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Dr Gillian Paterson

Dr Gillian Paterson Research Associate
Telephone: 020 7795 4126


Born into a diplomatic family, Gillian spent much of her early life in Southern Africa, including a pre-university year working in a large general hospital in Accra, Ghana. She studied at Kings College London, and later, at the Institute of Education in London.  When her children were old enough, she moved out of teaching to work for the development organization Christian Aid.  Here she was sent to South India, where she developed a life-long interest in the relationship between health, healing and theology, leading to an MA at Heythrop on health care as mission and ministry.  In the early days of the HIV, she was invited by the World Council of Churches to participate in writing and research on the role of women in the pandemic. This has led to twenty years of research and writing, leading to a doctorate, at Heythrop, on HIV-related stigma and its implications for Christian theology and ethics.

Current teaching

Working the Department of Pastoral and Social Studies, she set up and led an MA module on Healthcare and religion.

Within the Heythrop Institute – Religion and Society, she runs two research projects. 

The first, in collaboration with Public Health England and other organizations, is designed to develop a methodology for evaluating the role of faith in healthcare, and the implications of that for public health strategy. 

The second, in collaboration with other academic institutions, practitioners and development professionals, is an exploration of Catholic approaches to faith, fertility and family.

 She was a founder of HARC (The HIV, AIDS and Religion Collaborative).  She belongs to the Association of Teachers of Moral Theology, the Catholic Theological Society of Great Britain and the Confraternity of St James.  She is a trustee of the Notre Dame Refugee Centre in London, and a member of the Health and Social Care Advisory Group to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.  She is a consultant to the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and also, occasionally, to the African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP). 

She is a member of the Athenaeum Club.

Research Interests

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Additional Areas of Interest

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Conference Papers

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Other information

A major interest is hill walking. In recent years she has undertaken several long-distance hikes, including the St Cuthbert’s Way in Britain, and parts of the Camino de Santiago, in Spain. 

Starting in 2008, Gillian has run a series of annual colloquiums, brining academics, practitioners and policy makers together to explore difficult moral issues in today’s society.