Dr Sarah Polack

Associate Professor

United Kingdom

I am an Associate Professor in Disability Research at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED) at LSHTM.

I completed my PhD at LSHTM in 2008 and initially worked with the International Centre for Eye Health on epidemiological research on vision impairment. I joined the International Centre for Evidence in Disability, when it formed in 2010, and have worked on a range of quantitative and mixed methods research projects related to disability.


Department of Population Health
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Evaluation


I am a Departmental Research Degree Coordinator for the Department of Population Health and Exam Board Chair for the Global Mental Health MSc. I teach on the Global Disability & Mental Health module, am a personal tutor for students on the Global Mental Health MSc. I recently coordinated a work experience programme for people with disabilities wishing to gain experience of research at LSHTM.

I am primary supervisor for four research degree students (Phillip Sheppard: Experiences of older people with disabilities in humanitarian crises; Tim O'Fallon: Access to rehabilitation for people with disabilities in the Maldives; Giulia Oggera: Assistive technology in humanitarian crises and David Musendo: Parent-level interventions to support inclusive education in Malawi)


My research has included developing methods for, and supporting implementation of, population surveys to i) estimate prevalence of disability and impairment and related service (health, AT, rehabilitation) needs and ii) generate disability-dissagregated data to identify and monitor inequalities and disparities in inclusion. I have also worked on mixed method and qualitative projects, exploring the lived experience and inclusion of people with disabilities in different settings and developing and pilot testing interventions aimed at improving health and well-being of people with disabilities.

I am currently working on two main projects as Principal Investigator. The first is a study exploring access to education and employment for young people with disabilities in 7 African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal. Working in partnership with research institutions in each country and guided by an advisory group of young people with disabilities, the project includes policy reviews and interviews with stakeholders and youth with disabilities from each of the countries. The second project, is developing a survey tool and bespoke app to assess impairments, functioning and related service and assistive product needs across seven functional domains (Funded by UK Aid through the AT2030 programme ( led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub).

Selected Publications

Functional Needs Assessment Tool (FNAT) Supplementary Materials
BOGGS, D; Birabwa, A; Adkins, S; Atijosan-Ayodele, O; Bulathwela, S; De Cates, C; Doggett, T; FOSTER, A; KUPER, H; Holloway, C; Mugisha, J; POLACK, S; FNAT team,;
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Development of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) guidelines for deaf and hard of hearing children in the Gaza Strip.
SCHERER, N; Hussein, R; Eaton, J; Kabaja, N; KAKUMA, R; SMYTHE, T; POLACK, S;
PLOS global public health
A Systematic Review of Interventions Promoting Parental Involvement in the Education of School-Aged Children With Disabilities
Musendo, DJ; SCHERER, N; Jepkosgei, J; Maweu, L; Mupiwa, A; Hara, O; POLACK, S; Patel, D;
Australasian journal of special and inclusive education
Communication, inclusion and psychological wellbeing among deaf and hard of hearing children: A qualitative study in the Gaza Strip.
SCHERER, N; SMYTHE, T; Hussein, R; Wapling, L; HAMEED, S; Eaton, J; Kabaja, N; KAKUMA, R; POLACK, S;
Plos global public health
Prevalence of Cognitive Impairment and Its Association With Hearing Loss Among Adults Over 50 Years of Age: Results From a Population-Based Survey in Santiago, Chile.
Tamblay, N; BOGGS, D; Huidobro, B; Tapia-Mora, D; Anabalon, K; Delgado, C; POLACK, S; Bright, T; Torrente, MC;
American journal of audiology
Disability and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage in the Maldives.
PloS One
People with Disabilities in Ukraine – A Call for Action
Patwary, MM; POLACK, S; Zharkova, A; Swed, S; Shoib, S;
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Effective cataract surgical coverage in adults aged 50 years and older: estimates from population-based surveys in 55 countries.
MCCORMICK, I; BUTCHER, R; EVANS, JR; MACTAGGART, IZ; Limburg, H; Jolley, E; Sapkota, YD; Oye, JE; Mishra, SK; BASTAWROUS, A; Furtado, JM; Joshi, A; Xiao, B; Ravilla, TD; Bourne, RR A; Cieza, A; Keel, S; BURTON, MJ; RAMKE, J; RAAB International Co-Author Group,;
Lancet global health
Anxiety and depression in Guatemala: Sociodemographic characteristics and service access.
Naber, J; MACTAGGART, I; Dionicio, C; POLACK, S;
PLoS One
Evaluating the inclusion of tympanometry in population-based surveys of hearing loss.
Bright, T; Youngs, R; Faal, Y; Hydara, A; Yip, JL Y; MACTAGGART, I; POLACK, S;
The Journal of laryngology and otology
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