Dr Kathryn Church

Honorary Assistant Professor

United Kingdom

I am a senior technical expert, researcher and strategist with over 20 years experience working on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programming and research. My primary interest is operational and social research on reproductive health policy and services (particularly family planning and abortion). I have worked in multi-lateral organisations, acadaemia, service-delivery NGOs and consultancy. This included five years at the World Health Organization, working on the development and implementation of evidence-based tools and guidelines on family planning; seven years at LSHTM, researching the integration of HIV and SRH programmes, as well as HIV programme quality; and five years at MSI Reproductive Choices, as Director of Global Evidence, where I led a team of analysts, researchers and HMIS staff supporting data-driven SRH programming across 37 countries. I am currently an Independent Consultant, and retain my Honorary staff affiliation at LSHTM, undertaking some teaching, MSc and PhD advisory work.

I have a PhD in Public Health Medicine from LSHTM, and a Masters in Population and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have lived and worked in UK, Switzerland, El Salvador, eSwatini, South Africa and Tanzania. I have conducted research on health programmes across a wide range of countries (low-, middle- and high-income).


Department of Population Health
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


I teach on the following modules:
- Family Planning Programmes (FPP) - lectures on health systems and MEL
- Foundations in Reproductive Health - lecture on the history and politics of family planning programmes
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy & Practice (online MSc) - lectures on family planning

I help supervise summer projects for the MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research. I also am on the advisory board for PhD or DrPH students.


I am currently involved in several research consultancies including development of a SRH research strategy for MSI Reproductive Choices; MEL support to a network of abortion innovators; research on abortion-related mortality of female sex workers, with Global Health Promise; and a situational analysis of humanitarian provision of reproductive healthcare with MSI Afghanistan.

In my role as Director of Evidence at MSI Reproductive Choices (MSI), I oversaw a portfolio of formative, operational and clinical research projects. Studies or data analytics covered a wide range of themes, including self-care/pharmacy provision, adolescent SRH, quality improvement, health financing, task-sharing, coverage and reach to marginalised or vulnerable groups, and introduction of new SRH technologies. We also focused on evidence dissemination, and among other initiatives I managed the development of MSI's SafeAccess hub for abortion evidence. I also managed our HMIS team, who developed and embedded front-line data collection systems, and developed tools to enable data-driven decision-making. I was also MSI's Learning lead on the 22-country FCDO Women's Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme.

In my previous roles at LSHTM, I conducted research for the ALPHA network, analysing HIV policies and their implementation in services access across six African countries; and for the Integra Initiative, a multi-country study investigating the integration of SRH and HIV services, and a partnership between LSHTM, Population Council and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. 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.

I have experience and expertise in conducting both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including cross-sectional and prospective surveys (community and health service surveys), systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, interrupted time-series analysis, policy analysis, in-depth interviews, focus groups and participatory reserach and evaluation.
Research Area
Health services research
Health policy
Operational research
Qualitative research
Statistical methods
Reproductive health
Adolescent health
Maternal health
Mobile technologies
Disease and Health Conditions
El Salvador
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)
East Asia & Pacific (all income levels)
South Asia
Latin America & Caribbean (all income levels)
European Union

Selected Publications

The preventable burden of mortality from unsafe abortion among female sex workers: a Community Knowledge Approach survey among peer networks in eight countries.
Willis, B; CHURCH, K; Perttu, E; Thompson, H; Weerasinghe, S; Macias-Konstantopoulos, W;
Sexual and reproductive health matters
The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on abortion care: a time series analysis of data from Marie Stopes Nepal.
Horan, C; PALMER, M; Shrestha, R; Erlank, CP; CHURCH, K;
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters
Safety, Quality, and Acceptability of Contraceptive Implant Provision by Community Health Extension Workers versus Nurses and Midwives in Two States in Nigeria.
Douthwaite, M; Alabi, O; Odogwu, K; REISS, K; Taiwo, A; Ubah, E; Uko-Udoh, A; Afolabi, K; CHURCH, K; Fenty, J; Munroe, E;
Studies in Family Planning
Treading the Thin Line: Pharmacy Workers' Perspectives on Medication Abortion Provision in Lusaka, Zambia.
Footman, K; Chelwa, N; Douthwaite, M; Mdala, J; Mulenga, D; Brander, C; CHURCH, K;
Studies in family planning
Can universal health coverage eliminate unsafe abortion?
Footman, K; Dessalegn, B; Hayes, G; CHURCH, K;
Reproductive health under COVID-19 - challenges of responding in a global crisis.
CHURCH, K; Gassner, J; Elliott, M;
Unintended Consequences of mHealth Interactive Voice Messages Promoting Contraceptive Use After Menstrual Regulation in Bangladesh: Intimate Partner Violence Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial.
REISS, K; Andersen, K; Pearson, E; Biswas, K; Taleb, F; Ngo, TD; Hossain, A; Barnard, S; SMITH, C; CARPENTER, J; Menzel, J; Footman, K; Keenan, K; Douthwaite, M; Reena, Y; Mahmood, HR; Tabbassum, T; COLOMBINI, M; BACCHUS, L; CHURCH, K;
Global health, science and practice
Medical Abortion Provision by Pharmacies and Drug Sellers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review.
Footman, K; Keenan, K; REISS, K; Reichwein, B; Biswas, P; CHURCH, K;
Stud Fam Plann
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