Dr Ruth Willis


Research Fellow
in Social Science


15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

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.


Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


Centre for Global Chronic Conditions
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


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.

Research Area
Child health
Health services research
Public health
Health workers
Mixed methods
Implementation research
Qualitative methods
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Cardiovascular disease
Non-communicable diseases
United Kingdom
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
Middle East & North Africa (all income levels)
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Fixed dose combination drugs for cardiovascular disease in a prolonged humanitarian crisis in Lebanon: an implementation study.
Ansbro É; Masri S; Prieto-Merino D; Willis R; Aoun Bahous S; Molfino L; Boulle P; Perel P
BMJ open
Implementation of fixed-dose combination therapy for secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease among Syrian refugees in Lebanon: a qualitative evaluation.
Murphy A; Willis R; Ansbro É; Masri S; Kabbara N; Dabbousy T; Bahous S; Molfino L; Perel P; Boulle P
BMC Health Services Research
Scaling up the primary health integrated care project for chronic conditions in Kenya: study protocol for an implementation research project.
Nolte E; Kamano JH; Naanyu V; Etyang A; Gasparrini A; Hanson K; Koros H; Mugo R; Murphy A; Oyando R
BMJ open
Examining the Responsiveness of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to People Living with Hypertension and Diabetes in Kenya: A qualitative study
Oyando R; Were V; Willis R; Koros H; Kamano J; Naanyu V; Etyang A; Mugo R; Murphy A; Nolte E
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Models of care for non-communicable diseases for displaced populations in Iraq: a scoping review.
Schmid B; Ansbro É; Raju E; Willis R; Shabila N; Perel P
Conflict and Health
Models of care for patients with hypertension and diabetes in humanitarian crises: a systematic review.
Jaung MS; Willis R; Sharma P; Aebischer Perone S; Frederiksen S; Truppa C; Roberts B; Perel P; Blanchet K; Ansbro É
Health Policy and Planning
See more Publications