Accessibility statement

Sarah Masefield
Research Associate



Dr Sarah Masefield joined the Department of Health Sciences as a Research Associate in perinatal mental health and health inequalities in 2021, moving from the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC) in the Department of Politics where she conducted research on the politics of healthcare in Malawi (Thanzi la Onse project).

Sarah completed her PhD in 2019 using quantitative methods to explore the health and healthcare use of mothers of young disabled children. During which she founded the peer-led project ‘How to Thrive and Survive in your PhD’ at the University of York and worked on a secondary data project for the IGDC to identify the extent to which secondary analysis of NGO data has been used in health policy and systems research.

Prior to her PhD, Sarah worked as a specialist in patient and public engagement and health experience research for the European Lung Foundation/European Respiratory Society, and as an independent living assessor for the City of York Council. She is a Health and Care Professions Council registered Occupational Therapist, with experience working in physical and mental health, adult and paediatic settings in the UK and Uganda.


  • PhD Health Sciences, University of York
  • BHSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, York St John University
  • MA (Hons) English Literature, University of St Andrews



Sarah’s research interests include health inequalities, perinatal mental health, caregiver health and child disability, patient and public involvement, and healthcare systems in low income countries. She has a special interest in student (particularly postgraduate) mental health and wellbeing.


Previously projects:

Research group(s)


Selected publications

External activities


  • Event coordinator for the Pint of Science Festival, York 2016-2018
  • 3MT Finalist 2018
  • Founder and coordinator of the How to Thrive and Survive your PhD project at the University of York (2018-2020). Link to project pages

Invited talks and conferences

  • 2021: Addressing PGR wellbeing and mental health through peer to peer communities: growing and adapting the How to Survive your PhD project. Presentation at the International Conference on Postgraduate Researcher Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  • 2020: Peer support is central to improving PhD student mental health. Invited blog for University Affairs.
  • 2020: How to Thrive and Survive in Your PhD. Invited presentation at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council White Rose DTP Annual Symposium.
  • 2019: Use peer support to improve well-being and research outcomes. Invited article for Nature Careers.
  • 2019: How to Survive your PhD (and Enjoy It!): A Peer-to-Peer Support and Community Building Project. Invited blog for the UK Council of Graduate Education (UKCGE) website and presentation at the first International Conference on Postgraduate Researcher Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Contact details

Dr Sarah Masefield
Research Associate