Manuel Franco

Manuel Franco, University of Alcalá

Monday, 5th October 2020 at 11:00, Virtual Seminar
REGISTER for the Manuel Franco Seminar here

Manuel Franco, University of Alcalá

Understanding Urban Environments in Relation to Population Health: The Heart Healthy Hoods European Research Council Project


The Heart Healthy Hoods (HHH) project aimed to study the associations between the social and physical features of the urban environment and population cardiovascular health in the city of Madrid. The HHH project characterised Madrid social and physical urban environment in terms of tobacco, alcohol, food and physical activity, applying different quantitative, qualitative, GIS and participatory methodologies. The HHH team included pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, co-investigators and technicians from the fields of public health, epidemiology, primary care, geography, sociology, anthropology, nursing and biology.

The HHH project has a unique and high-risk design combining urban exposure measurements with health outcomes data collected from the primary care system in the whole city of Madrid. A longitudinal cohort population-based study with 1720 participants aged 40-75 has been stablished in collaboration with over 400 primary care professionals. A follow up study of the anonymised electronic health records of 1,4 million aged 40-75 Madrid citizens who are primary care users.


Manuel Franco, Social Epidemiologist, is an associate faculty at the University of Alcalá and adjunct faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

He is the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council Starting Grant Heart Healthy Hoods ( studying urban characteristics in relation to eating patterns, physical activity levels, smoking and alcohol consumption. He is also the PI of the Participatory Project on food in the cities: Photovoice Villaverde (

Manuel Franco trained in Medicine both in Madrid and Berlin. As a Fulbright Scholar he joined the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology to obtain his PhD and Post Doctoral fellowship focusing on social epidemiology and urban health.

His work focuses on the social epidemiology and prevention of chronic diseases and their major risk factors. He has published over 80 international peer reviewed articles and has led 13 studies as PI raising over 2,5 million € in competitive international research bids.

His methodological interests include the measurement of physical and social urban characteristics related to chronic diseases, the use of mixed methods and the conduction of participatory action research methods.

He is very much interested in the dissemination of public health research participating in national and international television and radio programs and writing for newspapers and other social media.