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Dr. Justin Varney

Professional Overview


Dr. Justin Varney is a dynamic and innovative leader with a passion for creating and delivering meaningful change at local, regional, national and international levels.

Based in London, Dr. Varney is currently the National Strategic Advisor on Health and Work at Public Health England, the Government National Public Health Institute for England. In this role he leads the interface between public health and the business sector focused on improving the health of working age adults, as well as working in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care’s Joint Unit on Health and Work.

Dr. Varney has played an instrumental role in building consensus for action across different sectors and partnerships on a wide range of issues including physical activity, health and work and LGBT health issues. His creation of the Moving Healthcare Professionals model for shifting culture and practice among doctors in practice and in training has been internationally recognised as best practice and is a testament to his ability to work across systems and key stakeholders from different fields to achieve sustained and embedded upstream solutions for change.

Given his passion for public speaking and innate ability to capture and hold the attention of audiences at large national and international conferences alike, he is often considered to be a catalyst in his own right.

Dr. Justin Varney also played a crucial part in the development and distribution of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, which was released in June 2018. He edited and co-produced elements that were ultimately utilized in the official plan, and advised on the foundational strategy of the organisation’s media campaigns. Furthermore, Dr. Varney played the key role in coordinating efforts between the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) and the WHO programme team during development and launch of the action plan.

In addition to his role-specific responsibilities, Dr. Varney is also a fervent advocate for the LGBT community. As such, he has taken the lead on several national programmes and initiatives, such as developing the first LGBT mentoring circle at Public Health England and sitting on the board of several LGBT charities. Dr. Justin Varney has published unique reports and peer review articles on the health inequalities many lesbians and gay men face, as well as their experiences of the nation’s healthcare system. His publications have been instrumental to shedding light on and starting open conversations about these issues, which are the first steps to sparking governmental and organisational change.

Dr. Justin Varney launched this website to share his insights on public health and policy, as well as current events. To learn more about his perspective on pertinent topics like the various factors that could further shape our society, visit his blog dedicated to unpacking futurology.


A graduate of St. Bartholomew’s & The Royal London Hospitals Medical School at University of London, Dr. Justin Varney earned his Bachelor of Medicine in 1999. He went on to receive his Masters in Public Health from St. George’s Medical School in 2004. He continues to invest in his continuing professional development, recently completing the Department of Health/NHS Aspiring Director Leadership Programme, to further hone and refine his leadership skills.


  • David Harvey Award
  • PHE Board Award for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Clinical Excellence Award

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