Jennifer Patterson

Dr Jennifer Patterson BA Joint Hons, BSc Hons, PGDipHE, PGDip, PGDipMS, MPhil, PhD

Associate Professor of Sustainable Health Practices and Discourses

Key details

Dr Jennifer Patterson

Associate Professor of Sustainable Health Practices and Discourses

Jennifer Patterson is the current elected President of the Association for Medical Humanities. She is an academic with an Irish background, a part-time Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences at the University of Greenwich and a practising Complementary Therapist of 15 years. 

An interdisciplinary feminist critical theorist, her doctoral research background is in radical embodied readings of 20th Century French Surrealist literature and art history from UCL, London. Her teaching focuses on professional health and education doctoral students. Since 2006, she has led a significant number of externally funded research and enterprise projects. Her view is that writing is activism, often based on experience, related to equity, rights and social justice, questioning cultural and ethical assumptions. Covering a range of topics it uses an interdisciplinary toolbox of applied feminist theory and sociology with creative use of linguistic visual and verbal methods such as discourse analysis and narrative analysis. Her research and publishing uses theory to question and disrupt normative assumptions in two key interdisciplinary areas: the Medical/Health Humanities and Sustainability Education. Latterly these combine in a focus on sustainable health with particular reference to Women's life-course events, such as Sustainable Development Goals and menstrual hygiene practices, pain and language, and thinking with and without a uterus. She is interested in the practical application of research projects that she is involved in, has written on impact and been nominated for impact awards. For many years Jennifer was a visiting lecturer on the MA in Women's Studies at Ruskin College, Oxford. She has worked as an editor and translator outside of academia, has trained in Narrative medicine with Rita Charon in New York and is currently working on the Listening to Patients' Project. She organised the international Body Talk: Whose language Conference in 2017 at the University of Greenwich which has culminated in the publication of Body Talk in Medical Humanities: Whose language with Francia Kinchington in 2019.

Posts held previously:

  • 2005-08, Associate Lecturer, Department of Humanities (online Interdisciplinary Humanities), The Open University
  • 2001-06, Self-employed freelance writer, translator, editor and subeditor
  • 1997-2003: Self-employed lecturer and travel consultant
  • 1989-96: PT/FT Retail Manager and Buyer
  • 1984-89: Lecturer, Courtauld Gallery

Responsibilities within the university

  • Associate Professor of Sustainable Health Practices and Discourses
  • Principal investigator
  • Supervises PhD research projects
  • Lecturer on the EdD course


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA)
  • Elected council member and membership secretary, the Association for Medical Humanities, 2013-present
  • External Examiner, University of London International Programmes, Combined Degree, 2013-present
  • External PhD supervisor on feminist methods, the University of Hertfordshire, 2009-2014
  • Self-employed, complementary therapies practitioner, 2006-present
  • Visiting Lecturer: MA Women's Studies, Ruskin College, Oxford University, 2008-2015

Research / Scholarly interests

Jennifer's interdisciplinary feminist background is reflected in research interests that involve creative critical approaches and other ways of thinking across a range of topics including: healthcare and medicine, humanities, art, education and research theory, women's bodies, women's issues, ethics and equity.

Key funded projects

  • BIG Lottery (PI) Audit of School Growing Spaces in Boroughs of Southwark and Greenwich, 2013
  • Higher Education Authority Seminar Funding (Medical Humanities), 2013
  • HEIF Listening to Patients (Medical Humanities) (PI), 2013
  • HEA travel fund, Erasmus Exchange with the University of Ankara, 2012
  • R+E Natural Learning and Environments (International case studies), 2011
  • ESRC and TSB KTP in sustainable fundraising with WideHorizons Outdoor Education Trust, 2010
  • HEIF Principal Investigator, Natural Learning and Environments, 2010
  • Internal funding on course development for external charity, 2009
  • Internal funding on ASPIRE, widening participation, 2008

Recent publications


Matthews, Stephanie , Haseeb, Haris, Patterson, Jennifer, MacDonald, Bridget (2017), Medical humanities in practice. BMJ Publishing Group. In: , , , . BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ: j5114 ISSN: 0959-8138 (Print), 1756-1833 (Online) (doi:

Moreno Leguizamon, Carlos J. , Patterson, Jennifer J., Gómez Rivadeneira, Alexander (2015), Incorporation of social sciences and humanities in the training of health professionals and practitioners in other ways of knowing. University College of Medical Sciences. In: , , , . University College of Medical Sciences, Research and Humanities in Medical Education, 2 . pp. 18-23 2350-0565 (Online) (doi:

Book section

Patterson, Jennifer and , Lawler, Christine (2021), When the student dies. Routledge. In: , , In: Rebecca (Bex) Twinley, Gayle Letherby (eds.), The Doctoral Journey as an Emotional, Embodied, Political Experience: Stories from the Field. Routledge, London, and Abingdon, Oxon (1st) . pp. 68-80 . ISBN: 9780367352851; 9780429330384 (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Patterson, Jennifer and , (2021), Acute pain is sexy and chronic pain is not: representations, language and transformation. UCL Press. In: , , , Encountering Pain: Hearing, Speaking, Seeing. UCL Press, London . pp. 147-176 . ISBN: 9781787352636 (doi:

Patterson, Jennifer J. and , (2019), Menstrual hygiene management and sustainable development. Springer Nature. In: , , In: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Tony Wall (eds.), Gender Equality. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland (1st) . ISBN: 9783319956886 (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Patterson, Jennifer and , (2017), Refiguring risk in medicine and healthcare: Crafting wild narratives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. In: , , In: Alan Bleakley, Larry Lynch, Gregg Whelan (eds.), Risk and Regulation at the Interface of Medicine and the Arts: Dangerous Currents. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge . pp. 10-25 . ISBN: 9781443898881 (doi: ).

Edited book

Patterson, Jennifer and , Kinchington, Francia (2019), Body talk in medical humanities, whose language?. Cambridge Scholars. In: , , , . Cambridge Scholars, (1st) . ISBN: 9781527534735 (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Patterson, Jennifer and , (2016), The Association for Medical Humanities International Journal: Body Talk: Whose Language? (2016 Conference Abstracts). The Association for Medical Humanities. In: , , , . The Association for Medical Humanities, The University of Greenwich , 1 (1) (1st) . ISBN: 9780995519305ISSN: 2398-6395 (Print), (doi:


Patterson, Jennifer and , (2016), Translations. Body Talk: whose language?. Association of Medical Humanities. In: , , , . Association of Medical Humanities, (doi: NB Item availability restricted.