Helen Piotrowski

I work in the COUNTDOWN Social Science team as a Research Assistant, based at LSTM. In this role I support capacity strengthening of research teams in West Africa and work collaboratively with Ministries of Health to better engage communities and stakeholders for equitable Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) program delivery. I support qualitative data collection and analysis, and the synthesis of this data into practical and accessible output. I have been involved in the production and dissemination of research outputs such as practical tools to support participatory action planning, as well as co-authored manuscripts, peer publications, case studies and blogs.  Since starting in February 2019, I have worked across four projects which include:

  • Understanding the acceptability and feasibility of alternative strategies for onchocerciasis control and elimination the South West Province, Cameroon
  • Evaluation of a Participatory Action Research Cycle to develop, implement and reflect on enhanced community engagement package for preventative chemotherapy of neglected tropical diseases (PC NTDs) in Kaduna and Ogun state, Nigeria
  • Scaling up of enhanced community engagement tools for preventative chemotherapy of neglected tropical diseases (PC NTDs) in Kaduna and Ogun state, Nigeria
  • Strengthening health system for the management of cases of Female Genital Schistosomiasis in a highly endemic schistosomiasis region in Ogun State, Nigeria

Prior to starting at LSTM, I worked for the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections at Imperial College London and Public Health England as a Clinical Research Nurse. I supported clinical and qualitative research in TB, Flu and pneumonia. I qualified as a nurse in 2004 and have since worked as a TB Clinical Nurse specialist, and prior to that, a critical care nurse.

Through working in TB in the UK, and NTDs in West Africa I have developed a special interest in the social determinants of health, and in addressing structural and social barriers which perpetuate inequities of health.  I am passionate about community engagement, patient and public involvement and multi-sector partnerships to support person-centred health systems to equitably address infectious diseases.

I have a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Sussex, a Diploma in Tropical Nursing from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies from King’s College London. I am a member of the UK Participatory Research Network, LIV-TB group, Gender and Health group, Centre for Health System Strengthening and the Royal College of Nursing.