Professor Joy Lawn


Director of MARCH Center


Keppel Street
United Kingdom


Joy has lived and worked in many African countries, including  as a 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 been Director Global Evidence and Policy for Gates Foundation funded Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) programme of Save the Children, working with governments and partners to scale up and evaluate newborn care including leadership in the Every Newborn Lancet series and Action Plan.

She has published over 150 peer reviewed papers, with a combined average annual citation of 600, as well as a range of chapters, books and policy relevant reports. Since 2004, Joy has coordinated the United Nation’s Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group’s (CHERG) Neonatal Team and coordinated the GBD Expert team for neonatal and congenital conditions, co-leading several Lancet series on newborn survival and stillbirths. She is on the scientific committee of Countdown to 2015 and co-chairs the Health Systems and Policy Working Group.

She is also a founding Board Member of Powerfree Education and Technology, a South African not-for-profit organization developing and testing innovative, wind-up technology to improve maternal, newborn and child survival, which has won awards and a number of grants. 


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Evaluation
Evidence on Disability
Malaria Centre
Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


Co-organiser of the Foundations in Reproductive Health module for the MSc on RSHR, and contributing to teaching throughout the academic year for example on the DTM&H as well as supervising and co-supervising several PhDs. Currently no scope for new PhDs.


Her research is focused on RMNCH, ranging from burden estimation and life course epidemiology including improving the input data, through to implementation research and impact assessment.  She developed with Simon Cousens, 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 ever 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. Currently working on estimates of Group B Strep infections worldwide, with Anna Seale and others. She continues to work with teams of experts to improve lifecourse epidemiological, with increasing focus on impairment free survival. She works on improved health system measurement, intervention trials and a number of large scale evaluations.

Research Area
Child health
Clinical guidelines
Health impact analysis
Health policy
Health services research
Health systems
Maternal health
Perinatal health
Quality improvement
Research : policy relationship
Global Health
International comparisons
Neonatal health
Reproductive health
Life-course epidemiology
Policy analysis
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted infection
Least developed countries: UN classification
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)