Ruth Willis BA MSc PhD

Honorary Research Fellow


My first degree was in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford, followed by MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM. I then worked as a Research Assistant in the Department for Social and Environmental Health Research (then known as PEHRU) for three years before beginning my PhD.

During this time I assisted with the organisation of a conference and subsequent publications about ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Health’, UK Environment Agency funded research about cumulative impacts of environmental inequality on human health, and a Wellcome Trust funded study about involving London teenagers in conducting public health research, 'It's our Science, our Society, Our Health'. I was also involved in co-ordinating and teaching at an annual LSHTM residential summer school for 15-16 year-olds, 'Science for all People's Health' , funded by the European Social Forum as part of the national 'Aimhigher' programme to encourage young people from low-income areas to enter higher education.

I have also held volunteer roles on the Independent Monitoring Board at a London Immigration Removal Centre, and with Doctors of the World UK (Medecins du Monde) as an outreach worker with undocumented migrants and female sex workers.




I have been involved in teaching for the School's London based and Distance Learning Masters programmes in Public Health, Epidemiology and Global Health Policy since 2004.


My PhD research explored intersecting perspectives on young children’s health and well-being in a cluster of Achuar indigenous communities in the mid Corrientes River region of the Peruvian Amazon.

It was funded jointly by the UK ESRC/MRC through an ‘Interdisciplinary’ Studentship, and won the 2015-16 LSHTM Jerry Morris Prize for outstanding research.

I am currently on a career break looking after my young family.

Research areas

  • Child health
  • Environmental Health
  • Ethnography
  • Food
  • Global Health
  • Health inequalities
  • Health workers
  • Mixed methods
  • Public health
  • Qualitative methods
  • Social and structural determinants of health


  • Anthropology
  • Epidemiology
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Diarrhoeal diseases
  • Malnutrition


  • Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)


  • Peru
  • United Kingdom

Other interests

  • Community Health Workers
  • Indigenous Health
  • Infant and Young Child Feeding
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Social Theory
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