UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Professor Helen Bedford

Professor Helen Bedford

Professor of Children's Health

Population, Policy & Practice Dept

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Joined UCL
1st Apr 2002

Research summary

Helen's research programme focusses on a variety of child health issues. However, her main  research focus is childhood immunisation particularly the determinants of vaccine uptake. She has  conducted studies among parents and health professionals and used data based on the  Millennium Cohort study. This research has informed national and local policy and practice.

Helen is chair of the Personal Child Health Record group. This multi-disciplinary group is hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and oversees the development and content of the National Standard PCHR or red book. The red book is issued to parents for all new babies in the UK. Helen has also led studies looking at parents' use and views of the PCHR. In her capacity as chair of the PCHR committee, she was invited to join the RCPCH group convened to develop new growth charts based on data gathered by the World Health Organization. These charts (UK-WHO) were launched in 2009. Helen is a member of the editorial group of Health For All Children 5.

Teaching summary

Helen is a director of the MSc in Paediatrics and Child Health based at UCL Institute of Child Health. She organises modules on this masters course which are focussed on community child health. Helen also teaches UCL medical students and students on the IBSc in Paediatrics and BSc in Population Health.

Helen Bedford also contributes to teaching and training on immunisation in PCTs, Great Ormond Street Hospital and other courses and conferences. She co-edited a module on immunisation for the health child e-learning programme developed by the RCPCH. (e-lfh.org.uk/healthychild) 


University College London
, |
University College London
, |
University of London
, | 2000
Chelsea College
, | 1986
, | 1980
South Bank Polytechnic
, | 1980


Helen Bedford has a background as a nurse and health visitor. After gaining her MSc at Kings College London, she joined the Institute of Child Health in 1986 to work on the National Immunisation study with Professor Catherine Peckham and Dr Yvonne Senturia. This large national study investigated professionals' and parents' knowledge of and attitudes to measles and pertussis vaccine at a time when uptake of these two vaccines was poor.
Helen's PhD was a study of the long term consequences of bacterial meningitis in childhood. In this study over 1700 children who had suffered meningitis in their first year of life were followed up along with matched controls at the age of five years.
As well as conducting primary research into the determinants of vaccine uptake, Helen has written and advised on the content of papers and articles on immunisation for a wide range of publications including scientific journals, women's magazines and newspapers. She often communicates directly with the public as well as with health professionals about the benefits and risks of immunisation. She is frequently interviewed for the TV, radio and other media about issues related to immunisation and works closely with the Science Media Centre on vaccine issues.