Dr Helen McDonald

Assistant Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

I am a clinical epidemiologist and honorary consultant in public health. I co-lead Theme 1 'Making the most of real-world data' of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation, a partnership between LSHTM and Public Health England.

I first joined the NHS as a nursing auxiliary, then studied medicine at St John's College, Cambridge (intercalating in Philosophy) and Green College, Oxford. I was a clinical advisor to the Chief Medical Officer from 2007 to 2008, and worked as part of a team which developed national quality and safety policies and managed the development of a WHO curriculum guide to patient safety in medical schools. I completed Foundation Training as a junior doctor in London, and trained in public health, working across a variety of organisations including the Department of Health, local authority, NHS England (London), and local health protection on call.

At LSHTM, following an MSc in Epidemiology I completed a PhD in the epidemiology of infections among older people with diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease, supervised by Dorothea Nitsch and Sara Thomas and funded by Kidney Research UK.


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology


I am a module co-organiser for the Introduction to Health Data Science module of the Health Data Science MSc.


In my role for the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit im Immunisation I use electronic health records to study vaccine safety and effectiveness, and inequalities in vaccine uptake and vaccine-preventable disease.

Research Area
Electronic health records

Selected Publications

Ethnic differences in the incidence of clinically diagnosed influenza: an England population-based cohort study 2008-2018
Davidson J; Banerjee A; Mathur R; Ramsay M; Smeeth L; Walker J; McDonald H; Warren-Gash C
Wellcome Open Res
UK prevalence of underlying conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease: a point prevalence study using electronic health records.
Walker JL; Grint DJ; Strongman H; Eggo RM; Peppa M; Minassian C; Mansfield KE; Rentsch CT; Douglas IJ; Mathur R
BMC public health
Social determinants of pertussis and influenza vaccine uptake in pregnancy: a national cohort study in England using electronic health records.
Walker JL; Rentsch CT; McDonald HI; Bak J; Minassian C; Amirthalingam G; Edelstein M; Thomas S
BMJ open
OpenSAFELY: Risks of COVID-19 hospital admission and death for people with learning disabilities - a cohort study
Williamson EJ; McDonald HI; Bhaskaran K; Walker AJ; Bacon S; Davy S; Schultze A; Tomlinson L; Bates C; Ramsay M
medRxiv preprint
Predicting COVID-19 related death using the OpenSAFELY platform
Williamson EJ; Tazare J; Bhaskaran K; McDonald HI; Walker AJ; Tomlinson L; Wing K; Bacon S; Bates C; Curtis HJ
medRxiv preprint
COVID-19 in Great Britain: epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the first few hundred (FF100) cases: a descriptive case series and case control analysis
Boddington NL; Charlett A; Elgohari S; Walker JL; Mcdonald H; Byers C; Coughlan L; Garcia Vilaplana T; Whillock R; Sinnathamby M
medRxiv preprint
Prevalence of COVID-19-related risk factors and risk of severe influenza outcomes in cancer survivors: A matched cohort study using linked English electronic health records data.
Carreira H; Strongman H; Peppa M; McDonald HI; Dos-Santos-Silva I; Stanway S; Smeeth L; Bhaskaran K
Household and area-level social determinants of multimorbidity: a systematic review.
Ingram E; Ledden S; Beardon S; Gomes M; Hogarth S; McDonald H; Osborn DP; Sheringham J
Journal of epidemiology and community health
Early impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and physical distancing measures on routine childhood vaccinations in England, January to April 2020.
McDonald HI; Tessier E; White JM; Woodruff M; Knowles C; Bates C; Parry J; Walker JL; Scott JA; Smeeth L
Seasonal Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy and the Risk of Major Congenital Malformations in Live-born Infants: A 2010-2016 Historical Cohort Study.
Peppa M; Thomas SL; Minassian C; Walker JL; McDonald HI; Andrews NJ; Kempley ST; Mangtani P
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Factors associated with COVID-19-related death using OpenSAFELY.
Williamson EJ; Walker AJ; Bhaskaran K; Bacon S; Bates C; Morton CE; Curtis HJ; Mehrkar A; Evans D; Inglesby P
Methodological challenges when carrying out research on CKD and AKI using routine electronic health records.
McDonald HI; Shaw C; Thomas SL; Mansfield KE; Tomlinson LA; Nitsch D
Kidney international
Patterns of healthcare use among adolescents attending an urban general practitioner-led urgent care centre.
Gnani S; McDonald H; Islam S; Ramzan F; Davison M; Ladbrooke T; Majeed A; Saxena S
Emergency medicine journal
Comparative performance of biomarkers of alcohol consumption in a population sample of working-aged men in Russia: the Izhevsk Family Study.
McDonald H; Borinskya S; Kiryanov N; Gil A; Helander A; Leon DA
Addiction (Abingdon, England)
The WHO patient safety curriculum guide for medical schools.
Walton M; Woodward H; Van Staalduinen S; Lemer C; Greaves F; Noble D; Ellis B; Donaldson L; Barraclough B; Expert Group convened by the World Alliance of Patient Safety, a
Quality & safety in health care
What have we learned about interventions to reduce medical errors?
Woodward HI; Mytton OT; Lemer C; Yardley IE; Ellis BM; Rutter PD; Greaves FEC; Noble DJ; Kelley E; Wu AW
Annual review of public health
See more Publications