledge and timely translation into practice and policy. I am also committed to building academic capacity in child health and primary care. 

I co lead the 'Harnessing data to improve Children and Young People’s Health' for the National School for Public Health Research (SPHR). I have established several on going collaborations nationally and internationally with the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Project and through my role as Vice President of the European Public Health Association’s (EUPHA), Child and Adolescent Section. I have continued clinical practice as an inner city GP in London since 1995. I also support research  as Panel Member for NIHR Doctoral Fellowships, as member of the BMJ International Advisory Board. I also support early career researchers through 1 to 1 mentoring programmes such as the Oxford Initiative for Primary Care Research Leadership.  I am also a practising GP in Putney. 

Research areas

1. Improving primary care quality for children

This NIHR funded work programme uses clinical electronic records to identify how to improve the  management of chronic conditions diagnosed in childhood including asthma, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease

2. Child obesity and early cardiovascular risk

This work stream explores ways of tackling excess weight in children. The PROMISE programme-( Paediatric Research in Obesity Multi-modal Intervention and Service Evaluation  NIHR funded grant in collaboration with UCL/ LSHTM) enabled the largest evaluation of the UK National Childhood Measurement Programme (NCMP) in England and piloting of web based tools to help clinicians to assess growth and guide weight management in children. My US collaboration with Professor Arch Mainous III (University of Florida, U.S.) and Harvard University explores health system approaches to reduce disparities in cardiovascular disease

3. Reducing the burden of infectious illness in children

This theme examines how preventive primary care and antibiotic treatment impacts on infectious illness in children. Current themes are focused on exploring ways of optimising antibiotic prescribing in primary care by developing and validating prescribing rules.

Selected publications

Improving primary care quality for children

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

Giuliani S, Cecil EV, Apelt N, Sharland M, Saxena S. Pediatric Emergency Appendectomy and 30-Day Postoperative Outcomes in District General Hospitals and Specialist Pediatric Surgical Centers in England, April 2001 to March 2012: Retrospective Cohort Study. Annals of Surgery 2015;(1528-1140)

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 

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

Chatu S,  Saxena S, Subramanian V, Curcin V, Yadegarfar G, Gunn L et al. The Impact of Timing and Duration of Thiopurine Treatment on First Intestinal Resection in Crohn's Disease: National UK Population-Based Study 1989 to 2010. Am J Gastroenterol 2014

Cecil E, Bottle A, Sharland M,  Saxena S. Have contractual changes in primary care affected unplanned short stay childhood admissions in England? National time trends study 2001-11. The Lancet 2013; 382:S3

Child obesity and early cardiovascular risk

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.

Jones Nielsen JD, Laverty AA, Millett C, Mainous III AG, Majeed A, Saxena S. Rising Obesity-Related Hospital Admissions among Children and Young People in England: National Time Trends Study. PloS One 2013.

Mainous III AG, Johnson SP, Saxena S,. Inpatient bariatric surgery among eligible black and white men and women in the United States, 1999-2010. Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108(8):1218-1223.

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.

Reducing the burden of infectious illness in children

Bielicki Sharland Saxena S et al. Not too little, not too much: What approach is best for oral antibiotic dose selection for children?" BMJ 2015 351 h5447

Lau WC, Murray M, Saxena S et al. Impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on childhood otitis media in the United Kingdom. Vaccine 2015;(1873-2518 ).

Saxena S, Ismael Z, Murray ML, Barker C, Wong ICK, Sharland M, Long PFet al., 2014, Oral penicillin prescribing for children in the UK: a comparison with BNF for Children age-band recommendations, British Jourrnal of General Practice Vol: 64, Pages: E217-E222, ISSN: 0960-1643



Mainous AG, Saxena S, de Rochars VMB, et al., 2020, COVID-19 highlights health promotion and chronic disease prevention amid health disparities, British Journal of General Practice, ISSN:0960-1643

Blackwell J, Saxena S, Jayasooriya N, et 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

Saxena S, Skirrow H, Bedford H, 2020, Routine vaccination during covid-19 pandemic response., Bmj, Vol:369

Ruzangi J, Blair M, Cecil E, et al., 2020, Trends in healthcare use in children aged less than 15 years; a population-based cohort study in England from 2007 to 2017, Bmj Open, Vol:10, ISSN:2044-6055

James SL, Castle CD, Dingels ZV, et al., 2020, Global injury morbidity and mortality from 1990 to 2017: results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, Injury Prevention, ISSN:1353-8047

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