Dr Rebecca French


Associate Professor
of Sexual and Reproductive Health Research

Room 226

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 20 7927 2047

I am a Public Health researcher with experience of policy-related research, intervention development and evaluation. I have worked in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Research for 30 years. Interests include how preferences affect choice in healthcare, specifically around fertility-related decision-making, reproductive health and well-being, and how new technologies can be used to promote better SRH.

I am Chair of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' SRH Clinical Studies Group, housed in the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health (FSRH). In 2021, I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship with the FSRH.

I also have an honorary contract with Public Health England.


Department of Public Health, Environments and Society
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


I give lectures on two MSc modules, Family Planning Programmes and Sexual Health, and am a seminar leader on Principles and Practices of Public Health and Sexual Health. Each year I tutor/supervise projects for around three MSc students.  

Since 2017 I have been Chair of the Distance Learning MSc in Public Health Exam Board.


In 2020, I was awarded NIHR funding to co-lead the SACHA study with Prof Kaye and a collaborative international team, which aims to provide the necessary evidence to reconfigure health services against a backcloth of recent regulatory and therapeutic trends in abortion provision and care. Also in 2020, I was commissioned by Public Health England to lead a team charged with designing and piloting a Reproductive Health Tracking Survey, aimed at providing a standard research instrument to be used for national tracking as well as by community level agencies.

Other current or recent studies have focused on ethics and contraceptive use, fertility awareness, young people’s contraceptive use and digital methods of providing sexual health advice. I am a member of the fourth National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-4) Reproductive Health Working Group and have led on papers on contraceptive prevalence and sources of supply for Natsal-2 and 3.

I am currently supervising four doctoral students and am a Department Research Degrees Co-ordinator.

Research Area
Decision analysis
Health services research
Public health
Sexual health
Adolescent health
Behaviour change
Evidence use
Reproductive health
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Mental health
Sexually transmitted infection
United Kingdom
Euro area

Selected Publications

Improving experience of medical abortion at home in a changing therapeutic, technological and regulatory landscape: a realist review
Baraitser P; Free C; Norman W; Lewandowska M; Meiksin R; Palmer M; Scott R; French R; Wellings K; Ivory A
Which Structural Interventions for Adolescent Contraceptive Use Have Been Evaluated in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
Burchett HED; Kneale D; Griffin S; de Melo M; Picardo JJ; French RS
International journal of environmental research and public health
Safetxt: A randomised controlled trial of a behavioural intervention delivered by text messages to reduce sexually transmitted re-infections in people aged 16-24
Free C; Palmer M; McCarthy O; Jerome L; Berendes S; Knight M; Carpenter J; Morris T; Jamal Z; Dhaliwal F
British Medical Journal
Effects of gender-transformative relationships and sexuality education to reduce adolescent pregnancy (the JACK trial): a cluster-randomised trial.
Lohan M; Brennan-Wilson A; Hunter R; Gabrio A; McDaid L; Young H; French R; Aventin Á; Clarke M; McDowell C
The Lancet Public Health
Should COVID-specific arrangements for abortion continue? The views of women experiencing abortion in Britain during the pandemic.
Lohr PA; Lewandowska M; Meiksin R; Salaria N; Cameron S; Scott RH; Reiter J; Palmer MJ; French RS; Wellings K
Achieving proportional representation in a reproductive health survey through social media: process and recommendations.
McCarthy OL; Palmer MJ; Gubijev A; Wellings K; Mann S; Leon L; Callaghan F; Patterson S; French RS
BMC Public Health
Are we prepared for change? The need for evidence on healthcare practitioner readiness for current and future trends in abortion provision in the UK.
French RS; Shawe J; Palmer MJ; Reiter J; Wellings K; SACHA Study Team
BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
(Not) talking about fertility: the role of digital technologies and health services in helping plan pregnancy. A qualitative study.
French RS; Shawe J; Tilouche N; Earle S; Grenfell P
BMJ sexual & reproductive health
See more Publications