John Withington

2019/2020 Recent Returners

Prior to completion of his postgraduate surgical training within the London Deanery, John was seconded as a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, where he covered a diverse portfolio of work, from mitigation for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, to the rapid evidence evaluation of new cancer diagnostic technologies.

John’s background health service research interest combines international comparative outcomes analysis and the development of tools for the continuous measurement of surgical quality, which formed the basis of his doctoral thesis.

His research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston investigated the impact of Medicaid expansion on early cancer diagnosis, post-ACA. In short, Medicaid proved disappointing; it appears this highly selective state level safety net is inadequate when it comes to delivering essential diagnostic care.

This finding stimulated a period of deep reading, discussion and reflection on the role of communities, states and the federal government in providing health care, examined through the lens of his own personal experience of American healthcare and disability.

Eager to explore these themes outside the cultural constraints of a traditional research environment, John moved to Flatbush, Brooklyn. There, he shared knowledge and experience and built relationships with local community activists – between Brooklyn and the Bronx – pursuing healthcare justice in the contexts of the global pandemic, mass unemployment and America’s reckoning with its historic and present structures of racist oppression.

Since returning home, he has commenced his final year of specialty training at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, where he is learning cutting edge techniques in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and is currently planning a randomized controlled surgical trial in partnership with Imperial College London.

John lives in Camden Town, where he is actively engaged in the local community; since returning from the US he has taken on voluntary roles with Camden Foodbank and United Voices of the World, the grassroots trade union for migrant and low wage workers.