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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Dr Sara Paparini, BA MSc PhD


Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Equity

Room Number: G.17


I studied Anthropology for my BA at Goldsmiths College University of London, and I have an MSc in Policy Research and a PhD in Social Policy from the University of Bristol. My interests include intersectional health inequalities (particularly in sexual health, HIV and other infectious diseases), the making and uses of evidence in public health, the social science and implementation of clinical trials, and the social aspects of chronic illness. I am very interested in qualitative methodology, and especially in longitudinal, ethnographic and case study methodologies. I am an experienced qualitative researcher in healthcare and community settings in the UK and internationally. I have also worked on large reviews and qualitative synthesis projects.

Prior to joining the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, I have worked as a social scientist at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I have also worked in the NHS carrying out social research on HIV in East London hospitals and in the HIV voluntary sector. I have been teaching postgraduate courses and supervising doctoral students in qualitative methods and global health across these institutions.

I have joined the Centre for Public Health and Policy in 2022 as Senior Lecturer in Applied Health Research and I am the social science lead for the SHARE collaborative, working towards health equity in HIV and sexual health in East London. I am currently involved in knowledge exchange and community-based, participatory projects in the field of HIV and sexual health. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and continue to supervise doctoral students at the University of Oxford. I have lived in East London for over two decades. 


Research Interests:

Race, gender and intersectionality

Health equity and health inequalities

HIV and sexual health

Participatory research practice


Paparini S, Whitacre R, Smuk M, Thornhill J, Mwendera C, Strachan S, Nutland W, Orkin C. Public understanding and awareness of and response to monkeypox virus outbreak: A cross‐sectional survey of the most affected communities in the United Kingdom during the 2022 public health emergency. HIV medicine. 2022 Nov 16. 

Paparini S, Papoutsi C, Murdoch J, Green J, Petticrew M, Greenhalgh T, Shaw S. Evaluating complex interventions in context: systematic, meta-narrative review of case study approaches. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2021

Paparini S, Nutland W, Rhodes T, Nguyen VK, Anderson J. DIY HIV prevention: Formative qualitative research with men who have sex with men who source PrEP outside of clinical trials. PloS one. 2018 Aug 23;13(8):e0202830

Bernays S, Paparini S, Seeley J, Rhodes T. ‘Not Taking it Will Just be Like a Sin’: Young People Living with HIV and the Stigmatization of Less-Than-Perfect Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy. Medical Anthropology. 2017 Jul 4;36(5):485-99

Paparini S, Rhodes T. The biopolitics of engagement and the HIV cascade of care: a synthesis of the literature on patient citizenship and antiretroviral therapy. Critical Public Health. 2016 Oct 19;26(5):501-17.

Mazanderani F, Paparini S. The stories we tell: Qualitative research interviews, talking technologies and the ‘normalisation’ of life with HIV. Social Science & Medicine. 2015 Apr 1;131:66-73.


Dr Stephen Hibbs (QMUL HARP Fellow) Understanding sickle cell crises and their care: a multilevel case study

Dr Vanessa Apea (QMUL HARP Fellow) Interactions between clinicians and Black women in outpatient settings: a qualitative study

Jonny Edwards (University of Oxford) Digi-PrEP. Co-designing an evidence-based HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis digital application for use in England’s National Health Service

Francesca Dakin (University of Oxford) The Long Recovery: learning from the experiences of primary care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve staff wellbeing and working conditions.

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