Meet Rachel Ford

On a regular basis, we will be profiling a member of the Vaccine Centre. In this edition we are shining a spotlight on Rachel Ford, who tells us about her research, her work with the centre and what she likes doing in her free time.
Photo of Rachel Ford

Tell us about your current research

I currently work on a project called “Get Ready, Get Real” which looks at the real-world implementation challenges faced in delivering new maternal vaccines in antenatal care clinics (ANC) across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This work was initiated in response to the developments in new maternal vaccines against Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Group B Streptococcus, and the lack of real-world data on the challenges we face embedding these vaccines in ANC systems.

The project spans six countries and uses data from multiple antenatal sites in each country.  The aim is to understand how women can be effectively reached for maternal immunisation within the critical gestational age window (24-36 weeks) by first demonstrating the ANC attendance patterns across each country.

We are then using that data to inform the development of an electronic solution to the paper-based ANC registries, as we can identify gaps in the current processes. It is an exciting new field, and we are just starting the get data, so watch this space!

What do you find particularly interesting working as a member of the Vaccine Centre?

As an early career researcher who works outside of a London-based research team, I find the collaboration between multidisciplinary Vaccine Centre members engaging and exciting. Being a member of the centre provides unique opportunities to connect with other researchers in several areas and of differing background through regular meetings and events.

Where do you think your research will take you and how do you expect you work to develop?

Although bold, I hope the data collected in “Get Ready, Get Real” is able to improve the delivery of new maternal vaccines across the world. And further, if I may be so optimistic, the aim is that the development of locally-led electronic registry solutions in this project can be used to promote the development and improvement of pregnancy registers and digital solutions to the mother to infant link currently missing in many registries.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I love travelling so most of my spare time is spent exploring new areas of the world with friends and family- I’m happiest when by a beach, hiking in the mountains, or trying local foods in a busy market.

Please share an interesting fact about yourself and your work.

Before moving to London in 2019 and starting at LSHTM, I was an Australian Emergency Nurse at a major trauma centre in Sydney. I completed the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing as soon as I arrived in the UK, then quickly found myself as a member of the Vaccine Centre which led me to completing a Master of Public Health, and is why I am here today and answering these questions 5 years on!

How can people get and stay in touch with you?

You can reach me via email ( or on LinkedIn (Rachel Ford)

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