Professor Joanna Schellenberg BA MSc PhD

Head of DCD and Professor of Epidemiology & International Health


My research focus is the development and evaluation of public health interventions for newborn, infant, child, and maternal survival in low and middle income countries, including evaluation of equity as well as effectiveness. I was based in Tanzania for 9 years, and have been involved in collaborative research with Ifakara Health Institute since 1992. I have a particular interest in quality improvement in health care, in community-based interventions, and in programme design for both sustainability and scale.




I teach study design on the Master's Course in Epidemiology by Distance Learning, as well as for the in-house module on Malaria Epidemiology & Control. I tutor on the MSc in Public Health in Developing Countries. 


I am the principal investigator of IDEAS: Informed Decisions for Actions to improve Maternal and Newborn Health. This measurement learning and evaluation project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the aim of improving the evidence base for maternal and newborn health programs in North-East Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Uttar Pradesh in India.

I am the LSHTM principal investigator for the evaluation of "Safe Care, Saving Lives", a CIFF-funded quality improvement project for newborn care in hospitals in Andhra Pradesh and Telegana States in India, lead by ACCESS Health International.

Previously I worked on EQUIP, an EU-funded intervention study of quality improvement, involving Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, Makerere University in Uganda, Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania and Evaplan in Germany as well as LSHTM. The intervention consisted of a quality management approach linking communities and health facilities empowered by locally generated high quality health data from continuous health surveys complemented by data from health facilities. I was principal investigator for a cluster-randomised study of a home-based counselling intervention to improve newborn survival in southern Tanzania, funded by Saving Newborn Lives, the Laerdal Foundation, and UNICEF. I was a Technical Advisor to WHO for the Multi-Country Evaluation of IMCI. From 1999 to 2004 I was Principal Investigator for the Tanzania component of the Multi-Country Evaluation of IMCI. From 1995 to 2000 I was responsible for planning, co-ordination, and day-to-day running of KINET, a malaria control project using insecticide-treated nets in a rural population of 480,000 people.

Research areas

  • Behaviour change
  • Child health
  • Complex interventions
  • Equity
  • Evaluation
  • Health inequalities
  • Health workers
  • Impact evaluation
  • Implementation research
  • Maternal health
  • Neonatal health
  • Quality improvement


  • Epidemiology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Infectious disease
  • Malaria


  • Least developed countries: UN classification
  • South Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)


  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

Other interests

  • Centre for Statistical Methodology
  • Cluster Randomised Trials
  • Community Health Workers
  • Complex Surveys
  • Diarrhoeal diseases
  • Early Newborn Infection
  • Malaria Centre
  • children
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