Jeremy Howick

Jeremy Howick

Current Positions

Senior Researcher and Impact Fellow
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 2013—present
My main duties include producing high quality research; generating an Impact Case Study for the 2021 REF while assisting other members of faculty to produce their impact case studies; teaching the Philosophy of Medicine to undergraduates and graduates; supervising DPhil and MSc students; representing the Faculty and University at international conferences; applying for external funding.

Executive Secretary, Philosophy and Medicine Network
University of Oxford, 2019—present
Key responsibilities include: developing and maintaining a network of philosophy of medicine researchers within Oxford; and establishing international networks of other organisations.

Director, Oxford Empathy Programme
University of Oxford, 2017—present
Key responsibilities include: developing and produce research on the health effects of empathy; coordinate international visitors; and: organising national and international colloquia.

Fellow, Kellogg College
University of Oxford, 2013—present
Key responsibilities include: member of sports committee; graduate student advisor.


Visiting Professor Lectureship
University of Buffalo, June 2019

Wendy MacDonald Chair Visiting Professorship
McGill University, June 2019

Senior Researcher in the Behavioural Medicine Group
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. 2015—2019

National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Fellow
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, 2012—15

Medical Research Council (MRC) Research Fellow
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2008 – 2011

Lecturer (part-time)
Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, 2009 – 2011

Research Fellow
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2007 – 2008



PhD, Philosophy of Science. 2008
London School of Economics and Political Science
Thesis: “Philosophical essentials in evidence-based medicine: Evaluating the epistemological role of double blinding and placebo controls”
Supervisors: Professor John Worrall and Professor Nancy Cartwright

Post Graduate Teaching Certificate, London School of Economics, 2008

MSc, Philosophy of Social Science, London School of Economics, 1996-97

Diploma in Social Studies (distinction), University of Oxford, 1995-96

BA, Major in Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1988-92


Recent Publications

Howick J, Kelly P, Kelly M (2019). Establishing a Causal Link between Social Relationships and Health using the Bradford Hill Guidelines. SSM - Population Health, Volume 8. DOI:

Howick J (2019). Exploring the Asymetrical Relationship Between the Power of Finance Bias and Evidence. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 62(1): 159-187. DOI: 10.1353/pbm.2019.0009.

Howick J, Webster R, Kirby N, Hood K (2018). Rapid Review of Systematic Reviews of Nocebo Effects Reported by Patients Taking Placebos in Clinical Trials. Trials 19:674. DOI:

Howick J, Hoffmann T (2018). How placebos influence intervention effects: The importance of knowing what they really are. CMAJ 190(30):E908-E911. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.171400.

Colloca L, Howick J (2018). Placebos without deception: outcomes, mechanisms, and ethics. International Review of Neurobiology. Published online 2018 Apr 4. DOI:  10.1016/bs.irn.2018.01.005. PMID: 29681327.

Howick J, Moscrop A, Mebius A, Lewith G, Bishop F, Little P, Mistiaen P, Roberts NW, Onakpoya I (2018). Effects of empathic and positive communication in healthcare consultations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Royal Society of Medicine; 0(0) 1–13 DOI: 10.1177/0141076818769477.

Bailey R, Howick J (2018). Did John Stuart Mill influence the design of controlled clinical trials? JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the history of treatment evaluation (

Batra S, Howick J. Empirical evidence against placebo controls. Published online 10 August 2017. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2016-103970. PMID: 28794240

Howick J, Ulyte A, Steinkopf L, Meissner K (2017). How empathic is your healthcare practitioner? A systematic review and meta-analysis of patient surveys. BMC Research Methodology 17(1): 136. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-0967-3.

Howick J, Rees S, the Oxford Empathy Programme. Overthrowing barriers to empathy in healthcare: empathy in the age of the internet (2017). Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Published online. DOI: 10.1177/0141076817714443.

Petkovic G, Charlesworth JEG, Kelley J, Miller F, Roberts N, Howick J. Effects of placebos without deception a systematic review and meta-analysis (2017). Journal for Evidence Based Medicine. 27 April 2017 DOI: 10.1111/jebm.12251.

Howick J (2017). Doctor You. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Heneghan CJ, Onakpoya I, Jones MA, Doshi P, Del Mar C, Hama R, Thompson MJ, Spencer EA, Mahtani KR, Nunan D, Howick J, Jefferson T (2016). Neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza: a systematic review and meta-analysis of regulatory and mortality data. Health Technology Assessment 20(42). ISSN 1366-5278.

Howick J (2011). The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine. Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley.

Howick J (2017). The ethics of placebos in clinical practice. In A. Papanikitas, J. Spicer (Eds.), The Handbook of Clinical Ethics. Florida, US: CRC Press.

Howick J. Justification of Evidence-Based Medicine Epistemology (2016). In Markum J (ed.) The Bloomsbury Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Medicine.

Howick J, Mebius A. Randomized trials and observational studies: the current controversy (2015). In Schramme T, Edwards S (eds.) Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. DOI: 10.1177/0141076817732523. PMID: 28920755.




I am interested in foundational issues surrounding evidence, especially those related to Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), as well as the ethics and epistemology of placebos. I am currently the founding director of the Oxford Empathy Programme, and my main aims in the next 5 years are to improve the ethics and epistemology of placebo effects, investigate the role of human empathy in the digital age, and improve the theory and practice of evidence-based healthcare. The quality of my research (which includes over 90 publications and two books) together with its impact, were part of a submission that was given top scores in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), and I have two Impact Case Studies that have been informally ranked as high quality for the forthcoming (2021) REF. I communicate the results of my research through academic channels, teaching (I have won three teaching awards), and social media (20,000 followers. I have recently written a popular science book, Doctor You, which has reached number 1 on Amazon in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


Twitter: @jeremyhowick