Dr Ruth Willis
BA MSc PhD
in Social Science
15-17 Tavistock Place
I am a social scientist and my research focuses on social aspects of health, particularly for marginalised groups and communities. I have a PhD in Sociology and Public Health and an MSc in Epidemiology from LSHTM, and a BA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford.
I have also held volunteer roles on the Independent Monitoring Board at a London Immigration Removal Centre, and with Doctors of the World UK (Medecins du Monde) as an outreach worker with undocumented migrants in London.
I have taught a range of modules for LSHTM London based and Distance Learning Masters programmes in Public Health, Epidemiology and Global Health Policy.
In 2022-3 I am a seminar leader for Qualitative Methodologies (Term 2) and tutor for MSc Public Health. I co-supervise a DrPH student researching health governance in Somalia.
My primary research interest is in understanding patients’ experiences of health, illness and health care, and in exploring ways in which this knowledge can be applied to strengthen health care provision.
I lead the qualitative component of the IMPLEMENT-CVD study investigating health system factors affecting implementation and access to fixed-dose combination therapy for hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Kenya, in partnership with KEMRI|Wellcome Trust Research Programme. I also contribute to the PIC4C Scale-Up study in western Kenya with colleagues in the Centre for Global Chronic Conditions, Moi University and KEMRI|Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
Recent projects include:
- Situational analysis to strengthen the management of diabetes and hypertension continuum of care in humanitarian crises, in collaboration with academic partners at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) and Hawler Medical University (Iraqi Kurdistan Region), and Partnering for Change.
- Evaluation of the introduction of a cardiovascular secondary prevention polypill in MSF NCD clinics in north Lebanon
- Implementation research with the MeSH Consortium examined feasibility and acceptability of HIV recent infection testing in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
My PhD research, conducted in collaboration with FECONACO Indigenous Federation, explored intersecting perspectives on young children’s health and well-being in Achuar indigenous communities in the mid Corrientes River region of the Peruvian Amazon, with a focus on family and health care provider framings of food practices. It was funded jointly by the UK ESRC/MRC through an ‘Interdisciplinary’ Studentship, and won the 2015-16 LSHTM Jerry Morris Prize for outstanding research.
I completed my PhD part-time following maternity leave, then took a career break to look after my young family. I returned to research at LSHTM in October 2018 with a MARCH Centre Career Re-Entry Fellowship.