Julie Balen BSc (Hons), PhD

Julie Balen profile photoSection of Public Health
School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Office: Room 2037, 2nd floor, Regent Court

Tel:  +44(0)114 222 6192
Fax: +44(0)114 222 0749

ORCiD: 0000-0002-4736-8465


I have worked in Higher Education for the last decade in various institutions around the world.  Originally trained as a biological scientist (2000-2004), I transitioned initially to public health and epidemiology (2004-2009) and then to health policy and systems (since 2009), adopting increasingly trans-disciplinary and mixed-methods approaches in my work.  At ScHARR I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Global Health, involved in independent and team-based research, teaching, student supervision and management.  My research sits broadly within the areas of global health and development, health policy/governance/politics and health systems organization/management/leadership.  I have worked in the field in Cambodia, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Nepal, Senegal, Thailand and The Gambia and have conducted policy-relevant research across Southeast Asia.  I am also studying, part-time, for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).  

Research Interests

My research interests include global health systems and health policy, leadership and governance  in health, human resources for health, system-wide challenges and opportunities posed by emerging infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases, operational/implementation research across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and harnessing trans-disciplinary concepts and mixed-methodology tools for health research.

Teaching Interests

I co-ordinate and teach on the Semester 1 modules Key Issues in Global Public Health for face-to-face (HAR675) and distance learning (HAR6047) Master of Public Health programmes (MPH and MPH-DL, respectively) as well as on Semester 2 modules Communicable Disease Control (HAR685 and HAR698) for the MPH and MPH-DL, respectively.  I also teach on the Semester 2 modules Using Policy to Strengthen Health Systems (HAR6049) and Leading and Managing Healthcare Services (HAR699) for the MPH-DL.

In our joint-programme MPH-International Development (MPH-ID), together with the Department of Geography, I also
teach on the Fieldwork in International Development (Nepal) class (HAR6056), which involves a 2-week field-class in Nepal during Semester 2.

For our new MSc in International Health Management and Leadership, together with the International Faculty, City College Thessaloniki, in Greece, I help co-ordinate courses on human resource management, leadership and teamwork.

I strive to embed research-led teaching, learning and discovery into my classes.

As part of my teaching role, I have also supervised a number of Master's students, including:

  • Dr Simukai Chigudu (MPH, Distinction, 2013, Imperial College London)
  • Ms Felicity Dormon (MSc Health Policy, Distinction, 2013, Imperial College London)
  • Ms Amy Cotes (MPH, expected completion 2014, The University of Queensland)
  • Ms Fatou Jaiteh (MPH-ID, expected completion 2014, The University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Adaku Olatise (MPH-Leadership and Management, expected completion 2014, The University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Ayesha Iqball (MPH, expected completion 2015, The University of Sheffield)

PhD Supervision

Presently, I co-supervise two PhD students:

  1. Dr Samuel Lassa whose research explores the interface between medical professionals and other stakeholders involved in Global Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, focussing on Health Systems Strengthening grants (rounds 8 and 10) in Nigeria.  Samuel is co-supervised by Dr Jenny Owen from ScHARR and Professor Aryuba Zoakah from the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. Samuel expects to complete his doctorate in September 2015
  2. Ms Maelle deSeze whose research focuses on the impact of biomedical knowledge on evidence-informed health policy making, focussing on malaria control in Senegal and The Gambia.  Maelle is co-supervised by Dr Simon Rushton from the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield and Prof Olivier Nay at the Pentheon-Sorbonne University ("Paris I"), Paris, France.  Maelle expects to complete her doctorate in August 2017.

I thoroughly enjoy supervising high-achieving students in subjects related to global health governance, health system strengthening (especially leadership and management) and neglected tropical diseases, among other areas.  Fully-funded/partially-funded students are particularly encouraged to contact me regarding supervision opportunities.

I am an external PhD thesis examiner to Doctoral students at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.  I am also an external examiner for the MPH-DL programme at the University of Liverpool, UK>


Chigudu S, Jasseh M, d'Alessandro U, Corrah T, Demba A, Balen J.  (2014)  The role of leadership in people-centred health systems: a sub-national study in The Gambia.  Health Policy and Planning Special Issue on People-Centred Health Systems.  Health Pol. and Plan.  Special Issue on People-Centred Health Systems 1-12.

Balen J, Raso G, Li YS, Zhao ZY, Yuan LP, Williams GM, Luo XS, Shi MZ, Yu XL, Utzinger J, McManus DP. (2011) Risk factors for helminth infections in a rural and a peri-urban setting of the Donting Lake area. People's Republic of China. Int. Journ. Paras. 41:1165-1173.

Coker R, Balen J, Mounier-Jack SM, Shigayeva A, Lazarus JV, Rudge JW, Naik N, Atun R. (2010) A conceptual and analytical approach to comparative analysis of country case studies: HIV/AIDS and TB control programmes and health systems integration.  Health Pol. and Plan.  25(1):i21-i31.