Amy Barnes

Amy Barnes

Section of Public Health
School of Health and Related Research
University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Office: Room 2037, 2nd Floor, Regent Court

Tel: +44(0)114 222 0875
Fax: +44(0)114 222 0749

ORCiD: 0000-0002-8122-9792


I joined ScHARR in December 2010 as a Lecturer in Public Health. I have an academic background in geography (BSc), environment and international development (MA Econ) and politics (PhD). I work at the interface between these disciplines and public health.

I work with other researchers, community organisations and/or government (in the UK and internationally) to help understand and find ways to support people to influence decision-making and take collective action to improve where we live: because having a sense of control and influence is a right and important for our health and wellbeing.

I am interested in everyday democracy: not just formal politics, but how people get involved, participate, listen and interact with each other in everyday life: in community spaces, workplaces, and public services.

Research Interests

My research focuses on issues relating to policy and everyday democracy: participation, influencing decision-making/political inclusion, and community/collective action to address wider determinants of public health.

Given the cross-cutting nature of my research, I have worked on a range of public health topics. Recent examples include: neighbourhood planning, social movements and coproduction, healthy child development, maternal health, and food environment policy.I am increasingly getting involved in community-engaged participatory research, including supporting work involving participatory video.

Teaching Interests

I teach on ScHARR’s suite of Masters in Public Health (MPH) courses. I see my role as a ‘facilitator’; supporting and guiding students towards their goals for learning about public health and policy. I like asking questions and try to help students participate in 'real-life' learning activities; for example: designing role plays about policy and organising public health research placements with community partners.

PhD Supervision

I have successfully supervised 4 research students to completion. I am currently supervising 2 other students whose projects focus on: local obesity policy, asset-based approaches to health promotion and lived experiences of welfare reform/universal credit. I am interested in supervising research students in the following areas:

  • collective action/community action and wider determinants of health
  • healthy public policy/health-in-all policies (HiAP)
  • political literacy, power and voice within public policy processes
  • neighbourhood planning

Professional Activities

I have been an external examiner at Queen Mary University of London (Global Health) and the University of Liverpool.

Research Projects

In the UK, I am currently working on a participatory review looking at how people influence and exert control in decision-making about their local area, focusing particularly on what happens in contexts of resource constraint. The review is part of the Places and Communities theme within the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School of Public Health Research (SPHR) and is driven by recognition that creating the conditions for people to exert more control over their lives and where they live is central to addressing health inequity. I am also working on various community-engaged projects in Sheffield in an effort to support community action to address wider determinants of health.

Internationally, I am currently working on a theory-driven implementation study of the scale up of 24/7 round-the-clock maternity care in Basic Health Units (BHU) in Punjab Pakistan, working with partners in both Pakistan and Canada (funded by the MRC).

In terms of completed projects, I recently finished a project with partners in Ghana and Kenya on healthy food environment policy, using the INFORMAS Food EPI index to assess government actions (funded by MRC/GCRF). I led the Four Nations Study team, working with the Association of the Directors of Public Health on a comparative systems review and policy analysis of public health across the four countries of the UK. I also worked on an evaluation of Big Local - a community empowerment initiative in England - as part of SPHR team to understand how communities develop collective capabilities to exert control and influence in ways that could improve health and wellbeing.

Selected Publications

Barnes A, Black M, Baxter S et al. (2019 in press) Understanding public health systems through a participatory systematic review and systems infographic. The Lancet.

Cassetti V, Powell K, Barnes A and Sanders T (2019) A systematic scoping review of asset-based approaches to promote health in communities: development of a framework. Global Health Promotion.

Black M, Barnes A et al (2019) Learning across the UK: a review of public health systems and policy approaches to early child development since political devolution, Journal of Public Health.

Lewis S, Bambra C, Barnes A et al (2018) Reframing 'participation' and 'inclusion' in public health policy and practice to address health inequalities: Evidence from a major resident-led neighbourhood improvement initiative Health and Social Care in the Community.

Clark J, Barnes Amy, Gardiner C (2018) Reframing Global Palliative Care Advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goal Era: A Qualitative Study of the Views of International Palliative Care Experts. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Barnes A, Brown G, and Harman S (2016) Understanding global health and development partnerships: Perspectives from African and global health system professionals, Social Science and Medicine

Barnes Amy, Brown GW, Harman S (2015) Global Politics of Health Reform in Africa: Performance, Participation and Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Barnes Amy, Parkhurst J. (2014) Can global health policy be depoliticised? A critique of global calls for evidence-based policy. In: (eds) Brown GW, Yamey G and Wamala S. The Handbook of Global Health Policy, Cambridge: Wiley-Blackwell.

Barnes Amy and Brown GW (2011) The Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Tuberculosis and Malaria: Expertise, Accountability and the Depoliticisation of Global Health Governance. In O Williams & S Rushton (eds) Global Health Partnerships and Private Foundations: New Frontiers in Health and Health Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Recent Reports

Harris J, Barnes A et al (2019) Evaluating Co-production - We are Co:Create: Connecting human stories to strategy. Report: South Yorkshire Housing Association/Department of Health.

Harris Janet, Barnes A et al. (2019) Be Cancer SAFE Social Movement Evaluation Report.

Asiki G, Wanjohi M, Barnes A et al (2019) Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) country scorecards and priority recommendations for action in Kenya. Food-EPI Report.

Laar A, Tandoh A, Barnes A et al. (2019) Benchmarking Ghana's Policies for Creating Healthy Food Environments. Food-EPI Report.

Barnes Amy et al (2018) Four Nations Study - A comparative systems review and themeatic policy analysis of public health across the four constituent countries of the UK.  Research Report – FINAL Published version June 2018. Completed on behalf of the Association of the Directors of Public Health (ADPH).

Research Grants

MRC Health Systems Research Initiative (UK); Scaling up the 24/7 Basic Health Unit (BHU) strategy to provide round-the-clock maternity care in Punjab, Pakistan: A theory-driven, co-produced implementation study; PI: S Salway; £781, 477; 2018-2022; Role: Co-I.

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group - BeCancerSafe programme (UK) Evaluating Social Movement in Cancer Prevention, Awareness and Support for South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire; PI: J Harris; £49,000; 2018-2019. Role: Co-I.

Health Foundation (UK); Comparative systems review and thematic policy analysis of public health across the four constituent countries of the UK; £79,986; 2017. Role: PI.

NIHR School for Public Health Research (UK); Communities in Control Study (long-term evaluation of a community empowerment initiative); Main PI: J Popay, LiLAC, ScHARR-PI: S Salway, University of Sheffield; £268,136 (to the School of Health and Related Research); 2013-2017. Role: Co-I/Res.

MRC/GCRF NCD Foundation Award (UK); Dietary transitions in African cities: leveraging evidence for interventions and policy to prevent diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs); PI: M Holdsworth; £597,850; 2017-2019; Role: Co-I.

South Yorkshire Housing Association (UK); Evaluating Co:Create – empowering service users through co-production; PI: J Harris Co-PI: A Barnes; University of Sheffield; £19,000; 2016-2019. Role: Co-PI/Res.

EQUINET/IDRC (Canada) Global Health Diplomacy Grant (role and participation of African actors in global health policy); PI: A Barnes, G Brown University of Sheffield $60,000; 2012-2013. Role: Co-PI.