Subsite Background

Professor David Phillips

Professor David Phillips








Emeritus Professor

Email: [email protected]

David Phillips is Professor Emeritus in Lingnan University where he was Chair Professor of Social Policy from 1997. He was previously Academic Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and subsequently Academic Dean of Social Sciences. He was also Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Policy for several periods.

David is no longer taking on new PhD or other postgraduate researchers though he will do his best to direct enquiries from potential applicants to an appropriate person in the university.

David’s research and teaching interests are in global health, social gerontology and social epidemiology. He currently researches widely on issues related to global health; ageing, health and the environment; epidemiological transition; age-friendly cities and communities, and factors affecting universal health coverage. In Lingnan University, he was Founder-Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS) and he was the founder Co-ordinator of the Asian Ageing Research Network of the Asian Development Research Forum, which was sponsored by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

He was Professor of Human Geography at the University of Nottingham and Head of Department, and Co-Director of its World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Spatial Health Modelling. Prior to that, he was Reader in Health Studies at the University of Exeter and Director of the Institute of Population Studies and its Collaborating Centre in the WHO Human Reproduction Programme. He was also a Non-Executive Director of the Devon Family Health Services Authority (UK National Health Service, NHS).

David has longstanding research experience in many countries of the Asia-Pacific and South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. He has held visiting appointments or external examinerships at several universities, including the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore, the University of the West Indies, the University of the Philippines and the University of Ulster. He has received research support from a wide range of sources. He has been an adviser and resource person for the WHO, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and other UN bodies, especially the World Health Organization and its Western Pacific Regional Office.

He is an elected member of the Academia Europaea and a Corresponding Member of Belgium’s Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning in Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and in the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. He was formerly a Special Professor in the University of Nottingham.

BScEcon, PhD (Wales)

Editorial Appointments and Publications


He is Asian regional advisor to Health and Place and he has been an advisory editor to Social Science and Medicine. He is currently also on the editorial boards of Ageing International, EconomíaSociedad y Territorio and the Asian Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics. He has published over one hundred papers and many chapters and reports. He has written or edited over fifteen books and monographs. Most recently, Global Health has appeared as an extended second edition with a third edition under preparation.


Selected Recent Publications




Global health: an introduction to current and future trends.  Routledge, Oxford and New York, Second Edition, 2017. Kevin McCracken and David R. Phillips (authors). xxvii+438 pp.


Global health: an introduction to current and future trends. Routledge, Oxford and New York, 2012. Kevin McCracken and David R. Phillips (authors). xxiv+328 pp.


Ageing and place. Routledge, London and New York. 2005, paperback 2008. G.J. Andrews and D.R. Phillips (editors). xvi+252pp.


Ageing and long-term care: national policies in the Asia-Pacific. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore and IDRC, Ottawa, 2002. D.R. Phillips and A.C.M. Chan (editors). xviii+242pp.


Ageing in the Asia-Pacific region: issues, policies and future trends. Routledge, London and New York, 2000. D R Phillips (editor) xvii+382pp.


Environment and ageing: policy, planning and design for elderly people in Hong Kong. Centre of Urban Planning and Environmental Management, University of Hong Kong, 1999. D.R. Phillips and A.G.O. Yeh (editors) xvi+196 pp.


Health and development. Routledge, London, 1994. David R. Phillips and Yola Verhasselt (editors) xvi+336pp.


Ageing in East and Southeast Asia. Age Concern Institute of Gerontology, Research Studies in Gerontology Series. Edward Arnold, London, 1992. D.R. Phillips (editor) xii+246pp.


Health and health care in the Third World. Longman, London, 1990, reprinted 1994, 1995. D.R. Phillips (author) xvi+334 pp.


The epidemiological transition in Hong Kong: changes in health and disease since the nineteenth century. Research Monographs 75, Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1988. D.R. Phillips (author) vii+99pp.


Private homes for elderly people: home from home. Research in Practice Series, Social Science Monographs, Joint Unit for Social Services Research, University of Sheffield, 1988. D.R. Phillips, J. Vincent and S. Blacksell (authors) vi+129pp.


New towns in East and Southeast Asia: planning and development. Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, 1987. D.R. Phillips and A.G.O. Yeh (editors) xii+257.


Health, race and ethnicity. Croom Helm, London, 1986. D.R. Phillips and T. Rathwell (editors) x+278pp.


Rural Britain. Blackwell, Oxford, 1984, reprinted 1985. D.R. Phillips and A.M. Williams (authors) viii+274pp.


