Search for courses or information

Dr Susanna Rance

Senior Lecturer

College of Applied Health and Communities, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience

Susanna is a sociologist and qualitative researcher specialising in gender, sexual and reproductive health and rights, ethnography and participatory methodologies. She lectures in Health Studies and Public Health.


    Expertise/research interests:

    Qualitative methodologies: grounded theory; ethnography; discourse analysis; conversation analysis; mapping of social actors; organisational case studies; NVivo data coding and analysis

    Participatory methodologies: participatory action-research; participatory advocacy; peer ethnography; community engagement; co-design and co-production; Patient and Public Involvement 

    Research ethics and politics; ethnic, social, cultural and linguistic diversity and inclusion

    Gender studies: masculinities; sexual and gender diversity; Queer studies; sexual and reproductive rights; gender-based violence

    Women’s health; sexual and reproductive health; contraception; abortion; childbirth; HIV/AIDS

    Recently completed and current projects:

    The long-term health and wellbeing impacts of Healthy New Towns: a six-month feasibility study of Healthy New Town demonstrator sites in England. University of East London and Newcastle University; NIHR Public Health Research Programme; 2018-19. Co-investigator.

    External evaluation of the Tower Hamlets Social Movement For Life programme. Tower Hamlets/Institute for Health and Human Development, UEL; 2017-18. Lead evaluator.

    Low Birth-Weight in Newham: Definition, antecedents and prevention. University of East London; UCL Partners; 2015-16. Research Fellow.

    Evaluation of Seafarers Link telephone group peer support service. Plymouth University; Community Network; 2014-15. Lead evaluator. 

    How can frontline expertise and new models of care best contribute to safely reducing avoidable acute admissions? Plymouth University; NIHR; 2013-15. Senior Research Fellow.

    An ethnographic organisational study of alongside midwifery units: a follow-on study from the Birthplace in England programme. King’s College London/City University London; NIHR; 2011-13. Research Associate.

    Birthplace in England research: organisational case studies. King’s College London/City University London; 2009-11. Research Associate.


    • test


    Barriers to women's access to alongside midwifery units in England

    Rayment, J., Rance, S., McCourt, C. and Sandall, J.. 2019. Midwifery. 77, pp. 78-85..

    Organising safe and sustainable care in alongside midwifery units: Findings from an organisational ethnographic study

    McCourt, C, Rance, S, Rayment, J and Sandall, J. 2018. Midwifery. 65, pp. 26-34..

    Working for patient safety: a qualitative study of women’s help-seeking during acute perinatal events

    Mackintosh N, Rance S, Carter W, Sandall J. 2017. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 17: 232.

    ‘Causas públicas, historias privadas: los derechos reproductivos y el aborto en Bolivia’ (Public causes, private stories: reproductive rights and abortion in Bolivia).

    Rozee, V, Rance, S and Salinas Mulder, S . 2016. Bulletin de l’Institut Français d'Études Andines. 45(3), pp. 389-406.

    ‘Place of birth and concepts of wellbeing: an analysis from two ethnographic studies of midwifery units in England’

    McCourt, C, Rayment, J, Rance, S and Sandall, J. 2016. Anthropology in Action. 23(3), pp. 17–29.

    ‘How can frontline expertise and new models of care best contribute to safely reducing avoidable acute admissions? A mixed-methods study of four acute hospitals’

    Pinkney, J, Rance, S, Benger, J, Byng, R et al.. 2016. Health Services and Delivery Research. 4(3).

    ‘What makes alongside midwifery-led units work? Lessons from a national research project’

    Rayment, J, McCourt, C, Rance, S and Sandall, J. 2015. Practising Midwife. 18(6).

    Mackintosh N, Watson K, Rance S, Sandall J. Case 5. I'm left in fear: an account of harm in maternity care. In: Johnson J, Haskell H, Barach P. Case Studies in Patient Safety: Foundations for Core Competencies. 2015; Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning; pp. 63-72.

    Diniz CSG, d'Orsi E, Madeira Domingues RMS, Alves Torres J, Bastos Dias MA, Schneck CA, Lansky S, Fanaia Teixeira NZ, Rance S, Sandall J. Implementation of the presence of companions during hospital admission for childbirth: data from the Birth in Brazil national survey. Cad. Saúde Pública/Reports in Public Health; 2014;30 Suppl 1:S1-14.

    McCourt C, Rayment J, Rance S, Sandall J. An ethnographic organisational study of alongside midwifery units: a follow-on study from the Birthplace in England programme. Health Serv Deliv Res 2014;2(7).

    Rance S, Rayment J, McCourt C, Sandall J. Experiences of Women and Families in Alongside Midwifery Units; Tackling the Bottlenecks and Critical Touchpoints. Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition; 2013;98(1):58

    Mackintosh N, Watson K, Rance S, Sandall J. Value of a modified early obstetric warning system (MEOWS) in managing maternal complications in the peripartum period: an ethnographic study. Quality and Safety in Health Care; published 18 July 2013, 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001781.

    Rance S, McCourt C, Rayment J, et al. Women’s safety alerts in maternity care: is speaking up enough? Quality and Safety in Health Care 2013; doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001295.

    Rance S, Sandall J, McCourt C, Rayment J. Women's journeys through birthplace settings: analysis of the management and experience of escalation and transfer during labour and birth. Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition 2012;97(1):78. 2012.

    McCourt C, Rayment J, Rance S, Sandall J. Organisational strategies and midwives’ readiness to provide care for out of hospital births: An analysis from the Birthplace organisational case studies. Midwifery 2012; Rayment J, Rance S, McCourt C,  Sandall J. Choosing out of hospital birth. AIMS Journal.2012;24(2):11.

    Rayment J, McCourt C, Rance S, Sandall J. Maternity Services in rural areas: learning from two trusts serving rural communities. Perspective 2012; 15:19-20. McCourt C, Rance S, Rayment J, Sandall J. Birthplace in England Research programme; Organisational Case Studies Final Report 6. London: DH/SDO; 2011.

    Rance S (coordinator). Abriendo el paquete envuelto: violencias y derechos en la Ciudad de El Alto (Unwrapping the package: violence and rights in the City of El Alto. Book and illustrated booklet for dissemination in health and community centres). El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia: Centro de Promoción de la Mujer Gregoria Apaza/Solidaridad Internacional Bolivia; 2009.

    Rance, S (2008) