Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Sowden

Associate Lecturer and Specialty Registrar 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 have a particular interest in research that enables local government and the NHS to promote health and healthcare equity.

In partnership with my academic role I work in service public health as a Public Health Registrar; working with NHS England, Public Health England, local authorities, and formerly a number of Primary Care Trusts across the North East.  I am a member of the North East Public Health England R&D management group and chair the Public Health Registrar Committee in the North East.

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


  • 2014 Associate Fellow of Higher Education Authority
  • 2011 Membership of Faculty of Public Health
  • 2009 Diplomate Membership of Faculty of Public Health
  • 2005-08 PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.
  • 2003-05 MSc (Distinction) Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  • 1999-02 MA(Oxf) (1st Class) Human Sciences, Wadham College, Oxford.

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

  • 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 an Associate Fellow of Higher Education Authority and have completed the Newcastle Teaching Award.  I am undertaking the final module of Newcastle University PgCert in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice.

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.