Accessibility and utilization: geographical perspectives on health care delivery. Harper and Row, London and New York, 1984, reprinted 1985. A.E. Joseph and D.R. Phillips (authors) viii+214pp.


Rural housing and the public sector. Gower, Farnborough, 1982. D.R. Phillips and A.M. Williams (authors) viii+174pp.


Contemporary issues in the geography of health care. Geo Books, Norwich, 1981. D.R. Phillips (author) x+191pp.



Selected recent papers and book chapters


 'Sleep and happiness in urban-dwelling older adults in Ghana: a serial multiple mediation model of generalized anxiety and depressive symptoms', American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, in press May 2023. Elsevier. (R. M. Gyasi, A. Hajek, R. Owusu, P. B. James, M. S. Boampong, B. T. Accam, K. Abass, E. Owusu-Dabo, D. R. Phillips)     


‘The perception and utilization of community care services by older persons in the new urban areas of Beijing, China: A cross-sectional study’, Health Science Reports, 6,2, Feb. 2023. Wiley. (Cheng, Yang; Guang, Ruiqing; Phillips, David; Rosenberg, Mark). DOI: 


‘Physical activity and gender buffer the association of retirement with functional impairment in Ghana’, Scientific Reports 12, 12832, 27 July 2022. Nature. (Gyasi, R.M., Amoah, P.A., Agyemang, S., Siaw, L.P., Frempong, F., Rani, R. and Phillips, D.R.).


‘The effect-modification of physical activity on the association of pain with impaired physical function in aging adults Experimental Gerontology 163, 15 June 2022, 111791. Elsevier. (Razak M. Gyasi, Yvonne Dodzi Ami Adjakloe, Lawrencia Pokua Siaw, Peter Bai James, Padmore Adusei Amoah, Kabila Abass, Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, David R. Phillips). 


‘Social exclusion and health outcomes among empty nest and non-empty nest older people in China’, Ageing and Society, online 28 April 2022. CUP. (Frank Feng and David R Phillips). doi:10.1017/S0144686X22000149 


‘Loneliness and physical function impairment: Perceived health status as an effect modifier in community-dwelling older adults in Ghana’. Preventive Medicine Reports, April 2022, 101721. (R.M. Gyasi, P. Peprah, K. Abass, L.P. Siaw, Y.D.A. Adjakloe, E. Garsonu, D.R. Phillips).


Food insecurity and sleep quality among older adults in Ghana: Findings from a population-based study’. Maturitas, 157, 27-33, March 2022. (R.M. Gyasi, E. Asamoah, N. Gyasi-Boadu, O. Zornu, G. Asiki, D.R. Phillips).


‘Does social capital interact with social hardships in influencing older adults’ health? A study from China’. International Journal for Equity in Health, 20, 207, 15 Sept 2021.  (Gu, Lijuan, Yang Cheng, D.R. Phillips, M. Rosenberg, Linsheng Yang, Li Wang and Hairong Li).


‘Death, devastation and failure in Long-term Care’, in G.J. Andrews, V.A. Crooks, J.R. Pearce and J.P. Messina (eds) COVID-19 and similar futures: pandemic geographies, Springer, Cham, pp. 233-240. 2021. (D.R. Phillips and G.J. Andrews)


‘Rural ageing in low- and middle-income countries’, in Mark Skinner, Rachel Winterton and Kieran Walsh (eds) Rural Gerontology: Towards Critical Perspectives on Rural Ageing. Routledge, New York and London, pp. 79-92. 2021. (P.A. Amoah and D.R. Phillips)


‘Rural-urban migration of older people: mobility, adaptation and accessibility’, in Mark Skinner, Rachel Winterton and Kieran Walsh (eds) Rural Gerontology: Towards Critical Perspectives on Rural Ageing. Routledge, New York and London, 105-116. 2021 (Y. Cheng, D.R. Phillips, M. Rosenberg and R. Winterton).


‘Physical activity and predictors of loneliness in community-dwelling older adults: The role of social connectedness’, Geriatric Nursing, 42(2), 592-598, March-April 2021. (R. M. Gyasi, D. R. Phillips, F. Asante and S. Boateng).


‘How far is inclusivity of financial services associated with food insecurity in later life? Implications for Health Policy and Sustainable Development Goals’, Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(2), 189-200, Feb. 2021. (Razak M. Gyasi, David R. Phillips and Anokye M. Adam).


‘Epidemiological Transition’, in Kobayashi, A. (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. vol. 4, Elsevier, pp. 265–273 (2020). (K. McCracken and D. R. Phillips) 


‘Social exclusion, self-rated health and depression among older people in China: evidence from a national survey of older persons’, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 82, 238-244, May-June 2019. (Zhixin Feng, Kelvyn Jones and David R. Phillips).


