Dr Ruth Blackburn currently holds a post-doctoral UKRI Innovation Fellowship at the Institute of Health Informatics. Her fellowship focuses on using data science to examine adolescent health behaviours in schools, particularly those relating to self-harm, violence, and drug or alcohol-use.
Ruth’s recent work has focused on measuring and addressing physical and mental health inequalities, particularly for vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups such as homeless people and women with substance misuse. She has worked with several teams, including the Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E), Public Health England and UCL Infectious Disease Informatics, on a range projects relating to infectious disease control. These include integrating viral genomic data and hospital electronic health records to identify in-hospital transmission of influenza, and evaluating the role of bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens as triggers for acute vascular events.
Ruth has a PhD in epidemiology, which formed part of the PRIMROSE programme of work to predict and manage cardiovascular risk in people with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her PhD research used UK primary care data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) to investigate inequalities in statin prescribing and provides the first estimates of the effectiveness of statins for reducing first myocardial infarction and stroke in people with severe mental illness.