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 am a Lecturer in Public Health and joined ScHARR in 2010. 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 in ScHARR part-time (3.5 days a week).

I have research interests in the UK and internationally on the related topics of: policy, participation and health equity; and community action to address wider determinants of health.

Given the cross-cutting nature of my expertise, I have worked (and continue to work) on a range of health equity and public health policy topics, for example:

• community development and action
• co-production in commissioning 
• maternal health 
• food environments 
• partnership and the governance of public health programmes/systems

I am increasingly interested in community-engaged participatory research and multi-level systems approaches (local-global) to understanding policy and public health in practice.

Research Interests

In the UK, I am currently working on research and evaluation projects relating to how people influence and exert control in decision-making about where they live. This includes community-engaged participatory research in Sheffield; supporting community action to address wider determinants of health.

Internationally, I am working with lead partners in Sheffield, Pakistan and Canada (funded by the MRC) 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.

I recently led a project workstream with partners in Ghana and Kenya, using the INFORMAS Food EPI index, to assess the extent of government action to create healthy food environments (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 co-led local work on the ‘Communities in Control Study’ evaluating Big Local - a community empowerment initiative in England - to help understand how communities develop collective capabilities to exert control and influence in ways that could improve health and wellbeing (funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research).

Teaching Interests

I teach on ScHARR’s suite of Masters in Public Health (MPH) courses – both online and face-to-face. I see my role as a ‘facilitator’ who supports and guides students to help the process of learning. I enjoy small-group teaching and creating opportunities for students to participate in 'real-life' learning activities:

• policy simulation / role play
• inquiry-based group work on locally-relevant public health topics
• research placements with community partners

PhD Supervision

I have successfully supervised 4 research students to completion. I am currently supervising 3 students whose projects focus on: asset-based approaches to health promotion, healthy child development, and experiences of welfare reform/universal credit.

I am interested in supervising research students in the following areas:

• community development / community action and wider determinants of health
• healthy public policy / health-in-all policies (HiAP)
• participation, power and voice within public policy processes
• participatory research for public health

Professional Activities

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

Selected Publications

Two articles from the communities in control study are forthcoming on power, participatory spaces and collective capabilities for control [proofs in production].

Laar, A, Barnes A et al (2020) Implementation of healthy food environment policies to prevent nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in Ghana: National experts’ assessment of government action, Food Policy.

Barnes A, Black M, Baxter S et al. (2019) 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.

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.

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

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.