‘Geographical Gerontology’, in Gu, D. and Dupre, M. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging, Springer, Cham. Online 14 Aug 2019. (Feng, Z. and D.R. Phillips).


‘Aging and the rising burden of chronic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa and other Low- and Middle-Income countries: a call for holistic action The Gerontologist, published 19 July 2019.  60, 5, 806-811, Aug 2020. (Razak M. Gyasi and David R. Phillips).


‘Socio-demographic and behavioral correlates of health literacy: a gender perspective in Ghana’, Women & Health. 60(2), 123-139, Feb. 2020. (P. A. Amoah and D. R. Phillips).  DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2019.1613471


‘Financial inclusion, health-seeking behavior and health outcomes among older adults in Ghana’, Research on Aging, 2 May 2019, 1-27.  (Gyasi, R. M., M.A. Adam and D.R. Phillips). doi/10.1177/0164027519846604


‘Risk of psychological distress among community-dwelling older adults experiencing spousal loss in Ghana", The Gerontologist. 60,3, 416-427. (Gyasi, R. and Phillips, D.R.).


‘Explaining the gender gap in health services use in Ghanaian community-dwelling older cohorts’, Women and Health, 59(10), 1089-1104, 2019. (Gyasi, R. M., D.R. Phillips and R. David). DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2019.1587666


‘Demography, socioeconomic status and health services utilisation among older Ghanaians: Implications for health policy’, Ageing International, online 12 Dec 2018, 45, 50-71, 2020. (Gyasi, R.M. and Phillips, D.R.)  


‘Multidimensional social support and health services utilization among non-institutionalized older persons in Ghana’, Journal of Aging and Health., online Dec 3 108, 32(3-4), 227-239, March 2020. (Gyasi, R.M., Phillips, D.R. and Amoah, P.A.).


‘Social exclusion, self-rated health and depression among older people in China: evidence from a national survey of older persons’, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 82, 238-244, May-June 2019. (Zhixin Feng, Kelvyn Jones and David R. Phillips).  


‘Social support networks and psychological wellbeing in community-dwelling older Ghanaian cohorts’. International Psychogeriatrics. Accepted 8 July 2018 Online Oct. 25: 1-11. (Gyasi, R. M., D.R. Phillips and K. Abass). 


‘The role of a health protection scheme in healthcare utilisation among community-dwelling older persons in Ghana’. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. publ. online 2 July 2018 (Gyasi, R. M., D.R. Phillips and D. Buor)


‘A geographical multivariable multilevel analysis of social exclusion among older people in China: evidence from the CLASS ageing study’, The Geographical Journal, 184(4), Dec. 2018, 413-428. (Zhixin Feng, D.R. Phillips and K. Jones). 10.1111/geoj.12274.


‘Gender, self-rated health and functional decline among community-dwelling older adults, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Vol 77, July-Aug 2018, 174-183. (R.M. Gyasi and D.R. Phillips).


‘Health literacy and health: Rethinking the strategies for universal health coverage in Ghana’, Public Health, 159, 40-49, 2018. (P.A. Amoah and D.R. Phillips).


'A study of housing typology and perceived age friendliness in an established Hong Kong new town: a person-environment perspective', Geoforum, 18, 17 - 27, 2018. (Yi Sun, D.R. Phillips and M. Wong).


'Global ageing’, in Geographical gerontology: perspectives, concepts and approaches, edited by M. W. Skinner, G.J. Andrews and M.P. Cutchin. Routledge, London and New York, 2018, pp. 93-109. (D.R. Phillips and Zhixin Feng)


‘Demographics and aging’, in The SAGE Handbook on Contemporary China, ed. Weiping Wu and M. Frazier, SAGE, New York and London. Chapter 54. (Aug. 2018). (D.R. Phillips and Zhixin Feng)


‘Exploring the age-friendliness of Hong Kong: opportunities, initiatives and challenges in an ageing Asian city’, in Tine Buffel, Sophie Handler and Chris Phillipson (eds.) Age-friendly communities: A global perspective, Policy Press, Bristol, 2018, pp. 121-144. (D.R. Phillips, J. Woo, F. Cheung, M. Wong and P.H. Chau)


‘A clash of colonialisms: sports culture in Hong Kong under the Japanese occupation’, in J.A. Mangan, P. Horton, T. Ren and G. Ok. (eds.), Japanese Imperialism, Politics and Sport in East Asia: Rejection, Resentment, Revanchism. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2018, pp. 245-278. (B. Bridges and D. R. Phillips)  


