Cardiovascular Research Centre

Staff Profile

Professor Judith Rankin

Prof of Maternal and Child Health



I have a Personal Chair in maternal and child health in the Population Health Sciences Institute. My research interests are organised into four areas: health of vulnerable maternal populations, risk factors in pregnancy, outcomes for children with complex needs (including congenital anomaly and rare diseases) and reproductive loss.

I work closely with the PHE National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Diseases Registration Service (NCARDRS) and the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT). I collaborate with a number of parent organisations including Sands, MBF, Tiny Lives and Twins Trust.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, I have led in qualitative projects exploring the experiences of parents and health professionals following feticide, withdrawal of life-saving support from sick neonates and loss from a twin pregnancy and developed guidelines for health professionals when there has been a loss from a multiple pregnancy.

Roles and Responsibilities

• European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT) Management Committee

• Member, NCARDRS External Scientific Advisory Group

• Chair, NIHR Doctoral Fellowships Panel

• Chair, Newcastle University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

• Member, FMS Developing Excellent Researchers Group


BSc (Hons) Physiology, 1988, University of Edinburgh
PhD Behavioural Teratology, 1993, University of Edinburgh

Previous Positions

Personal Readership in Maternal & Perinatal Epidemiology 2007-10
Principal Research Associate, Newcastle University 2004-2007
Senior Research Associate, Newcastle University 1996-2003
Research Associate, Newcastle University 1993-1996

Honours and Awards

Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health by distinction from 2012
NIHR National Public Health Career Scientist, 2005-11
European Science Foundation Visiting Fellowship



Postgraduate Teaching 

  • MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research
     -    Module lead- Project management
     -    Dissertation Supervisor, Dissertation Examiner, Personal Tutor
  • MRes Lecturer/ Project supervisor
  • Biomedical Sciences project supervisor



Research Interests

My research interests lie within the field of maternal and child health, and include:
- epidemiology of congenital anomalies

- survival of children born with congenital anomalies

- long-term outcomes for children born with congenital anomalies

- influence of lifestyle on the risk of congenital anomalies

- reproductive loss

Research Roles

I am Principal Investigator on a number of externally funded research projects

Postgraduate Supervision

I am currently supervising six PhD students

Esteem Indicators

  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health through distinction from 2012
  • Awarded a NIHR National Career Scientist 
  • Invited chair NIHR Doctoral Award Panel
  • Elected Secretary British Isles and Ireland Network of Congenital Anomaly Researchers 


Current funding includes:

McGovern R, Christie A, Arnott B, Brown H, et al. (2020-2022) South Tyneside Best Start in Life Evaluation. NIHR School for Public Health, Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme. £189,000

Whitehead A, Wilde M, Rankin J, Embleton N, Woods S. (2020) Portraying Personhood in Perinatal Loss: An Artist’s Book. Pioneer awards. Medical Humanities. £4,000

 Kaner E, Price C, Whitty P, et al. (2019-24) NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria. (JR lead of the Supporting Children and Families theme) NIHR. £9 million.

West J, Bythell M, Rankin J, et al. (2019-21) Maximising the use of national electronic health data sources in England to ascertain, register and undertake epidemiologic research in Langerhans cell histiocytosis and Haemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. Histiocytosis UK. £50,000.

Warwick C, Flynn E, Dyson J, Rankin J, et al. (2019-21) Northern Power: Making Engineering and Physical Sciences Research a Domain for All in the North of England. EPSRC. £585,161.

Rankin J. (2019-22) Research post in congenital anomaly and rare diseases. Public Health England. £120,000. 

Insan N, Rankin J, Forrest S. (2019-22). Maternal Depression in Rural Bangladesh: A mixed methods exploration of the social determinants and their role in delivery and uptake of mental health care. ESRC DTC (0.5 3), £75,000. 

Rankin J, Best K, O’Sullivan J. (2019-20) Length of stay (LOS) and predictors of LOS following paediatric congenital heart disease. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity. £33,500.

Bell Z, Bambra C, Heslehurst N, Rankin J. (2018-22) Austerity and nutrition: A Qualitative Exploration of the social determinants of food insecurity and its nutritional impact amongst women and children in the North East of England. ESRC DTC (0.5 3). £75,000. 

Dyer E, Bell R, Graham R, Rankin J. (2017 - 21) Improving care in pregnancy after reproductive loss in women with diabetes: an interdisciplinary exploration of patient experience and health professional perspectives. ESRC DTC (1 3), £80,000  

Morris JK, Loane M, Garne E, Rankin J, et al. (2017 - 21) EUROlinkCAT : Establishing a linked European Cohort of Children with Congenital Anomalies. EU Horizon 2020, €7.5 million euros

Lingham R, Kaner E,T, Foley T, Rankin J et al. (2017 - 19) SILVER: Smart Interventions for Local Vulnerable Families. Connected Health Cities, Northern Health Services Alliance, £403,000.

