Rachel has over 20 years’ experience of research, training and partnership on gender equity and health systems strengthening in Africa and Asia. Her research has focused on social drivers of inequities in health and well-being including intersections between gender equity, poverty and disability, with regard to a wide range of health issues, including TB and lung-health, anti-microbial resistance maternal, sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. Rachel is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Systems Strengthening (CHESS) and co-convenor of the Gender and Health Group.
Rachel is the Research Director for the GCRF Accountability for Informal urban Equity Hub (ARISE) (2019-2024), together with Sally Theobald as PI. This Hub will address the intractable development challenge of ill-health, inequity and insecurity in informal urban settlements in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). More than half of the world’s people live in cities and one in three of these in LMICs live in informal settlements, which pose a wide range of physical and mental health risks, yet receive inadequate services and opportunities to improve their lives. Our Hub brings together ten partners with a range of relevant expertise and commitment to work with disadvantaged people living in informal settlements. Our research will support them in claiming their rights to health and to build government accountability and capacity to provide them with security and services. By sharing experiences across four countries – Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Kenya and India – we hope to shape national and global policies and best practices.
She is also the Health, Nutrition and Well-being domain co-lead for the African Cities Research Consortium (2021-2026), which is a Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded programme aiming to use a political settlements and systems analysis approach to generate insights and evidence that will help improve the living conditions, services and life chances of all city residents, particularly for disadvantaged communities, across 8 development domains in 13 African cities.
Rachel is the Social Sciences lead for the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Lung Health and Tuberculosis in Africa at LSTM (IMPALA) (2017-2021), and for the Drivers of Antimicrobial Resistance (DRUM) consortium (GCRF) (2018-2021).
Previous research in the last 10 years has included leadership of the gender equitable careers theme on the DELTAS Learning Research Programme (2016 – 2020), in collaboration with the Capacity Research Unit and MRC-funded social science research exploring the drivers of child marriage in Sudan (2014-15). She has led LSTM’s contributions to two EU-funded consortia – INPAC (2012-2016), which aimed to test an intervention to improve post-abortion family planning in China, and MATIND (20111-2015), which evaluated two demand-side financing approaches to improving maternal health in India, and. She was also part of the REACHOUT project, which aimed to understand and develop the role of close-to-community providers of health care in rural and urban areas in Africa and Asia.
Other relevant expertise, professional memberships etc.
Rachel is a serving member of the Equity Reference Group on Immunisation, which aims to generate innovative ideas to accelerate progress on equity in immunisation. Operating as an action-oriented think tank, the group is reviewing evidence across health programmes and other sectors and recommending innovative ways to achieve greater equity in immunisation though policies and programming.
Rachel co-convenes qualitative research on Research Module (TROP 934) and Key Themes in International Health and Policy (TROP 937), teaching on social determinants of health, equity, gender and health seeking behaviour to. She supervises Masters student dissertations. She also teaches on DTMH and Short Course on International Health Consultancy. She has successfully supervised 8 PhDs.
Current PhD students
Quality of life among people with chronic lung disease in LMICs. Irene Ayakaka
Exploring opportunities for addressing intimate partner violence in the context of community-based HIV services in Kenya and steps toward testing interventions at community-level. Beate Ringwald
Understanding the embodiment of discrimination and stigma among waste picking communities in India, it’s impact on their health and wellbeing and the consequences on agency.Shrutika Murthy
A Critical Assessment of How Urban Development and Relocation Processes Shape Wellbeing of Marginalised People. Smruti Srinivas Jukur