Professor Hilary L Bekker

Professor Hilary L Bekker


I was awarded my Chair of Medical Decision Making by the University of Leeds in August 2016. 

In April 2001, I rejoined the staff at the University of Leeds as a Lecturer in Behavioural Sciences in the School of Medicine, and was promoted to Associate Professor in August 2004. My previous posts included: Lecturer in Health Psychology (University of York, 1999-2001); Research Fellow using Systematic Review Methods to Assesss Informed Decision Making Interventions in healthcare (University of Leeds, 1996-1998); Research Fellow using questionnaire methods to assess General Practitioners' Attitudes to Breast Cancer Screening (Guy's Hopsital Medical School, 1992-1994); Research Fellow using mixed methods to assess People's Uptake Of, and Attitudes Towards, Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Testing (Royal Free Medical School, 1990-1992).

I have a PhD in Decision Making and Prenatal Diagnosis from the University of Leeds (1999), an MSc in Health Psychology from University College London (1994) and a BSc 1st Class in Psychology from Middlesex Polytechnic,London (1990). I am recognised as a Chartered Psychologist by the British Psychological Society (since 1999), and a Fellow in Academic Practice by the Higher Education Authority (since 2004).


  • Lead for Student Education - LIHS
  • Head of Year 1 MBChB

Research interests

My expertise is in using Decision Science, psychological theories, and health services research methods to investigate people's decision making about Health and Illness. My primary research interests focus on investigating the aspects of information provision discourages people from making healthcare decisions well or boosts people's reasoning to make decisions about healthcare options that fit best with their values and lifestyle. I use my findings to design patient decision aid resources and test whether or not these patient-focused interventions help a) patients make better treatment decisions, and b) health professionals support proactively shared patient-professional decision making about treatment and management pathways. Other research interests include the development of patient reported outcome measures to assess the impact of patient-involvement and clinical care interventions on patient benefit and service quality.

I have developed over 40 patient decision aids in co-production with patients, policy makers, service providers, advocacy groups, and health professionals. These arise from my ongoing medical decision making research (e.g., and consultancy with health-related organisations (e.g. NHS Rightcare Patient Decision Aids and Brief Shared Decision Making resources, 2011-2017). The Kidney Research UK Dialysis Decision Aid Booklet is an example of a research output now supported by the Kidney Research UK Charity for people with chronic kidney disease, and their friends, family and health professional teams.

I work with national and international organisations to set standards on patient decision aid and shared decision making intervention development, research and implemention, including: the International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS) collaboration on components to include in patient-focused interventions that boost and reduce bias in people's reasoning about treatment options and reporting guidelines for investigators' evaluating patient decision aid effectiveness; National Institute for Health and Care Excellance Shared Decision Making collaboration . I deliver patient decision aid and shared decision making training to health professionals and patients via national and international workshops, seminars and lectures.

I supervise the doctoral and professional qualification research of health professionals and social scientists, advise on steering groups of mid-career researcher fellowship projects, and am a career mentor when attending the Society of Medical Decision Making conferences.



  • PhD (1999) Decision Making and Prenatal Testing
  • MSc (1994) Health Psychology
  • BSc-1st Class (1990) Psychology

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Authority (2001+)
  • Society of Medical Decision Making (2000+)
  • British Psychological Society (1990+)

Student education

I am Lead for Student Education for the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (2017-2020). I am Head of Year 1 on the undergraduate medical degree (MBChB), and deliver teaching on the Individuals and Population year 1 integrated core unit (module).

Previous academic leadership roles included: Individuals and Population year 1 MBChB Co-Leader (2010-2017); Individuals and Population year 1 MBChB small-group teaching Leader (2001-2010); Postgradaute Research Student Lead (LIHS-SoM, 2001-2005); Research, Evaluation and Special Studies MBChB (LIHS, 2001-2005); the design, delivery and assessment of undergraduate and postgraduate specialist modules in health psychology and medical decision making to health professionals and social scientists (1999-2005).

Research groups and institutes

  • Psychological and Social Medicine
  • Maternal, child and family health

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>