Qualified in medicine in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with subsequent training in internal medicine and public health.
Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he co-directs of the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST), a WHO Collaborating Centre.
He is also research director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
A Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK and Ireland and the UK Faculty of Public Health.
His contributions to European health policy have been recognised by, among others, election to the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences, and the US Institute of Medicine, by the award of honorary doctorates from Hungary and The Netherlands, visiting professorships at the Universities of Zagreb and Belgrade, the 2003 Andrija Stampar medal for contributions to European public health and in 2005 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by HM Queen Elizabeth II.