The Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group (GHWRG) is a research group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). We offer a lively and supportive network for all those interested in research in geography of health and health care, medical geography, and any other area of research related to health and well-being. We are always pleased to welcome new members, our main activities include:

  • bringing national and international researchers together
  • organizing national and international events and meetings
  • supporting postgraduates and early career researchers
  • communicating news and events to its increasing membership

Join the conversation on Twitter using #GHWRG

If you are interested in joining the group, please contact the group secretary Chloe Asker: 

Our history

The Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group (GHWRG) is one of the thirty-two Research and Working Groups of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers).These research groups aim to bring together researchers and those with a professional interest in a particular aspect of geography, to support and promote that area of geography within academic research and teaching, but also within wider education, public policy and government and enterprise spheres.

The research group was formed in 1973, under the name the Medical Geography Study Group, before, in the early 90s, rebranding and expanding to the Geographies of Health Research Group, under the leadership of Graham Moon. In 2015, Andrew Power proposed a further name change, to the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research group.

The Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group, as the name implies, offers a lively and supportive network for all those interested in the geographies of health and health care, medical geography, and any other areas of scholarship related to health and well-being that engages with geographical concerns. Although geography is obviously at the heart of the group, there’s also an ethos of engagement with much wider scholarship around health and wellbeing, and the group also has connections with, and makes contributions to, conversations within the medical humanities, medical sociology, and health studies at large.

Responding to COVID-19

Despite the persisting challenges of Covid-19, the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group has had another highly successful year hosting a huge number of activities, creating new conversations, and elevating the status of geographic work on the topics of health and wellbeing.

For example, the ‘Conversations on Covid’ seminar series, which has been a huge success thanks to the leadership of Ailie Tam and Louise Boyle. This series has created a forum for cross-disciplinary conversations that assess the geographical consequences of this global public health crisis. These seminars have featured talks from distinguished geographers such as Angeliki Balayannis, Steve Cummins, Gareth Griffith, and Maddy Thompson. The talks have been a tremendous success in highlighting the exciting work occurring across geography that aims to grapple with the consequences of the pandemic on peoples lives and public health. It’s a series that will no doubt continue, so please do keep an eye out for future events.

The research group also hosted the 20th iteration of our Emerging and new researchers in the geographies of health and impairment conference – or ENRGHI –  ENRGHI was first hosted in 1994 under its previous name ‘Young Researchers in the Geography of Health’, since then, the conference has become highly successful, influential, and increasingly international. This year was no exception, with the conference co-hosted by the University of Salford and the University of Groningen, and reimagined for the Covid and digital era thanks to the leadership of Louise Mitchell, Tom Lowe, Gabby King, and Andy Harrod. The three day conference featured a diverse selection of thematic sessions and exciting and innovative scholarship from early career health geographers. It was also one of the most internationally attended ENRGHI conferences that I’ve had the fortune to attend, highlighting some of the positives that the move to online has brought.

The turn to online has also led the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group to continue to create supportive spaces for our colleagues and community. The ‘Get Happy and Write’ online writing groups led by Maddy Thompson and Gabby King have been a huge success in bringing people together in the era of online academia, creating a helpful environment to develop ideas but also to have those casual conversations that can be vital to wellbeing. Similarly, the little acts of kindness project has enabled the research group to reach out to people within the geography community and brighten someone’s day during a time that has been challenging for so many.

Our innovative series of blogs, Journeys, showcases the stories of geographers whose research connects to the topics of health and wellbeing. Building on the success of the series last year, this year we’ve seen contributions from Sarah Curtis, Clare Holdsworth and Phil Emmerson that offer some valuable insights into the varied pathways, research interests, expertise and experiences of those working within this field.

(Rich Gorman, chair)