Tom Barker

Tom Barker

Senior Health & Nutrition Convenor

Tom Barker is Senior Health Convenor in the Health and Nutrition Cluster of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK.

Tom has 20 years of experience working in knowledge brokering, research communication, policy engagement, and parliamentary influencing in the UK health, global health and international development policy arenas. Tom collaborates with partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and at regional and global levels on projects funded by the likes of UK NIHR, GCRF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Tom was previously a strategic communications advisor to The Lancet Global Health Commission on Financing Primary Health Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. From 2016 to 2021, Tom was also the Communications Manager for the Health Systems Global health policy and systems research and practice network with more than 1,600 members in over 110 countries. He was previously the Policy Influence and Research Uptake Manager for the UK DFID-funded Future Health Systems research consortium.

Tom’s previous experience includes managing a research knowledge brokering network for the UK NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme; facilitating engagements with the UK Parliament and Whitehall for the NHS Confederation, a membership body for UK NHS organisations; and running the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health.



Mutual Learning for Mixed Health Systems

The Mutual Learning for Mixed Health Systems platform supports and encourages experimental learning processes to build consensus on socially desirable, equity-led policies and actions for the management of change in pluralist health systems. The platform is a growing partnership, so far...


The NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

The NIHR Global Health Research Unit (GHRU) on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people affected by three highly neglected conditions in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Sudan. In the current phase of the project, IDS is working with partners in these three...



Unlocking youth voices on health and wellbeing: experiences from London

Young people’s voices are often left out from policy conversations about health and wellbeing. We might wrongly assume that young people are healthier, with lower burdens of chronic disease compared to average adults in London. However, young people are increasingly facing challenges to...

Yasmin Dosanjh & 5 others

5 December 2023


Tackling neglected diseases for health equity and social justice

For World NTD Day (30 January), Professor Gail Davey, looks at why it is crucial that we act now and together to end NTDs and says that NTD programmes can no longer be considered in isolation from endemic country health systems. Gail is Co-Director of the IDS-partnered NIHR 5S Foundation, which...

Gail Davey

30 January 2023



Towards Digital Transformation for Universal Health Coverage

The Covid-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the need to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and affordable health services. The very rapid shift to the use of smartphone apps and telephone consultations (telemedicine) has highlighted the potential impact of digital innovations on the...

Gerald Bloom
Gerald Bloom & 6 others

1 June 2023


Global framework on people-centred and integrated health services

FHS Stories of Change 8

Future Health Systems research into empowering communities to demand and shape health services has informed the development of a WHO strategy on service delivery. The strategy reflects a paradigm shift towards an increased emphasis on preventive public health, as well as curative strategies, to...

Sara Bennett

10 October 2018

Tom Barker’s recent work


The agony of the night: stories of neglect and stigma from scabies

Belsti, Merhatsedik and Hailemariam live in Gojjam, northwestern Ethiopia. They share a similar agony: at night, a constant itch that overwhelms them; in the day, widespread rashes and sores that lead them to be insulted and ignored by people around them.   Many people affected by scabies –...

15 March 2023

Past Event

Matters of Scale and Integration in Digital Health Ecosystems

This digital dialogue session will explore some of the emerging lessons for strengthening integrations of digital technologies into health services at scale and sustainability beyond Covid in mixed health systems. The aim of the discussion is to explore the role of government in facilitating a...

28 February 2022