Dr Richard Ayres

Dr Richard Ayres

Lead for Population Health

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)

Richard can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • General Practice
  • Population health
  • Medical education
  • Health promotion

My teaching and research interests are in Clinical Education and in particular in population health and health inequalities.I also have an interest in the place and role of the humanities in clinical education. I am lead for Population Health for Plymouth Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and a practicing GP in Adelaide St surgery in Stonehouse, Plymouth. My research interests are around in Health Inequalities and anything concerning the importance of "place" in human health.



I have had a pretty eclectic career in medicine. Having completed a very traditional medical course at the University of Edinburgh and then trained in general practice, I went to Uganda, East Africa and spent 8 years doing everything from general medicine and surgery to setting up comprehensive primary health care. I then set up a Leprosy control programme for the West Nile district that brought care and rehabilitation to nearly 10,000 patients. Throughout this time I was involved in education at all levels from village health workers to doctors and became interested in how best to teach the wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes needed - and indeed in what the role of health professionals was in a very different cultural context. Having returned to UK, I worked back in primary care but then branched into hospital medicine(oncology) after a stint in management as Medical Director of a Community Care Trust. I completed an higher degree (MD) at the University of Edinburgh, based on my primary care research into access to GPs for marginalized groups (including teenagers). I was Undergraduate tutor for North Devon, arranging student attachments in both primary and secondary care for medical students (at that time mostly from the University of Bristol). I developed a web-based system that was used by students to choose and tailor their educational experience and this became the basis for my Masters thesis for the University of Dundee M Med programme. I then moved to Plymouth to join the new Peninsula Medical School and also to work as medical adviser to a government funded community development project based in Devonport - one of the most deprived communities in The S West. At the University of Plymouth medical school I have worked in both graduate and undergraduate education. Currently I am lead for Population Health, a broad theme across all 5 years of the curriculum taught via plenaries, workshops, SSU's and a variety of community placements.

Clinically I work as a GP in Stonehouse, in the highest deprivation ward in the city. Adelaide St surgery where I work has a long history of social engagement and now runs the outreach service to the homeless in the city. We provide clinical placements for a great many medical and other healthcare students and are involved in a number of research projects.

Professional membership


Roles on external bodies

External Examining, Peer Review

I represent PSMD on the national Public Health Educators in Medical Schools (PHEMS) group
I sit on the Royal College of GPs Health inequalities Standing Group
I am a reviewer for the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 

Teaching interests

Population Health, Health Inequalities, Medical Humanities, Clinical Education

Research interests

Community Development, Health Inequalities, Medical Humanities, Exercise and Health, Primary/Secondary Care interface

