Dr Kathryn Church
in Sexual and Reproductive Health
I am a social scientist conducting research on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and their clients in developing countries. My primary interest is in the area of reproductive health (particularly family planning and abortion) services. I am currently seconded to Marie Stopes International as their Senior Scientific Advisor within their Reserach, Monitoring and Evaluation team.
I worked previously for the World Health Organization in Geneva, with a focus on the development and dissemination of evidence-based guidelines and provider tools in family planning. I have also worked as a consultant on various SRH projects, including work on a community-based maternal and newborn health project in El Salvador, on the Iraq Family Health Survey, and on a research toolkit for maternal health. My first degree was in Geography from the University of St Andrews, followed by a Masters in Population and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. My PhD at LSHTM was on the integration of SRH and HIV services in Swaziland. This included research on both SRH behaviours among people living with HIV, as well as health service responses to address client needs.
I co-organise the Family Planning Programmes module. I teach on Family Planning Programmes (FPP), 'Foundations in Reproductive Health', 'Reserach Design and Analysis' and 'Current Issues in Safe Motherhood and Perinatal Health' (CISM) modules. I am a course tutor for the MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research, and sit on the course committee and exam boards. I currently have one PhD student investigating the impact of an m-health intervention on post-abortion family planning use in Bangladesh.
I am currently seconded to Marie Stopes International (MSI) as the Senior Scientific Advisor on their Reserach, Monitoring and Evaluation team, based in London. This involves support to international and national researchers conducting operational and evaluation studies across MSI programmes. The global team conducts numerous studies aiming to improve the scale, quality and efficiency of reprodutive health service delivery. Topics include post-abortion family planning, task-sharing for contraceptive and/or abortion provision (including to community health workers and pharmacists), quality of care and promotion of long-acting and permanent methods of contraception. I work on the development of reserach strategy and study protocols, quality assurance of the research portfolio, capacity-building of the research team, and results dissemination and reporting.
I have also been recently working on two research projects at LSHTM. One is a 'contextual analysis' for the ALPHA network, analysing policies and their implementation related to HIV service access across 6 sub-Saharan countries. This research involved a policy review and linked health facility survey. The other is the Integra Initiative, a multi-country study investigating the integration of SRH and HIV services. This study was a partnership between LSHTM, Population Council and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My PhD, which formed one sub-study within Integra, was an in-depth case study comparing four different models of HIV care and treatment (stand-alone and integrated SRH-HIV services) in Swaziland. Areas of focus were contraceptive needs and practices among people living with HIV, use of integrated services, satisfaction with care, and perceptions of HIV-related stigma. The study utilised mixed quantitative and qualitative methodologies.