Skip to main content
Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Dr Heather McMullen, PhD



Centre: Primary Care and Public Health

Telephone: +44 (0)207 882 7084


Heather McMullen is a social scientist in the Centre for Global Public Health in the Institute of Population Health Sciences, Queen Mary University of London.   She is interested in sexual and reproductive rights and justice and has worked in this area as an academic and practitioner for over 15 years in roles with various organisations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the World Health Organisation.  Her more recent work explores the intersection of sexual and reproductive rights and justice with climate change and environmental sustainability.  She is currently undertaking a study on reproductive decision making in the face of climate change with Katharine Dow (Cambridge University).  Calling on previous roles on health services and as a youth worker she also leads a research project on knife injury in East London with a group of colleagues from across QMUL.   Heather won a Doctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Health Research, supervised by Professors Trisha Greenhalgh and Chris Griffiths, a mixed method and autoethnographic account of HIV testing and complex intervention pragmatic trials.


Heather currently leads the MSc module Gender, Sexuality and Health with Anuj Kapilashrami and has led or guest lectured on Advanced Reading, Writing and Analysis, Maternal and Child Health, Communicable Diseases, Evidence Policy and Global Health and Anthropologies of Health across the BSc and MSc programmes.


Research Interests:

RHIVA 2 Trial of Rapid HIV Testing in Primary Care.

The Evidence Project: HIV and sexual health, research ethics, policy analysis, qualitative methods, innovation adoption.


Research group: Translational Research



Select Publications:



Boydell, Victoria, Heather McMullen, Joanna Cordero, Petrus Steyn, and James Kiare. 2019. “Studying Social Accountability in the Context of Health System Strengthening: Innovations and Considerations for Future Work.” Health Research Policy and Systems 17 (1): 34.


Heather McMullen. 2019. ‘State of the Conversation’ Climate Change, Population Dynamics and Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health.  Policy Paper.  Sex og Samfund (Danish Family Planning Association).


McMullen, Heather, Chris Griffiths, Werner Leber, and Trisha Greenhalgh. 2015. “Explaining High and Low Performers in Complex Intervention Trials: A New Model Based on Diffusion of Innovations Theory.” Trials16 (1): 242.


Leber, Werner, Heather McMullen, Jane Anderson, Nadine Marlin, Andreia C. Santos, Stephen Bremner, Kambiz Boomla, et al. 2015. “Promotion of Rapid Testing for HIV in Primary Care (RHIVA2): A Cluster-Randomised Controlled Trial.” The Lancet HIV 2 (6): e229–35.



Select talks or conference presentations:


(Accepted) 2020 - Royal Anthropological Institute Conference - Panel: Imagining the Future: The Horizon - Paper: Having Kids, Having Kin: (re) imagining reproduction in the Anthropocene (with Katharine Dow)


(Accepted) 2020 - Association for Social Anthropology Annual Conference: Panel: Reproduction, Kinship and Generation in the Face of Climate Change - Co convenor with Katharine Dow


2019 Intersectional Innovations in Applied Health Research Lecture Series – University of Lancaster Guest Speaker: Power, patients and the practice of implementation rapid HIV testing in general practice  


2018 International Conference of Family Planning (ICFP)– Rwanda / Conference of the Parties (COP 24) Climate Summit –Poland Paper and workshop: State of the Conversation: Climate change, population dynamics and sexual and reproductive health and rights  


2018     Marxist Feminist Workshop – University of Lund, Sweden -Paper and workshop -Transnational feminism beyond Western imperialism: Notes from the Canadian Scene – with Sarah Swerdlyk  


2017 Medical Research Council Trials Unit – MRC, London - Guest seminar - How pragmatic is the pragmatic trial: A case study of HIV testing general practice  


2017   European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) – Basel, Switzerland - Panel: Local Resistances to Agendas on Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa   Paper: Unintended effects of a Ugandan social accountability programme: Tracing change in family planning programmes – with Nanono Nulu and Victoria Boydell


2016 European Sociological Association – Lisbon, Portugal - PhD and early careers workshop - ‘Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research: New insights for the study of health and illness’ Paper: Imagining method as culture: Exploring incommensurability in mixed methods research - A PhD student account  


2015 8th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health Washington DC.  Paper: Explaining variation in an HIV testing trial in general practice: a new model using diffusion of innovations theory


2013 INSPIRE Academic Programme Wellcome Trust funded Mind, Medicine and Society speaker series – Barts Medical School, London Guest Speaker - Trauma and knife violence with Karim Brohi, Nayiem Rahman and Atinuke Inakoju.