Dr Stephen Pearson

Dr Stephen Pearson


I am an academic in global health, specialising in leadership in education, public health education, and qualitative and quantitative research on sexual and reproductive health.

I joined the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development in 2004, focussing on several research projects around civil society, health policy and maternal health. Currently, I concentrate on contributing leadership and innovation to the education of current and future health professionals at Leeds and internationally. My work with postgraduate and undergraduate students is across all domains of education including curriculum design; teaching; assessment and feedback; student support; pedagogic research and quality assurance. I have taken on educational roles with increasing responsibility including module leader, programme lead, teaching coordinator and institutional education lead.

Internationally, I have delivered short courses to strengthen the capacity of health professionals in diverse settings. Including consultancies, I have been fortunate to have worked in China, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, USA, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Prior to working at Leeds, I undertook consultancies in reproductive health for the Population Council (New York) and WHO (Geneva). I worked from 2001-02 as a Lecturer at the Centre for Population Studies, University of Zimbabwe, involved in several research projects on maternal health, men's sexual health, and young people’s sexual health, alongside teaching population studies to postgraduates.

My academic career began at the University of Southampton. I graduated in 1993 with a BSc in Environmental Science. I then worked as a teaching fellow in the Department of Social Statistics at Southampton, teaching population sciences, statistics and research methods. While working there, I completed a PhD (part-time) on “Men's sexual behaviour and use of contraception”, awarded in 2000.

Research interests

  • Innovations in learning and teaching practice, particularly around international field research, employability and internationalisation.
  • Capacity strengthening for education and research in the health sector and higher education
  • Sexual and reproductive health, particularly for men and young people
  • Health policy development and implementation


  • PhD, Social Statistics, University of Southampton
  • BSc, Environmental Science, University of Southampton

Professional memberships

  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Student education


  • Academic Lead for Education, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (2014-17). Strategic leadership on a large and complex education portfolio for postgraduate, undergraduate and CPD students.
  • Teaching Coordinator, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development (2011-16), with oversight and leadership on a portfolio of 5 education programmes.
  • Programme Lead, Masters in Public Health (International) (2011-14); Intercalated BSc in International Health (2008-10).
  • Module Leader for around 4 modules annually, including responsibility for curriculum, learning resources, assessment and module changes.
  • Design and delivery of around 50 hours of small and large group teaching annually. Setting, assessing and feeding-back of multiple assignments.
  • Supervision of around 6 postgraduate dissertations and 6 undergraduate projects annually. Also personal tutor to around 10 students annually, with pastoral care, guidance and support roles.
  • External Examiner, Intercalated BSc in International Health, University of Birmingham (2010-14)
  • Associate Director for Student Support (Taught Postgraduate), School of Medicine (2012-14)

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • International health research
  • Research at the Nuffield Centre of International Health and Development