About the Institute

The Tuke Institute provides a platform for collaborative, applied/translational research and acts an independent think-tank; its aim is to better medical services for the public’s benefit first and foremost. Medicine is defined in its original sense, as “what ill people need to get well and stay well”; this is therefore greater than what pharmaceutical and surgical forms of (bio)medicine provide, and includes physical, mental, and social medicine across multiple, medical professions.

In brief, we aim to change disease-services into health-services.

The Institute:

  1. carries out health-services research, either directly with the Chairman and trainees through collaborations with various scientists and organisations
  2. provides a virtual platform for collaborative research for independent scholars in the field of health-services
  3. provides training and mentorship to graduate health-scientists in areas of health-services’ science and policy, including clinical epidemiology and statistics
  4. promotes standards in medical practice and related aspects of science and technology, with a particular interest in patients’ provision of data (PROMS, patient input to medical records), and digital health technology
  5. provides consulting to health-services on patient-experience data in quality-improvement, risk-management, and audit; optimal methods of patient-participation; systems-analysis and re-design of physical and/or mental health-services; coaching clinicians and managers on implementation and leadership; et sim.
  6. provides expert-witness services in areas of policy and medical practice to legal and statutory Inquiries etc, and consultancy to law-firms (but no longer as an independent witness, due to systemic abuses by lawyers), on issues such as informed consent, patient-abuse, clinician malpractice, mental injury, et sim.

The name “Tuke”

The Tuke Institute is named after William Tuke (1732-1822), a leading Quaker philanthropist and merchant who reformed radically the medical treatment of ill people.

He first became concerned with how medicine was then practised after a fellow Quaker with a mental illness died in the York Asylum, England; Tuke was rightly appalled by the inhumane practices at the hospital, not least the fact that people were chained to the wall at the neck and around the body, without proper food or sanitation. So, in the Spring of 1792 …

What makes this organisation a bit different

The Institute was founded in 2007 by its current chairman, Dr. Rupert Whitaker, to promote, firstly, the contribution of patients’ lived experience of illness — and of health-services — to the design, delivery, and governance of those same health-services. To do this, he convened a group of clinicians, scientists, and advocates living with, and personally caring for others with, a range of health-conditions…


Since 2007, scientists, faculty, students, advocates, clinicians, and/or policy-makers from the following organisations have collaborated with the Tuke Institute in research-, teaching-, and consulting-projects:

National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, UK
University of Roehampton, Surrey, UK
Queen Mary University, London, UK
St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK
Dept. Health and Social Care, UK
University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
Østfold University College, Halden, Norway
Thebody.com, New York City, NY, USA
University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
New York University, NYC, NY, USA
City University, New York City, NY, USA
Jawaharlal University, New Delhi, India
George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA
University of Essex, Colchester, UK
University of West London, UK
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
Inland University of Applied Sciences, Hamar, Norway

Current projects

As of mid-2020, the projects that are being worked on with a variety of collaborators are:

  1. Reviewing methods and issues with public and patient-participation in health-services, relating to the values and practices of participatory democracy
  2. Seeking funding for the development of digital health technology:
    • to monitor patients’ health-status in real-time
    • to ensure informed consent for all stages of treatment, including outcome-data for individual clinicians
    • to monitor clinician-effectiveness
  3. Assessing the cognitive and emotional problems involved in the differential diagnosis and stigmatisation by physicians of people with “medically unexplained symptoms“, somatoform, and “functional” neurological disorders.
  4. Promoting standards for quality-improvement in health-services (e.g., National Institute for Health and Care Excellent, Quality-standard 15 on “Patient experience in adult NHS services”)
  5. Creating patient-centred standards for medical services in chronic illnesses, using HIV-services as an example
  6. Publishing results from:
    1. An assessment of the quality of medical evidence in civil and criminal litigation on the British justice-systems, with reference to the case of R. v Clark (Sally), [2003] EWCA Crim 1020 — an analysis of physicians’ scientific and analytic competencies and quality of opinion
    2. An international survey of patients’ relationships to medical services for HIV, relating to patients’ (dis)engagement from services, mental impact of HIV-disease across patient-generations, and medication-adherence.


Dr. Rupert Whitaker OBE is the founder and chairman of the Tuke Institute. He has worked for 40 years in the fields of medicine, science, and community advocacy, with a keen focus on empowering individuals to care and advocate for their own health. A clinician-scientist, expert medical witness, a public speaker, and consultant internationally, he was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours list in June 2022 for services to charity and public health.


As the Tuke Institute provides a virtual platform for health-scientists to collaborate internationally on projects relevant to the Institute’s goals, it creates virtual research-groups on an ad hoc basis for the purpose of carrying out projects generated by the Tuke Institute, other research- or policy-organisations, or independent scholars.



There is a core group of advisors who very kindly provide input whenever asked, including:


Contact the Chair



The Tuke Institute is grateful to the following:

Our collaborative work is powered by Podio’s project-management platform, provided free for non-profit organisations, which is designed to easily manage teams, projects and much more on one central platform, integrated with many third-party platforms, including Google. Thank you, Podio!