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Dr Elizabeth Ford

Headshot of Dr Liz Ford

Dr Elizabeth Ford (MA, DPhil)

Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Research
T: +44 (0)1273 641974
Location: Watson Building, University of Brighton, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9PH

Area of expertise: GP patient records, mental health, epidemiology

Research areas: Primary Care and Public Health, Dementia



Elizabeth Ford is Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Research. After studying for an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Oxford University, Elizabeth came to the University of Sussex in 2004 to take up a DPhil in clinical health psychology investigating the influences on women’s perceptions of childbirth and their development of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of traumatic birth.

Elizabeth held postdoctoral positions at University of Sussex, Barts and the London Medical School, and at SHORE-C in BSMS. She worked as Research Fellow in Primary Care Epidemiology in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at BSMS from 2011 to 2016, and as Lecturer in Research Methodology from 2016 to 2018. Her research focuses on mental health and dementia in primary care and community settings, with a particular focus on novel methods for using electronic health data such as patient records.


Elizabeth’s current research uses electronic GP patient records as data for epidemiological studies in dementia and mental health. She works with epidemiologists, data scientists and social scientists to understand how clinicians interact with patient record systems, and to work out ways of extracting the most useful and accurate information from these records. Her work focuses on the interface between human and computer in the clinical environment, enabling better understanding of data quality and developing appropriate analytical methods for dealing with complex, multi-dimensional clinical data. She also carries out studies to understand the public’s opinions on the use of NHS patient data for research.  

See her current project on dementia here >

Elizabeth’s previous research focussed on postnatal mental health and family relationships, and the influence of social relationships (at home and work) on common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. In addition, she looked at how care received during diseases, such as cancer, can influence mental health.



Elizabeth supports research methodology, ethics and data governance for Module 404 “Individual Research Project” in the medical undergraduate curriculum. She supports students and supervisors in all aspects of research project design, navigating ethics and governance, and data analysis (statistical or qualitative). 

She also teaches research methods and statistics in year 2 and 3 of the undergraduate medical curriculum, and on postgraduate courses. She regularly supervises individual research projects for fourth year medical students as well as masters and PhD students.

Selected Publications

Ford, E., Boyd, A., Bowles, JKF., et al. (2019). Our data, our society, our health: A vision for inclusive and transparent health data science in the United Kingdom and beyond. Learning Health Systems 2019;e10191. (DOI:

Aitken M, Tully M P, Porteous C, … Ford, E., et al., (2019) Consensus Statement on Public Involvement and Engagement with Data-Intensive Health Research. International Journal of Population Data Science 4:1:06 (DOI:

Stockdale, J., Cassell, J., and Ford, E (2019) “Giving something back”: A systematic review and ethical enquiry into public opinions on the use of patient data for research in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland Wellcome Open Res 2018, 3:6 v2 (doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.13531.2)

Ford, E., Greenslade, N., Paudyal, P., Bremner, S., Smith, H.E., Banerjee, S., Sadhwani, S., Rooney, P., Oliver, S. and Cassell, J. (2018). Predicting dementia from primary care records: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0194735.

Ford, E., Lee, S., Shakespeare, J. & Ayers, S. (2017) Diagnosis and management of perinatal depression and anxiety in general practice: a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. British Journal of General Practice bjgp17X691889.

Ford, E., Shakespeare, J., Elias, F. & Ayers, S. (2017) Recognition and management of perinatal depression and anxiety by general practitioners: a systematic review. Family Practice 34 (1): 11-19.

Stephens, S., Ford, E., Paudyal, P., & Smith, H., (2016) Effectiveness of psychological interventions for postnatal depression deliverable in primary care: a meta-analysis. Annals of Family Medicine 14:463-472.

Ford, E, Campion, A, Chamles, D. A, Habash-Bailey, H, & Cooper, M. (2016) “You don’t immediately stick a label on them”: Influences on general practitioners’ recording of anxiety disorders. BMJ Open:

Ford, E, Carroll, J, Smith, H, Davies, K, Koeling, R, Petersen, I, Rait, G. & Cassell, J. (2016) What evidence is there for a delay in diagnostic coding of rheumatoid arthritis in UK general practice records? An observational study of free text. BMJ Open:

Ford, E., Carroll, J., Smith, H., Scott, D. & Cassell, J. (2016) Extracting information from the text of electronic medical records to improve case detection: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association: DOI