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Personal profile

Research interests

  • Food and eating practices
  • Public health nutrition / malnutrition / obesity
  • Children, young people, families, older people 
  • Social inequalities

Teaching specialisms

  • Social science approaches / theories
  • Qualitative and visual research methods
  • Mixed methods
  • Survey design

Commercial and public engagement

CRIPACC is committed to engaging with a range of research users - from members of the general public, charities and third sector organisations plus local and national NHS and Local Authority Stakeholders, to ensure that our research reaches those who can use it to help improve the health and care of the public.  Wendy works with organisations that support children, families and older people to access nutritious, safe and socially acceptable food.  Public engagement is an integral part of Wendy's approach and that of everyone within CRIPACC.



Professor Wendy Wills is the Director of the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) and the Associate Dean (Research) for the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire.

Wendy became the Director of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) for the East of England in October 2022, having previously led their Prevention and Early Detection in Health and Social Care (PEDHSC) theme.

The Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care is a world renowned for its inter-and multi-disciplinary research on older people's health and complex conditions; health, young people and family lives; public health and communities research; and patient experience and public involvement in research.

Wendy's personal research focuses on the socio-economic determinants of health and wellbeing particularly in relation to obesity, food practices and malnutrition; she has a particular interest in how inequalities are experienced by different population groups.

Wendy has directed several major research grants, including for the ESRC and Food Standards Agency, and is a founding member of hte UK's Malnutrition Awareness and Prevention Network with other national stakeholders and academics working in the field of nutrition for potentially vulnerable communities.  Wendy was previously joint Chief Investigator for the NIHR Connect Public Health Intervention Response Studies Team (PHIRST), which aims to co-produce research and evaluation for local authorities across the UK.


LinkedIn profile


Links to websites, films and an educational board game relating to Wendy’s research and public engagement activities:

https://youtu.be/aCFN0xEMcjg - launched during the UK's first Malnutrition Awareness week in 2018 this film shows the importance of social interactions when food shopping

http://www.foodinlaterlifegame.co.uk/- this board game was developed with a UH proof of concept grant in collaboration with Focus Games; it is aimed at training people/groups who support older people to remain nourished and well.  

https://www.herts.ac.uk/research/informing-public-policy/food-and-public-health - public policy briefings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHqYzixQZrA&feature=youtu.be - this short film, funded by a UH research grant, brings to life our research on food and drink purchasing 'beyond the school gate'.


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Award Date: 1 Apr 2003

External positions

Director, NIHR - Applied Research Collaboration - East of England (ARC-EoE)

1 Oct 2022 → …


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