Rankin J, Heslehurst N, Brown H. (2016-20) Asylum seekers and refugees in the North East of England: an advances quantitative study of inequalities in maternity care and costs to NHS maternity services. ESRC DTC, £78,000.

Heslehurst N, Rankin J, Akroyd R, Devlieger R. (2016 - 19) An investigation of maternal obesity, bariatric surgery in women of reproductive age and associations with severe adverse perinatal outcomes in subsequent pregnancy. Newcastle University Research Excellence Academy studentship, £75,000.

School of Public Health Research 2. (2017-22) Named key researcher. NIHR. £2m.

Hannon T, Rankin J, Glinianaia SV, Sturgiss S, Khalil A. (2016-17) Prevalence, birth outcomes and clinical management of monochorionic monoamniotic twin and triplet pregnancies. BMFMS/TAMBA, £19,972.

Rankin J, Lingam R, Glinianaia SV, Best K. (2015-16) The prevalence and expected prevalence of selected childhood conditions in England; current figures and predictions. Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, £14,999.

Rankin J, Embleton ND. (2015-16) Parental experiences and views of neonatal trials (PARENT). NIHR HTA, £35,215.

Rankin J. (2015-18) Research on congenital anomalies. PHE, £228,000.

Rankin J, Bell R. (2015-16) Using data to support clinical practice. NE SCN; £50,000. 

Pearce MS, Salotti J, Rankin J, Chapple C, Habron R, O’Sullivan J. (2015-17) Radiation doses and associated risks from cardiac catheterizations in children and young adults. BHF; £89,919.

Rankin J, Embleton ND. (2014-15) Development of a toolkit to support health professionals providing care for parents who have had a loss from a multiple pregnancy. AHSN/Tiny Lives; £30,000.

Heslehurst N, Rankin J, Rushton S. (2013-17) A lifecourse investigation of maternal ethnic group and pregnancy weight in the development of short- and long-term health outcomes for women and their offspring. MRC 1 3 PhD Studentship; £87,000.

Rankin J, Best KE. (2012-15) Survival and predictors of survival in children born with congenital heart defects. British Heart Foundation Non-clinical studentship; £101,681.

Rankin J. (2012-15) Surveillance of congenital anomalies in the North of England. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership/Public Health England; £450,600.

Bell R, Newham J, Rankin J. (2013-14) Exposure to potentially teratogenic medications and outcome of pregnancy in women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK; £19,805.

Salotti J, Tennant PWG, Windebank K, Rankin J. (2012-13) Histiocytic disorders in children with congenital anomalies; a population-based record linkage study. Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children; £14,899.

Heslehurst N, McColl E, Rankin J. (2012-15) The development and pilot of a guideline implementation intervention for maternal obesity management among midwives. NIHR Post-doctoral fellowship; £297,856.

Rankin J, McConachie H, Glinianaia SV, Embleton N.  (2011-12) Can the KIDSCREEN questionnaire be used to measure quality of life in children born with congenital anomalies?  NUTH Flexibility & Sustainability Fund; £50,295.

Kaner E, Rankin J, Hodgson M, Bristow K, McColl E, Deverill M, Howel D. (2011-14) Brief alcohol intervention to reduce risky drinking in pregnancy: a pilot randomised controlled trial. NIHR RfPB; £247,717.

Rankin J, Graham RH, Embleton N, Robson SC. (2011-13) Reproductive loss in multiple pregnancies: a qualitative study of parents’ and health professionals’ experiences. Tiny Lives; £110,469.

Draper E, Morris J, Rankin J, Kurinzcuk J. (2010-12) Surveillance of congenital anomalies in the UK. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership; £157,558.

EUROCAT (2010-13) European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies. European Union- Joint Action; €3 million.

Graham R, Rankin J, Embleton N, Robson SC.  (2010-11) Diversity in parent and staff perspectives towards neonatal palliative care. Department of Health- Children’s Palliative Care call; £37,868.

Bell R, Rankin J, Glinianaia S, Bilous R. (2010-11) Congenital anomalies in the offspring of women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK; £35,196.

Rankin J. (2009-12) Congenital anomaly surveillance by the Northern Congenital Abnormality Survey. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership; £408,367.

Rankin J. (2005-11) The role of obesity, drug use, air pollution and assisted conception in the aetiology of congenital anomalies. NIHR National Career Scientist Award (Personal fellowship); £283,009.