Dr Amy M Russell

Dr Amy M Russell


I am an Associate Professor in the Leeds Institute of Heath Sciences where I lead a portfolio of research to address health inequalities.

My background is in the Social Sciences and Humanities and I use this interdisciplinary experience to utilise innovative approches to reducing health inequalities.

Current and previous roles: 

My research portfolio includes a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, an NIHR Program Development Grant, an AHRC Global Network, a NIHR HS&DR project and a public engagement grant from Wellcome. 

In 2021-2022 I seconded to the WHO Disability Team and collaborated on the Global Report on health Equity for Persons with a Disabilities (Launch date December 2022).

The global launch of the WHO Global Report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities aims to raise awareness on health equity for persons with disabilities and mobilize action across a range of stakeholders (including governments, civil society organizations, development agencies, and other health sector partners).

My PhD (completed in 2010) examined women's embodied experiences of human trafficking and was fully funded by the AHRC. It was supervised between Religious Studies and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (CIGS), University of Leeds. During this time I worked as a lecturer in Sociology and Religious Studies.

I joined the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences in 2011 as a Research Fellow on an RfPB project about depression screening for patients with diabetes and CHD in Primary Care. Then I pursued my interests in RCTs and health inequalities as a Senior Research Fellow and Project Manager for a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment-funded three-year feasibility trial. I led a team of researchers to deliver a feasibility RCT to improve the diabetes management of people with a learning disability. 

I was awarded the Institute's Career Development Fellowship. During the Fellowship I secured an Internship at NICE and funding from The Health Foundation, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust and the British Medical Association to consolidate my work on health services and health inequalities for people with a learning disability and other comorbidities. I lead on the resulting projects including, REMAIN (Health Foundation) and REAL-D: REasonable Adjustments for Learning disabilities - Diabetes care (LCHT and BMA). 

As a result of this work and my collaboration with NICE and Diabetes UK I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship for 4 years Capacity, consent and autonomy: health research participation for people with a learning disability. And funding as PI from the Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust for the project EDICT: Enabling Diabetes Informed ConsenT. 

Previous Roles:

I was formerly the Deputy Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, School of Sociology and Social Policy, and remains an affiliated member.

I have held previous posts as an Academic Coordinator for a Higher Education Academy Subject Centre (2010–2011).

Prior to my doctoral research, I was a Library Manager for Leeds City Council and line-managed a large team. During this time I was awarded her Masters which involved a period of fieldwork in Sierra Leone, examining the post-war reintegration of female combatants and the Truth and Reconciliation process. Examining gender-based violence and social stigma through an embodied approach looking at the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process in Sierra Leone and its viability for women. I have also examined the effectiveness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone.


  • Places of Worship as Sites for BME Health, Tomalin, E. Russell, A. M. IGNITE funded collaboration with Public Health Leeds. 2014.
  • State of Girls' rights in the UK today. Plan International UK. 2016 and 2019
  • Advisor to Portugese Government on it’s approach to Female Gential Mutiliation in migrant populations.

In addition to this research, I also examined the government's decision to award gender-based care and health provision to faith-based organisations, with a focus on post-trafficking support in the UK. 


  • Co-Lead Institute Athena Swan Self-assessment Team
  • Doctor of Clinical Psychology supervisor and examiner
  • Lecturer Health Research Msc/PGCert

Research interests

My interests can be described under two main themes:

  • Theme 1. Addressing health inequalities in applied health settings - with a special emphasis on the intersection of mental and physical health.  My work includes qualitative work with patients and clinicians, intervention development and RCTs. For example my work as the lead researcher on the ethnographic study Evaluation of screening for depression in patients with chronic physical disease in primary care, funded by the NIHR RfPB scheme. And my work as lead researcher and project manager on Looking after yourself when you have diabetes, an NIHR HTA grant.
  • Theme 2. Cultural and social explanations of inequalities - drawing on theories and methods from the humanities, social sciences and cultural geography to explore the social and cultural aspects of health and social inequalities. For example, my Wellcome Trust Fellowship on Capacity, Consent and Autonomy in health research for people with a learning disability and her Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project on the enduring effects of human trafficking.


  • PGCert Health Research, 2013
  • PhD Interdisciplinary Gender Studies – University of Leeds, 2010
  • MA Religion and Public Life – University of Leeds, 2005
  • BA (Hons) Theology & Religious Studies and English Literature – University of Leeds, 2002
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner 2013

Professional memberships

  • Society for Academic Primary Care
  • British Sociological Association
  • Feminist and Women's Studies Association
  • White Rose Gender Consortium

Student education

I supervise on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is open to PhD applications to work on projects relating to my research themes. 

Doctoral Supervision: 

  • Jaqueline Birtwistle, How do health professionals use electronic palliative care coordination systems (EPaCCS) to deliver care that aligns with patients’ recorded preferences?  Part-time.
  • Gemma Ashwell, The role of digital education in developing empathy, compassion, and social responsibility in undergraduate medical education: a focus on inclusion health, 
  • Megan Beadle, Seeking support for hoarding difficulties, Dclin.[passed no corrections]
  • Clare Charman, The long term mental health effects of birth trauma in men, Dclin. [passed with minor corrections]
  • Lucy Singer, Evaluating the impact of pregnancy loss up to 24 weeks on men’s mental health, Dclin. [passed with minor corrections]
  • Rion O’Farrel-Walsh, Feeding choices for mothers with babies who have Down’s syndrome and their effect on bonding and attachment, Dclin [Passed minor corrections]

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Cardiometabolic
  • Health and social psychology
  • Infant feeding
  • Maternal, child and family health
  • Psychological and Social Medicine
  • The Health and Wellbeing of Older People
  • Mental health
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>