Accessibility statement

Helen Elsey
Senior Lecturer in Global Health



After over a decade of working in community development in sub Saharan Africa, Helen studied and trained in public health, completing specialist training in 2014. Following a PhD assessing community health in an urban regeneration area in the UK, her research has focused on urban health in low and middle income countries. In particular, issues of gender and equity in relation to health risk and behaviour and the development and evaluation of complex public health interventions to improve the health of disadvantaged populations. This has included developing interventions for tobacco cessation and to improve psycho-social well-being among people with TB in South Asia. Helen's current work includes testing novel survey methods to improve the representation of the urban poor and understandings of urban poverty; systems research to strengthen the role of city governments to address health inequities and developing interventions to improve health and reduce injuries in urban slums. 


  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health
  • PhD University of Southampton
  • MSc Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • MA University of Leeds
  • John Moores University, Liverpool

Departmental roles



Helen's research focuses on improving health and well-being of communities living in poor urban neighbourhoods in low income countries. She is interested in methods to better understand and respond to the health needs of the urban poor and have methodological expertise and experience in mixed-methods, cross-sectional designs, implementation research particularly alongside RCTs, qualitative methods, systematic reviews and participatory action research.


  • ARISE: (GCRF Hub) The ARISE Hub – Accountability and Responsiveness in Informal Settlements for Equity – a research consortium working in India, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and Kenya, set up to enhance accountability and improve the health and wellbeing of marginalised populations living in informal urban settlements in low- and middle-income countries. More information can be found in this leaflet
  • Surveys for Urban Equity: Improving the representation of the urban poor in household survey methods and working with local government to improve their use of data and evidence in Dhaka, Kathmandu and Hanoi (GCRF/MRC) 
  • Urban Anchal: Developing and evaluating day-care to improve health and social outcomes of urban poor families in Dhaka (MRC PHIND) 
  • TB and Tobacco: Development, testing and scaling-up a tobacco cessation intervention for people with TB in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh (EUH2020) - TB and Tobacco Consortium
  • COMDIS HSD: Research Programme Consortium focusing on urban health systems and improving primary care in urban areas (Nepal), linking public and private providers in urban areas (Bangladesh) and developing interventions to improve mental health among people with MDR TB  (DFID RPC)
  • RinGs: Part of the RinGs consortium supporting COMDIS partners to address intersectional gender issues within research and interventions 
  • ENDS: What role can e-cigarettes play in helping adults in Pakistan to quit smoking? A qualitative exploratory study (Wellcome Trust / CFH)
  • The Nairobi Childcare Community of Practice: Study to improve the quality of paid childcare services for children in poor urban settings in Kenya (British Academy)
  • CHPS: Adapting the Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme in Ghana to engage urban poor communities (MRC)
  • CHORUS: Our Community-led Responsive and Effective Urban Health Systems, or simply, ‘CHORUS’, brings together researchers from Africa, South Asia and the UK in an equal partnership to work with communities, health professionals and city-level decision-makers to develop and test the best ways to improve the health of the poorest urban residents.  In each of Ghana, Bangladesh, Nepal and Nigeria from 2020 to 2026, we will work in one large and one smaller city to address key urban challenges.

Research group(s)

Public Health & Society


Helen would be interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas: urban health in low income countries and developing and testing interventions to address public health risk factors.


Full publications list

External activities


  • Member of the International Society of Urban Health.
  • Member of the Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs) network.

Invited talks and conferences

  • Health Systems Global (Liverpool, Oct 2018),
  • UN World Data Forum, (Dubai Oct 2018);
  • International Conference on Urban Health (Kampala, Nov 2018).
  • Society for Research in Nicotine and Tobacco – Europe (2018)
  • International Conference for Urban Health (2015 and 2017)
  • WHO-led conference on urban health equity (2016)
  • Urbanisation and Agriculture International Conference, Rome (2015)
  • World University Network (NCDs), Hong Kong (2014)

Contact details

Dr Helen Elsey
Senior Lecturer in Global Health

Tel: 01904 321341