Dr Ruth Ponsford


Assistant Professor

219, LSHTM

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

0207 958 8101

I am Assistant Professor in School Health Intervention Research in the Department of Public Health Environments and Society (PHES).  I have recently completed a pilot cluster RCT of a new whole-school relationships and sex education programme for secondary schools in England.  Prior to this, I worked with the School for Public Health Research at LSHTM (SPHR@L) on phase 1 & 2 of the Communities in Control (CiC) study - an independent evaluation of the the impact of a major area-based community empowerment initiative on health inequalities and their social determinants. For more information see:

Before joining in LSHTM in 2014, I worked for the Terence Higgins Trust (THT) managing delivery of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) in health services in south west London.  I have also worked on the monitoring and evaluation of various STI screening initiatives throughout England for the charity Brook, who provide sexual health and wellbeing services for young people under 25.

I hold an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Sociology and a Masters degree in Social Research.  MY PhD in Sociology was a qualitative study of the experiences of low-income young mothers living in the city of Bristol, England.


Department of Public Health, Environments and Society
Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


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


I am module organiser for the Principles of Social Research (PSR) module and a tutor on the MSc Public Health. At the School, I also teach on the Qualitative Methodologies, Sexual Health and Evaluation of Public Health Interventions modules.

In addition, I am a visiting lecturer on the MA in Childhood and Youth Studies at Sussex University and an Advanced Skills Tutor (AST) for the Brilliant Club, a charity that seeks to increase the number of children from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).


My main areas of research are adolescent health and wellbeing, particularly sexual health and sex education, and the social determinants of health and health inequalities.  My work has focussed on the experience of teenage pregnancy and parenting, school-based interventions to improve health (particularly sexual health) and community empowerment. 

I am currently working with Professor Chris Bonell on a systematic review of the impact of interventions that modify the school environment on adolescent substance use and violence.

I have methodological interests in the evaluation of complex public health interventions and the use of creative qualitative methods in research more broadly.  I also have interests in the understanding use of different forms of evidence in public health policy and practice and co-production in intervention design and research.

Research Area
Complex interventions
Health inequalities
Public health
Sexual health
Adolescent health
Evidence use
Qualitative methods
Reproductive health
Social Sciences
Social Policy
United Kingdom