‘Asia-Pacific and global population aging’, in T. R. Klassen, Masa Higo, N. Dhirathiti and T. Devasahayam (eds.) Ageing in the Asia Pacific: Interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, Routledge, New York and London, 2018, pp. 25-45. (D.R. Phillips)


‘Strengthening the referral system through social capital: a qualitative inquiry in Ghana’, Healthcare, 5(4), 80, 2017, 11pp. (P.A. Amoah and D.R. Phillips). https://doi:10.3390/healthcare5040080


‘Health literacy and self-perceived health status among street youth in Kumasi, Ghana’, Cogent Medicine. 4 (1) 2017. (P.A. Amoah, D.R. Phillips, D.R., R.M. Gyasi, A.O. Koduah and J. Edusei). DOI:10.1080/2331205X.2016.1275091


‘Demographic and Epidemiological Transition’ in D. Richardson (editor-in-chief) The InternationalEncyclopedia of Geography, Wiley-Blackwell, New York, 2017, 1-8. (K. McCracken and D.R. Phillips). doi: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0063


‘International initiatives in technology and aging’, in ‘Climate change and the health of older people in South-East Asia’, in R. Akhtar (ed.) Climate Change and Human Health Scenario in South and Southeast Asia. Springer, New York, 2016, pp. 29-52. (K. McCracken and D.R. Phillips)


‘Comparing the age-friendliness of different neighbourhoods using district surveys: an example from Hong Kong’, PLoS ONE 10(7): e0131526. July 1 2015 (Moses Wong, P. H. Chau, F. Cheung, D. R. Phillips, Jean Woo). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131526


‘Challenges for the aging family in the People’s Republic of China’, Canadian Journal on Aging, 34, 3, 290-304, Sept. 2015. (David R. Phillips and Zhixin Feng). DOI:10.1017/S0714980815000203  


‘Patterns of residential adjustment for older person: Who will recover and how do they recover? A study in different residential environments in Hong Kong’, Social Indicators Research, 119, 1, 295-319, 2014. (K. Cheng, D.R. Phillips, O.L. Siu and A.G.O. Yeh). DOI 10.1007/s11205-013-0493-6 


‘Intervention studies on enhancing work well-being, reducing burnout, and improving recovery experiences among Hong Kong health care workers and teachers’, International Journal of Stress Management, Special Issue, July 1, 2013. (Oi Ling Siu, Cary L. Cooper and David R. Phillips)


‘International initiatives in technology and aging’, in A. Sixsmith and G. Gutman (eds.) Technologies for Active Aging. Springer, New York, 2013, pp. 201-222. (A. Sixsmith, M. Carrillo, D.R. Phillips, P. Lansley and R. Woolrych) 


‘Life events and stress: do older men and women in Malaysia cope differently as consumers?’ Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 28, 2, 2013, pp. 195-210. (Fon-Sim Ong, David R. Phillips and S.T. Chai)


‘Global aging and aging workers’ in Jerry W. Hedge and Walter C. Borman (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Work and Aging. Oxford University Press, NY and Oxford, 2012, pp. 11-32. (D.R. Phillips and Siu Oi-ling)


‘The impact of changing value systems on social inclusion: an Asia-Pacific perspective’, in Scharf, T. and N. Keating (eds) From exclusion to inclusion in old age, Policy Press, Bristol, 2012, pp. 109-124. (D.R. Phillips and K. Cheng)


‘Overview of health and ageing issues in the Asia-Pacific region’, in Wing-Cheong Chan (ed) Singapore's ageing population: managing healthcare and end of life decisions, Routledge, London, 2011, pp. 13-39. (D.R. Phillips)


‘Ageing in a global context: the Asia-Pacific region’, in C. Phillipson and D. Dennefer (eds) The Handbook of Gerontology. Sage: London and NY, New edition, 2010, pp. 430-446. (David R. Phillips, Chan, Alfred C.M. and Cheng, Sheung-Tak)


‘Person-Environment (P-E) Fit Models and Psychological Well-being among older persons’, Environment & Behavior, 42, 221-242, 2010. (D.R. Phillips, K. Cheng, A.G.O. Yeh and O.L. Siu) 


‘Role resources and work-family enrichment: the role of work engagement’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77, 2010, pp. 470-480. (Oi-ling Siu, Jia-fang Lu, Paula Brough, Chang-chin Lu, Arnold Bakker, Thomas Kalliath, Michael O'Driscoll, David R. Phillips, Wei-Ching Chen, Danny Lo, Cindy Sit, Kan Shi)