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Pettinger C, Letherby G, Parsons JM, Withers L, Cunningham M, Whiteford A, D'Aprano G, Ayres R & Sutton C 2018 'Employing Participatory Methods to Engage an Under-Researched Group: opportunities and challenges' Methodological Innovations 11, (1) , DOI Open access
Pettinger C, Parsons JM, Cunningham M, Withers L, D'Aprano G, Letherby G, Sutton C, Whiteford A & Ayres R 2017 'Engaging homeless individuals in discussion about their food experiences to optimise wellbeing: A pilot study' Health Education Journal , DOI Open access
Vyas A, Rodrigues VC, Ayres R, Myles PR, Hothersall EJ & Thomas H 2017 'Public health matters: Innovative approaches for engaging medical students' Medical Teacher 39, (4) 402-408 , DOI Open access
Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Ayres R, Aveyard P, Warren FC, Byng R, Taylor RS, Campbell JL, Ussher M & Michie S 2016 'Factors associated with study attrition in a pilot randomised controlled trial to explore the role of exercise-assisted reduction to stop (EARS) smoking in disadvantaged groups' Trials 17, (1) , DOI Open access
Ayres R, Stevens S & Regan de Bere S 2016 'Getting real in the community: Evaluating the “making a difference” interdisciplinary social engagement project' MedEDPublish , DOI Open access
Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Ayres R, Aveyard P, Warren FC, Byng R, Taylor RS, Campbell JL, Ussher M & Green C 2015 'An Exploratory Analysis of the Smoking and Physical Activity Outcomes From a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of an Exercise Assisted Reduction to Stop Smoking Intervention in Disadvantaged Groups' Nicotine & Tobacco Research 18, (3) 289-297 , DOI Open access
Williamson AE, Ayres R, Allen J & Macleod U 2015 'Core intended learning outcomes for tackling health inequalities in undergraduate medicine' BMC Med Educ 15, Author Site , DOI Open access
Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Ayres R, Aveyard P, Warren FC & Byng R 2015 'Lessons learned from recruiting socioeconomically disadvantaged smokes into a pilot randomized controlled trial to explore the role of Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) smoking' Trials 16, , DOI Open access
Taylor AH, Thompson TP, Greaves C, Taylor RS, Green C, Warren F, Kandiyali F, Aveyard P, Ayres R & Byng R 2014 'A pilot randomized trial to assess the methods and procedures for evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) among disadvantaged smokers' HTA Final Report , DOI
Ayres R 2013 'Reconstructing medical practice' CRITICAL PUBLIC HEALTH 23, (2) 242-243 Author Site , DOI
Thompson TP, Aveyard P, Ayres R, Taylor R, Warren F, Campbell J, Byng R & Ussher M 2012 'Strategies to recruit hard-to-reach smokers into Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS): a pragmatic pilot randomised trial' The Lancet 380, (S73) , DOI
Ayres R 2007 'From serendipity to technology: use of a web-based information and booking system to improve clinical attachments at a district general hospital' Med Teach 29, (5) 437-443 Author Site , DOI
Garside R, Ayres R, Owen M, Pearson VAH & Roizen J 2002 'Anonymity and confidentiality: Rural teenagers' concerns when accessing sexual health services' Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 28, (1) 23-26 , DOI
Garside R 2001 'They never tell you about the consequences' Young people's awareness of sexually transmitted infections' International Journal of STD & AIDS 12 (9), 582-88 , DOI
Garside R, Ayres R, Owen M, Pearson V & Roizen J 2001 'Anonymity and confidentiality: Rural teenagers' concerns when accessing sexual health services' International Journal of STD & AIDS (12) 582-588 , DOI
Garside R, Ayres R, Owen MR, Pearson VH & Roizen J 2000 'General Practitioners’ Attitudes to Sexual Activity in Under-Sixteens' Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 93, (11) 563-564 , DOI
Ayres R 1997 'A year in management' BMJ 315, (7113) 957-958 , DOI
Ayres R & Pocock E 1995 'Exercise on prescription' Br J Gen Pract 45, (395) 325-326 Author Site
Conference Papers
Pettinger C, Cunningham M, Parsons JM, Ayres R, D'Aprano G, Whiteford A & Letherby G 2016 'USING CREATIVE METHODS TO ENGAGE ‘MARGINALIZED’ GROUPS IN FOOD/NUTRITION ACTIVITIES: A PLYMOUTH PILOT STUDY' International Congress of Dietetics Granada, Spain 9-/-0/20169-/-0/2016Open access
Price TJ, Regan de Bere S, Archer J, Ayres R, Baines R, Gravett T, Stevens S & Tredinnick-Rowe J 2017 Price, T. Regan de Bere, S. Archer,J. Ayres, R. Baines, R. Gravett, T. Stevens,S. Tredinnick-Rowe, J. (2017). SustainingProject Equinox: A Feasibility Study. Plymouth.
Ayres R, carter R & stevens S Ayres R, carter R & stevens S 'Making a difference: a qualitative study of an inter-professional social engagement project' Open access
Ayres R, stevens S & regan de bere S Ayres R, stevens S & regan de bere S 'Making a difference: a qualitative study of an inter-professional social engagement project' Open access