Professor Joy Lawn


of Maternal, Reproductive & Child Health, Director of MARCH Center


Keppel Street
United Kingdom


Joy has lived and worked in East, West and Southern Africa, including  as a clinical lecturer and neonatalogist in Ghana in the 1990s. She shifted to public health and global estimation working at the WHO Collaborating Center, CDC Atlanta, USA (1998-2001), and then at the Institute of Child Health, London, UK (2001-2004), completing a Masters of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta and a PhD in perinatal epidemiology at University College London, UK. For ten years she was Director Global Evidence and Policy for Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) at Save the Children, funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has working with governments and partners to scale up and evaluate newborn care including leadership in Lancet Every Newborn series and Action Plan, leading to the first SDG on neonatal survival.

Joy joined LSHTM in 2013 and has been Director or Co-Director of the MARCH Centre, and helped to build diverse teams, and expand funding for research on newborn health and stillbirths. She has been appointed to the UK Academies of Medical Science and the US National Academies of Medicine, and been awarded sveral global prizes. 

She has published over 320 peer reviewed papers (H index >110), as well as a range of chapters, books and policy relevant reports. She co-led several Lancet series on newborn survival and stillbirths. She is currently co-chair for The Lancet Commission on Implementation and Evidence. 


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Evaluation
Malaria Centre
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


Joy teaches on MSc for Sexual and Reproductive Health Research, Maternal and Child Nutrition and several other MSc modules throughout the academic year.

Supervising or co-supervising several PhDs.

(Currently no scope for new PhDs - Sorry)


Joy's research is covers maternal, newborn and child health, ranging from burden estimation and life course epidemiology including improving the input data, through to implementation research and impact assessment.  She co-developed the first national cause-of-death estimates for 4 million neonatal deaths, published in 2005 in The Lancet Neonatal series and WHO World Health Report.

She also co-led The Lancet stillbirth series in 2011 and 2016 including developing WHO’s first national estimates of stillbirth rates, highlighting 2.6 million stillbirths worldwide. In 2011 she coordinated the first national estimates for preterm birth, published in Lancet (with Hannah Blencowe and Simon Cousens) and co-led the team for The Born Too Soon report, with over 50 partner agencies to outline the data and actions to address 15 million preterm births, garnering major media attention. Coordianted the team that developed the first estimates of Group B Strep infections worldwide. She works on improved health system measurement, intervention trials and a number of large scale evaluations.

Lead for NEST360 health systems and economic evalaution team at LSHTM, working with 4 African governments to scale small and sick newborn care. 

Involved in two trials of early KMC for unstable newborns:  OMWaNA  with JGHT funding and eKMC in MRC Gambia with Wellcome Trust funding.

Research Area
Child health
Clinical guidelines
Clinical trials
Complex interventions
Economic evaluation
Health impact analysis
Health policy
Health services research
Health systems
Maternal health
Perinatal health
Quality improvement
Research : policy relationship
Capacity strengthening
Global Health
International comparisons
Mixed methods
Neonatal health
Reproductive health
Health economics
Life-course epidemiology
Operational research
Policy analysis
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted disease
Hospital acquired infection
Sexually transmitted infection
Least developed countries: UN classification
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)