Accessibility statement

Elena Ratschen
Reader (Associate Professor) in Health Services Research



Elena is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Health Services Research, specialising in applied health research using mixed methods, with a particular interest in developing and testing complex interventions.

Much of Elena’s research to date has focused on tobacco smoking and mental health, with a particular focus on smokefree policy implementation in mental health inpatient settings. Elena was centrally involved in the development of NICE guidance and a joint Royal College of Physicians & Royal College of Psychiatrists report in this area and is an active member of expert advisory groups and national partnerships related to smoking and mental health, and has recently been co-opted as topic expert on tobacco and mental health to the NICE tobacco guideline development committee. She leads the Tobacco and Mental Health research theme and chairs the University’s interdisciplinary Tobacco Research Group.

Elena is also developing a research portfolio in the area of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) and health and is the HAI research theme lead for this topic.  Read her recent BMJ editorial on Animal-Assisted Interventions.

Before joining the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group in York in 2016, Elena obtained her PhD and held a lectureship at the University of Nottingham (UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies).


  • PhD (2010), University of Nottingham
  • MPH (2007), University of Nottingham
  • BA(hons) & MA (2004), University of Passau (Germany)



Elena is an applied health researcher with expertise in employing mixed methods and a particular interest in the development and evaluation of complex interventions. Much of her research has been focussed on tobacco smoking and severe mental illness (especially inpatient settings), but she has also been involved in research related to smoking in other vulnerable groups, such as the homeless, prisoners, and looked-after children in residential care. Elena has also led a large NIHR-funded RCT on the effectiveness of a complex intervention to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home in deprived communities. Other interests related to tobacco research include electronic cigarettes, harm reduction and relapse prevention; holistic approaches towards treating multiple addictions and towards addressing poor physical health in people with mental disorder; and strategies to address health inequalities in vulnerable groups.

Elena has recently been active in developing a research portfolio related to Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) and health in a variety of populations across the human life span and is collaborating with a wide variety of academic and non-academic organisations in this context.

Selected Projects


Elena is PI to the recently awarded NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Health Research (PGfAR), SCEPTRE: Promoting Smoking CEssation and PrevenTing RElapse in people with mental illness after a smokefree mental health inpatient stay. SCEPTRE is due to commence in February 2020. Please check this website for further information and regular updates nearer the time.

Human-Animal Interaction (HAI)

Elena is currently developing a portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects on HAI in Health with a wide range of collaborators. Please check this website regularly for project updates, and follow us on twitter @HumanAnimalYork.

Research group(s)


Elena will be very happy to discuss potential for supervision in any area related to her research interests. 


Full publications list

Elena Ratschen

Contact details

Dr Elena Ratschen
Reader (Associate Professor) in Health Services Research

Tel: 01904 32(1678)