Dr Helen Smith

Senior Research Associate in Maternal and Newborn Health

Helen is a social scientist with 17 years’ experience leading research projects, delivering contract-based technical advice, and teaching online and in traditional postgraduate programmes in international health. She has specialist skills in qualitative methods applied to health services research, research synthesis, and research uptake relevant to health problems in low- and middle-income countries. Research interests and expertise in maternal and reproductive health, research capacity strengthening, tropical disease prevention. Trained in applied population research and human geography


Helen has developed a portfolio of postgraduate teaching in systematic reviews for policy and practice, research methods, and research-related skills. She currently teaches on the Diploma in Sexual & Reproductive Health in Low Resource Areas and the MSc in International Public Health, and supervises PhD and MSc students.


Delivery and evaluation of complex interventions to improve Maternal and Newborn Health globally including:  

  •     Packages to improve availability and quality of maternal and newborn health care
  •     Quality improvement programmes including standards based audit, maternal and perinatal death audit, and MDSR

Current Projects:
Making it Happen

Contracted by WHO (Departments of Reproductive Health & Research and Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health)  to develop an implementation guide for country programmes on introducing a companion of choice at birth for improved birth outcomes.

With Fudan University, China & Duke University, US. Policy process, implementation experience, historical lessons and international dissemination of maternal and infant health and child nutrition in China. China-UK Global Health Support Programme (funded by Ministry of Health China & DFID, UK)



  • Selected Publications:

    Smith HJ, Colvin CJ, Richards E, Roberson J, Sharma G, Thapa K, Gulmezoglu M. Programs for community and direct distribution of misoprostol to prevent post-partum haemorrhage: a review of factors affecting implementation. Health Policy & Planning 2015; 1–12

    Ganguly P, Jehan K, de Costa A, Mavalankar D, Smith H. Considerations of private sector obstetricians on participation in the state led “Chiranjeevi Yojana” scheme to promote institutional delivery in Gujarat, India: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:352. doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-352

    Bates I, Smith H, Boyd A and Cole DC (2014) 'A practical and systematic approach to organisational capacity strengthening for research in the health sector in Africa', Health Research Policy and Systems, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 11. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-12-11