Institute for Ageing

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Sowden

NIHR/HEE ICA Clinical Lecturer and Hon Consultant in Public Health


Area of expertise

Applied public health research focusing on understanding and evaluating the health inequalities impact of public health and healthcare interventions and policies.  I am interested in research that enables local government and the NHS to promote health and healthcare equity.

In partnership with my academic role I work as a Public Health Consultant at Public Health England North East centre.  I also lead the Public Health Specialty for the Clinical Research Network in the North East and North Cumbria, growing and supporting the delivery of public health research in the region.   

Prior to this I studied Human Sciences as an undergraduate at Oxford University, worked in Public Health Intelligence and undertook postgraduate studies in Public Health at LSHTM followed by an MRC/ESRC PhD in Public Health at UCL.



  • 2019  Fellow, Faculty of Public Health
  • 2018  PgCert Advanced Studies in Academic Practice, Newcastle University
  • 2018  Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • 2014  Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • 2011  Membership, Faculty of Public Health
  • 2009  Diplomate Membership, Faculty of Public Health
  • 2009  PhD Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London
  • 2005  MSc (Distinction) Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • 2002  MA(Oxf) (1st Class) Human Sciences, Wadham College, Oxford

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I am undertaking a 5 year (2019-2024) HEE/NIHR funded Integrated Clinical Academic fellowship programme of research:

UNFAIR: UNderstanding Factors explaining Avoidable hospital admissions Inequalities - Research study

I have been engaged in a broad portfolio of applied public health research, projects include:

  • Reducing inequalities in cancer waiting times and improving services for patients with Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer: exploring patient experience and the opportunities for co-design
  • High-rise health: a mixed methods study of the impact of social housing improvements on the health and wellbeing of residents in high-rise flats.
  • Evaluating the impact of welfare reform on individuals in Walker, Newcastle.
  • Thematic content analysis of Health and Wellbeing Strategies in England addressing whether these are fit for purpose.
  • Food at checkouts in non-food stores: a cross-sectional study of a large indoor shopping mall in Gateshead.
  • Evaluating the equity of access, uptake and use of public health interventions by age.
  • Systematic review of socioeconomic inequalities in patient, referral, diagnostic or treatment intervals for lung cancer patients.




I am a Fellow of Higher Education Academy and have a PGcert in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice from Newcastle University.

Teaching and supervision of medical students and Newcastle University Public Health and Health Services Research MSc students. Delivered training for Paediatric Registrars and other NHS-based support.