June 24th, 2024

Remembering David Ormandy

Last Friday, June 21, friends and colleagues from around the world paid tribute to the great British healthy homes researcher and advocate, David Ormandy, who passed away on April 11 at the age of 78 after a long illness.

Among those who eulogized Professor Ormandy was NCHH Chief Scientist Dr. David Jacobs, whose written and recorded remarks are included below.

I think I first met my very good friend and dear colleague David Ormandy at the second WHO healthy housing conference in Vilnius back in 2004, although maybe it was earlier. Over the ensuing years, we often found ourselves agreeing with each other on many issues. I always admired his ability to change how housing inspections were done in his country so that they included health, along with many of you here today. When I asked him how he and others had accomplished that huge victory, he just smiled in that special way of his and with his characteristic modesty said, “I just got started on this earlier than you did in the States.”

A bearded and bespectacled man, Professor David Ormandy, poses in front of a forest and lake.

David Ormandy (1945-2024). Photo credit: University of Warwick.

On one of my visits to England, I remember he took us on a tour of some new housing there, where he would excoriate some poor design. We also brought him over to the States to see how the Housing Health and Rating System might get adapted to the U.S., a work still in progress. His insights were extremely helpful. He also had many good friends and colleagues in the States and around the globe, a testament to his stature and humanity.

We wrote a number of papers together and edited a WHO book with Matthias Braubach there. And we corresponded frequently. His focus on not only being correct but also being practical is a lesson I have never forgotten.

We also had much fun together, with that dry British humor of his. His impatience was infectious, and he always insisted on taking action sooner rather than later. We had some great times in pubs, and his humor always made my day so much brighter and happier.

I was able to see him again just a few years ago. I asked him what he thought about the special seed he had planted so many years ago. He was always so modest, but he was so very happy to be a part of our worldwide healthy housing community. His memory will continue to light our way.

A school I attended many years ago adopted Horace Mann’s instruction: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” And indeed, David won so many victories for us all. It has been said that remembrance is perhaps the greatest of all human gifts. I will always remember his leadership, his insistence on doing the right thing, his special humor and love of people, and his special friendship.

Dr. Jacobs also recorded a video tribute for the celebration of Professor Ormandy’s life, which we’ve included below.

The National Center for Healthy Housing recalls Professor Ormandy’s visit to our offices fondly. We miss his warmth and humor but are honored to have worked with him and called him a friend.


Learn more about Professor Ormandy’s groundbreaking work and impact by reading these related articles.

Battersby, S. (2024, April 17). Professor David Ormandy 1945 -2024. Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website.

Legal Action Group. (2024, April 28). Tributes paid to housing justice pioneer David Ormandy.

Randall, B. (2024, May 27). David Ormandy obituary. The Guardian. Online.

School of Law, University of Warwick. (2024). David Ormandy. University of Warwick website.


The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is a leading national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives by transforming housing. Since 1992, NCHH has served as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity building under one roof to reduce health disparities nationwide. Follow NCHH on X (@NCHH), Instagram (@nchhorg), or LinkedIn, become a fan on Facebook, or subscribe to NCHH’s YouTube channel.


June 24th, 2024 | Posted in News