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Dr Merlin L Willcox 

Academic Clinical Lecturer

Dr Merlin L Willcox's photo

Dr Merlin Willcox is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in the School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education. He has worked as a GP in the NHS since 2003 and currently works in a practice in Oxford as well as in the Out of Hours service. His research interests include global health, clinical trials of herbal medicines, and improving care for vulnerable people.


Dr Merlin Willcox is a General Medical Practitioner and Academic Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences at the University of Southampton, with research interests in the care of vulnerable people, global health, and traditional (particularly herbal) medicine. He has researched different aspects of primary health care in low-income countries, with a particular focus on child health, malaria and traditional medicines. He led a pilot confidential enquiry into maternal and child deaths in Uganda and Mali from 2011 to 2015. He has been involved in several clinical trials of herbal medicines in Uganda, Madagascar, Mali and the UK and coordinates the RITAM network (Research Initiative on Traditional Antimalarial Methods).



BA, Medical Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1995

BM BCh, Medicine and Surgery, University of Oxford, 1998

DPhil, University of Oxford, 2016

Diploma in Child Health, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, 1999

Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG, London), 2000

Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (RCOG, London), 2002

Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (Royal College of Physicians, London), 2002

Diploma in Genito-Urinary Medicine (Society of Apothecaries, London), 2003

Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (London), 2003

Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (University of Liverpool), 2004

Postgraduate Diploma in Herbal Medicine (University of East London), 2006

Certificate in the Management of Drug Misuse, parts 1 and 2 (RCGP, London), 2009

Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Trials (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), 2010




Research interests

Global health, clinical trials, herbal medicines, child health, alcohol

PhD supervision: Dr Willcox is currently co-supervising Jessica Price, DPhil student at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford

PhD Research: Dr Willcox DPhil was entitled “Confidential enquiry into child deaths in two contrasting settings in Africa: an exploratory study”, supervised by Prof David Mant and Prof Anthony Harnden (University of Oxford). The research was undertaken as part of the HURAPRIM project, funded by the EU FP7 Africa-Call-2010 under grant agreement n° 265727.


Research Projects:

HURAPRIM project (Human Resources for Primary Care in Africa).

MUTHI project (Multi-University Traditional Health Initiative)

ATAFUTI trial (Alternative Treatments for Adult Female Urinary Tract Infections)

Pelargonium study (Pilot study of Pelargonium for lower respiratory tract infections)


Research group

Primary Care & Population Sciences

Affiliate research group

Primary Care Research group

Research project(s)

ATAFUTI Alternative treatments of adult female urinary tract infection

Family Planning: Fact or Fiction?

In this project, we would like to develop and evaluate health education films on family planning in two areas of Uganda.

HATRIC - Herbal Alternative Treatment (Pelargonium) for lower Respiratory tract Infections with Cough in adults

Acute chest infections are common and antibiotics are often prescribed despite them having limited impact on the symptoms. Finding a safe and effective way to control the symptoms associated with a chest infection, particularly cough, could help reduce antibiotic use.

ORCHID 2 - Standardised Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menstrual Irregularity in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Nominal Group Technique and Prospective Observational Study

The aim of this project is to improve quality of life for people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by exploring new treatments for related oligo- and amenorrhoea (i.e. irregular or absent menstrual periods due to PCOS).

Chinese Herbal medicine to aid AnTibiotic use reduction in exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Qualitative study on community pharmacists’ perspectives of recommending herbal medicine in acute infections

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Book Chapter

  • Willcox, M., Nicholson, B. D., & Mant, D. (2015). Primary Health Care. In B. Nicholson, J. McKimm, & A. Allen (Eds.), Global Health (pp. 109-121). London: SAGE Publications.



Dr Merlin L Willcox
Primary Care and Population Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton
Aldermoor Health Centre
Aldermoor Close
SO16 5ST

Room Number: 9590 AHC/120/S2

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