Professor Betty Kirkwood Ma MSc DIC FFPH FMedSci

Professor of Epidemiology & International Health


I am an epidemiologist with a statistical background and have worked at the School since 1979. My research has been driven by a desire to improve the health of young children in low and middle income countries, and of their mothers. My substantive research is accompanied by a commitment to translating research findings into health policy and programme action and to research capacity strengthening. I have an extensive network of overseas collaborators and close links with the World Health Organization. I am a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and of the Academy of Medical Sciences.




I contribute to a range of in house MSc courses including epidemiology in practice, statistics with computing, study design, public health lecture series, and current issues in safe motherhood and perinatal health. I am tutor to the MSc Public Health in Developing Countries. I enjoy teaching and believe in a student-centred, problem-based approach. I am committed to making complex methodological concepts accessible to non-specialists; this led to my textbook “Essential Medical Statistics”, first published in 1988. The second edition of Essential Medical Statistics is co-authored with Jonathan Sterne and was published in May 2003 ( I also very much enjoy tutoring research degree students.


My main current research interests are trials evaluating the impact of:

I am also a member of the strategic management group for the Informed Decisions for Actions (IDEAS) project, which aims to build a better evidence base to guide future maternal and newborn health programmes.

Research areas

  • Behaviour change
  • Child health
  • Clinical trials
  • Complex interventions
  • Impact evaluation
  • Implementation research
  • Micronutrients
  • Perinatal health
  • Randomised controlled trials


  • Epidemiology
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Malnutrition
  • Mental health


  • Least developed countries: UN classification
  • South Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)


  • Ghana
  • India
  • Mozambique
  • Pakistan
  • Uganda

Other interests

  • Breastfeeding
  • Child Development
  • Child Survival
  • Cluster Randomised Trials
  • Community Based Health Agents
  • Maternal And Child Health
  • Member Of MARCH
  • Neonatal Mortality
  • Parenting
  • Population Based Interventions
  • nutritional epidemiology
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