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Dr Sara A Morgan (née Afshar) BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD

Lecturer in Public Health

Dr Sara A Morgan (née Afshar)'s photo

Dr Sara A Morgan (née Afshar) is a Lecturer in Public Health based within the School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.

My work is guided by a desire to discover, and understand ways to improve, the causes and consequences of health inequalities, primarily during adolescence but also later into the life-course.

Sara initially trained in biomedical sciences, followed by global health and development at UCL, which led to work as a programme manager for a donor-funded programme at the National Cancer Institute in Sri Lanka and as a health advisor for an international charity.

She recently completed her doctoral studies in epidemiology and international public health. Her thesis examined the prevalence and impact of multi-morbidity in middle-income countries: for which she undertook mixed methods research, including qualitative fieldwork in Ghana. In parallel she undertook research consultancies with the World Health Organisation in Geneva and Cairo, and held responsibilities as a trustee for a local charity.

Currently, she has joined the CLAHRC team as a Lecturer in Public Health to undertake a mixed methods evaluation of a complex domestic abuse intervention, and to evaluate a region-wide alcohol prevention strategy across Hampshire and within sexual health clinics.


BSc(Hons) Biomedical Sciences, University of Southampton (2009)

MSc Global Health & Development, University College London (2010)

PhD Epidemiology and International Public Health, University of Southampton (2017)

Research interests

Sara has a special interest in the ‘toxic trio’ of domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health. Using a life-course perspective, she aims to investigate how early community-based interventions, particularly for adolescents exposed to childhood adversity, can reduce risky lifestyle behaviours and the early onset of chronic disease.

To improve health outcomes for adolescents, her interests are in:

  • applying health systems research to understand and address social inequalities;
  • evaluating complex public health interventions in the community;
  • examining risky behaviour, such as alcohol consumption, over the life-course and its influence on chronic disease;
  • engagement with health services and rehabilitation of adolescents and young adults in contact with the criminal justice system;
  • working directly with young vulnerable populations, particularly those affected by adverse childhood experiences.
Current research projects
Evaluation of the Domestic Abuse Prevention Partnership (DAPP) in Hampshire, UK (ongoing)

The DAPP is a community-based perpetrator programme led by Hampton Trust, a third sector organisation. The partnership seeks to engage all types of perpetrators of domestic abuse, with the aim of reducing harm to victims and their families. The University of Southampton are undertaking a mixed methods evaluation of the DAPP, to examine both the process and outcomes of the DAPP. The findings from this study will inform providers, policy makers, and commissioners about the feasibility and effectiveness of the new DAPP model within this study population, how the intended outcomes are achieved, and how unanticipated consequences may emerge. This will seek to inform potential stakeholders about its generalisability and replicability outside of Hampshire. (Principal Investigator - Julie Parkes; Lead Researcher - Sara A Morgan)

Evaluation of alcohol misuse screening and very brief intervention in a sexual health clinic, and region-wide alcohol strategy

The aims of the research project are to explore the feasibility, and evaluate the implementation, of an alcohol screening and brief intervention at the sexual health clinic in Portsmouth (with screening and intervention). This will include a comparison with the sexual clinic in Southampton (without screening and intervention), and an evaluation of the uptake of the web-based support both in the clinic and through a region-wide promotional campaign. 

An evaluation of an out-of-court community-based Gateway intervention programme (Co-applicant; NIHR Public Health Research Programme: £1.4M)

The research study aims to evaluate a novel court diversion scheme that provides health and social care for 18-24 year olds committing low level crime (such as possession of drugs or public disorder offences) within the Southampton Policing District; this is the first randomised control trial to-date addressing health and health-related outcomes of young offenders within a police setting. The Gateway intervention model was conceived by Hampshire Constabulary (HC) as a ‘culture changing initiative’ that seeks to address the complex needs of young adults aged 18-24 years. Central to this, the belief that transitions into adulthood are not linear and that court diversion, and pro social schemes, can support desistence amongst this vulnerable population, thereby keeping communities safer.

An evaluation of the Family Support Project (Co-investigator; £12,000)

The main purpose of the evaluation is to understand how the Family Support Project has supported improvements in the lives of families living with parental alcohol misuse in Portsmouth. Our approach will include the development, and iteration, of a logic model that details the main objectives of the project e.g. what it sets out to achieve and how this can be measured. Alongside qualitative family interviews, information will be collected from Society of St. James (SSJ) to capture what has been delivered as well as the outcomes for families. The evaluation will be written up as a summary report, to be shared among project partners and wider stakeholders. The evaluation report will help to capture the successes of the Family Support Project and how it works within the local context, thereby informing future Projects, both locally and nationally. (Co-investigator)

Consensus on the interventions and outcomes of Operation Encompass: A mixed methods evaluative study with police officers and commissioners (Chief investigator; £20,000)

With the overall view of improving outcomes for children and young people, and increasing awareness of domestic abuse, the aim of this study is to explore consensus on police priorities for future interventions and commissioning of services following Operation Encompass.

PhD Research

Multimorbidity: its prevalence and impact in middle-income countries. A multi-country comparison using household surveys and qualitative methods

Sara’s PhD used quantitative methods to examine evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the World Health Survey and the Study of Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE). Her thesis estimated the global prevalence and impact of multimorbidity across LMICs. As part of her research, she undertook qualitative field work in Accra (Ghana) to develop an in-depth understanding of the impact of multimorbidity amongst women within a LMIC. The implications of the study are wide-reaching and consider evidence for better health planning, policy, and community interventions; particularly for LMICs facing a rising multimorbidity burden.

Supervisors: Professor Paul J Roderick (Medicine), Professor Allan Hill (Social Sciences), Associate Professor Borislav Dimitrov (Medicine); Dr Caroline Eyles (Medicine)



Research group

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate research groups

Human Development and Health, Population Health Sciences Research group, Global Health Research Institute, CLAHRC, Wessex

Research project(s)


A randomised control trial, economic and qualitative evaluation to examine the effectiveness of an out-of-court community-based Gateway intervention programme aimed at improving health and well-being for young adult offenders; victim satisfaction and reducing recidivism

  • Steering Committee member for organising Educational events in Global Health
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Book Chapter




  • Teaching on MSc Public Health Modules: “Health Service, Organisation and Evaluation”, “Epidemiology: Concepts, Analysis and Application”, “Development and Implementation of Public Health Policies and Strategies” and “Qualitative Methods for Public Health”
  • Supervision and mentoring of MSc Public Health and MSc Global Health students
  • Facilitator for SSU Module – Health Improvement (BM5)
  • Undertaking appraisals/marking for MSc students in Public Health and students BM4/BM5

Available for PhD supervision.

Dr Sara A Morgan (née Afshar)
Room AC19
Faculty of Medicine
Southampton General Hospital
South Academic Block
Southampton SO16 6YD

Room Number: SGH/AC19/MP805

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