Dr Hilary Davies

Lecturer in Maternal, Child and Family Health
PhD, MSc, Medical Honours, BSc, PGCertHE



Hilary is an epidemiologist and state registered dietitian with experience of working in the fields of primary and secondary care databases, maternal and child health, dietetic clinical experience and organisational administration in both the United Kingdom and South Africa. She obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Psychology and Postgraduate Medical Honours degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Cape Town, MSc in Maternal Nutrition from the University of Stellenbosch, and a PhD in Epidemiology and Health from UCL. She was awarded an NIHR NSPCR PhD studentship in 2012 and supervised by Dr Irene Petersen, Professor Irwin Nazareth and Dr Fiona Stevenson. She used a mixed methods approach which focused on drug use and opioid substitute treatment in pregnancy, using evidence from electronic health records (The Health Improvement Network and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)). She also worked alongside Professor Ruth Gilbert, from the Institute of Child Health, exploring the prevalence of neonatal abstinence syndrome in England using HES. She is continuing to examine primary care and HES data to explore the longitudinal outcomes for children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. She has established a number of collaborations and networks with national and international partners, including those in Australia, Canada, South Africa and the USA.

Prior to joining the University of Surrey, She worked as a dietitian in the NHS and St Mary's University as a Lecturer in the School of Human Sciences where she obtained her PGCHE. She took a year's sabbatical from lecturing in 2009 and worked as the Research coordinator in South Africa for the Philani Mentor Mothers' Research Study, a randomised controlled study run in collaboration with Stellenbosch University and sponsored by UCLA. The project involved recruiting and training mothers from within the community to become community health workers to help support pregnant women and their children.

After completion of her PhD, she worked as a Research Associate at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL, with Professor Andrew Steptoe on the Promoting Independence in Dementia (PRIDE) project which is funded by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Hilary joined the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey as a Lecturer in 2017.




Research interests

Research projects

Research collaborations


Davies HR, Hackett, R, Cadar D, Herbert A, Orrell M and Steptoe A (2018) Vision impairment and risk of dementia: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Gerontology
Hackett, R, Davies HR, Cadar D, Orrell M and Steptoe A. (2018) Walking speed, cognitive function and risk of dementia: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Gerontology
Davies HR, Petersen I, Nazareth I, Stevenson. (2018) Factors influencing recording of drug-misuse in primary care –a qualitative study. BJGP
Davies HR, Marcu A, Vedsted P, Whitaker KL (2017) Is lower symptom recognition associated with socioeconomic inequalities in help‐seeking for potential breast cancer symptoms?Psychooncology. Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/pon.4557
Davies HR, Herbert A, Cadar D, Orrell M and Steptoe A. (2017) Hearing impairment and incident dementia: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Gerontology. Sep;65(9):2074-2081
Davies HR, Gilbert R, Johnson K, Petersen I, Nazareth I, O’Donnell M, Guttmann A, Gonzalez-Izquierdo A. (2015) Neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome: cross-country comparison using hospital administrative data in England, the USA, Western Australia and Ontario, Canada. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 0:F1–F5. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2015-308948
Davies HR, Nazareth I, Petersen I (2015) Trends of People Using Drugs and Opioid Substitute Treatment Recorded in England and Wales General Practice (1994-2012). PLoS ONE 10(4): e0122626. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122626
Davies HR, Visser J, Tomlinson M, Rotherham-Borus MJ, LeRoux I.and Gissane C (2011) An investigation into the influence of socioeconomic variables on gestational body mass index in pregnant women living in a peri-urban settlement, South Africa. Matern Child Health J.16(8):1732-1741

Davies HR, Visser J, Tomlinson M, Rotherham-Borus MJ, LeRoux I (2013) Alternative screening tools for adverse birth outcomes and maternal morbidities in a group of pregnant women in Khayelitsha, South Africa. S Afr J Clin Nutr 2013;26(3):116-122
Knowles, A. M.; Hill, J.; Davies, H.; Dancy, B.; Mistry, N.; Mellor, R.; Howatson, G. (2012) A pilot study examining the health benefits of Nordic walking in sedentary adults. Journal of Sport and Health Research. 4(1):45-56