Dr Julia Lohmann
15-17 Tavistock Place
I am a health systems researcher with a background in psychology and a specific research interest in Human Resources for Health. I joined LSHTM in 2019 as a Wellcome Trust fellow, having previously completed my PhD on the impact of Performance-based Financing on health worker motivation in Malawi and Burkina Faso at Heidelberg University in Germany.
My areas of expertise include impact and process evaluation of complex health systems interventions as well as exploratory and cross-sectional research in low and middle income countries, using mixed and multi-methods approaches. I have particular experience in the measurement of psychological and other complex intangible constructs with psychometric methods in settings yet lacking culturally appropriate, validated measurement tools.
My current main research project investigates mental health of health workers across 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Health workers are at high risk of poor mental wellbeing due to their particularly strenuous work demands. This is a particular concern in heavily constrained health systems, such as in most low and lower-middle-income countries. To date, however, little attention has been payed to this issue by research and practice. The study therefore aims to assess psychological wellbeing of health workers and to understand reasons for poor (or good) psychological wellbeing as well as potential consequences for performance and turnover, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
In response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, I am leading a qualitative study on the psychosocial impacts on health workers in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, and Senegal. Research during or in the wake of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 has described the profound impact on health workers mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. However, many questions remain open. The current pandemic offers an opportunity to fill gaps in knowledge by capturing health workers experiences and their effect on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing throughout the evolution of the outbreak, using a mix of “traditional” qualitative interviews conducted remotely and regular follow-up via WhatsApp audio messages. By documenting “in real time” what health workers at the frontline of a disease outbreak go through, we aim to inform current support activities, and to generate useful information for policy makers and managers designing future disease outbreak strategies and interventions.