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Dr Philippa Waterhouse

Dr Philippa Waterhouse

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr. Philippa Waterhouse is a Lecturer in Health and Social Care at The Open University. Previously, she worked as a Teaching Fellow at The Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton. She holds qualifications in Population Studies (Bsc: UoS) and Demography (Msc & PhD: UoS). She is currently Programme Lead for the Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care at The Open University. 

Research interests

Philippa's research interests and expertise lie at the intersection between Demography and Sociology. Her academic work centres on exploring population health in under-researched contexts and groups, with a particular focus on women and children. She has applied this interest to explore a diversity of substantial health challenges that manifest in a range of developmental contexts; including work-family balance in sub-Saharan Africa, the sexual and reproductive health of young women in conflict contexts, the SRH of women who have sex with women in the UK, and multimorbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Teaching interests

Philippa's expertise has led to her contributing to the development of teaching material focusing on timely and contemporary debates on health, for example Global Health and Ageing Societies (K242). She also has a passion for the harnessing of technology to enhance student quality of learning and student success. For example, in the rewrite of K311, Promoting public health: skills, perspectives and practice, Philippa led on the development of a 'Map my skills' interactive tool to aid students in the collection of evidence for professional registration - a tool that has potential for application across a range of disciplines. She was module chair for two-year for K101, Introduction to Health and Social Care, a key introductory module at the Open University and the gateway into the Health and Social Care Degree.

Impact and engagement

Philippa's research is explicitly designed to provide insights into the health of marginalised groups, in particular challenging strongly engrained assumptions. For example, her work on work-family balance in sub-Saharan Africa challenges assumptions around the compatibility of informal labour and childcare, and argues for the greater recognition of th relationship between women's work and other development goals. Her work also considers the application of knowledge, theories and concepts to under-researched contexts.

Philippa is committed to the development of open educational resources, which engages the public in key health debates. For example, she was one of the lead academics on the OpenLearn interactive 'Type 2 diabetes across the globe: What's going on?', which approaches a complex health topic in an accessible and engaging way.

External collaborations

Philippa's past and present collaborations have included:

  • Dr Rachel Bennett (University of Gloucestershire): young women work-family transitions in South Africa
  • Dr Aisha Hutchinson (University of Bedfordshire), Dr Patricia Cox (University of Central Lancashire), Dr Sarah Neal and Dr Jane March-McDonald (University of Southampton): the sexual and reproductive health needs of unaccompanied asylum seekers in the United Kingdom
  • Dr Pamela Banda (University of the Witwatersrand), Dr Amos Channon and Dr Nele van der Wielen (University of Southampton): multimorbidity among older people in South Africa
  • Ms Sarah Burkill (Karolinska Institute): the sexual and reproductive health of women who have sex with women in Great Britain

Philippa's interest in population health has resulted in her being invited to review manuscripts for international recognised journals including Maternal and Child Health Journal, International Journal for Equity in Health and Journal of Biosocial Science.


The association between family structure and children’s BMI over time - the mediating role of income (2021-03)
Burkill, Sarah; Waterhouse, Philippa and Pazzagli, Laura
Annals of Epidemiology, 55 (pp. 83-90)

Combining and managing work-family-study roles and perceptions of institutional support (2021)
Samra, Rajvinder; Waterhouse, Philippa and Lucassen, Mathijs
Distance Education ((In press))

“I really wanted to abort”: Desire for abortion, failed abortion and forced motherhood in South-Western Nigeria (2021)
Oluseye, Ayomide; Waterhouse, Philippa and Hoggart, Lesley
Global Public Health ((Early Access))

Early maternal work and child vocabulary development: evidence from Ethiopia (2021)
Waterhouse, Philippa and Bennett, Rachel
Journal of Family Studies ((Early access))

Mental distress and its relationship to distance education students’ work and family roles (2020)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Distance Education, 41(4) (pp. 540-558)

Sources of Sex Information Used by Young British Women Who Have Sex with Women (WSW) and Women Who Have Sex Exclusively with Men (WSEM): Evidence from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (2019-03-31)
Burkill, Sarah and Waterhouse, Philippa
Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 16(1) (pp. 22-30)

Sexual Problems and Distress among Men and Women with Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Sexual Partners: An Analysis of a Nationally Representative Sample of Adults in Great Britain (2019)
Waterhouse, Philippa and Burkill, Sarah
International Journal of Sexual Health, 31(4) (pp. 363-374)

Work and Family Transitions and the Self-Rated Health of Young Women in South Africa (2018-04-30)
Bennett, R. and Waterhouse, Philippa
Social Science and Medicine, 203 (pp. 9-18)

Understanding processes of risk and protection that shape the sexual and reproductive health of young women affected by conflict: the price of protection. (2017-08-17)
Hutchinson, Aisha; Waterhouse, Philippa; March-McDonald, Jane; Neal, Sarah and Ingham, Roger
Conflict and health, 11, Article 15

Combining work and child care: The experiences of mothers in Accra, Ghana (2017-05-17)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Hill, Allan G. and Hinde, Andrew
Development Southern Africa, 34(6) (pp. 771-786)

The impact of multi-morbidity on disability among older adults in South Africa: do hypertension and socio-demographic characteristics matter? (2017-04-08)
Waterhouse, Philippa; van der Wielen, Nele; Banda, Pamela Chirwa and Channon, Andrew Amos
International Journal for Equity in Health, 16, Article 62

Understanding Early Marriage and Transactional Sex In the Context of Armed Conflict: Protection at a Price (2016-03)
Hutchinson, Aisha; Waterhouse, Philippa; March-McDonald, Jane; Neal, Sarah and Ingham, Roger
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42(1) (pp. 45-49)

Childbearing and Economic Work: The Health Balance of Women in Accra, Ghana (2016-02-28)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Hill, Allan G. and Hinde, Andrew
Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(2) (pp. 408-421)

Researching from home. Doctoral research in a pandemic (2021-06)
Álvarez, Inma; Dennis, Carol Azumah and Waterhouse, Philippa
In: Ubachs, G. ed. The Envisioning Report for Empowering Universities (pp. 10-12)
Publisher : EADTU | Published : Maastricht, NL

Combining economic work and motherhood: challenges faced by women in sub-Saharan Africa
Waterhouse, Philippa; Bennett, Rachel; Aravinda, Guntupalli and Mokomone, Zitha
In: Baikady, Rajendra; Przeperski, Jaroslaw; Nadesan, Varishini; Islam, Rezaul and Jianguo, Gao eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems ((In press))
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London

Exploring perceptions of social presence among researching professionals
Waterhouse, Philippa; Dennis, Carol Azumah and Álvarez, Inma
In: Golam, Jamil and Morley, Dawn eds. Agile Learning Environments ((In press))
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London