Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Sexual and Reproductive Health Research Group

Sexual and reproductive health of individuals and populations

Our teaching and research focus on the improvement of sexual and reproductive health of individuals and populations.

Led by Irene Petersen and Julia Bailey, our group includes people with a broad range of expertise including clinicians, psychologists, epidemiologists, statisticians and health economists. We work closely with patient and public representatives to ensure our research is relevant to patients.

We conduct research in sexual and reproductive health, and provide teaching in primary care, population health and research methods. Our research addresses health promotion and disease prevention, drug safety in pregnancy, women’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth, and intervention development, evaluation and implementation.


Our research focuses on sexual and reproductive health, with a particular focus on the following themes:

  •  Sexual health promotion via mobile phone and the Internet
  • Sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses including HIV
  • Sexual difficulty, sexual wellbeing
  • Interventions for sexual health promotion
  • Society, culture and sexual health


We offer sexual and reproductive health teaching to students at BSc, MSc and PhD level, academic colleagues, NHS staff, and other audiences world-wide. We also teach research methodology including qualitative methods and theory-based intervention design. We teach the following topics:

  • Health promotion (e.g. STI and HIV prevention)
  • Contraception and abortion
  • Digital Health (sexual health promotion online)
  • Epidemiological research methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Science communication  and Writing Skills
  • Clinical knowledge and consultation skills for medical students and NHS Staff

Study designs

We use many different research methods and study designs to address different research questions.

  • Systematic Reviews
  • Electronic health records research
  • Qualitative research methods (e.g. interviews, focus groups)
  • Epidemiology (analysis of large data sets on population health)
  • Randomised controlled trials (including online trials)

Our funding

Our research is funded by the following bodies:

The National Institute for Health Research:

  • National School for Primary Care Research
  • The Public Health Research Programme
  •  Health Technology Assessment Programme
  • Health Protection Research Unit in Blood Bourne and Sexually Transmitted infections

Wellcome Trust

The European Medicines Agency

The Medical Research Council

  • Public Health Intervention Development programme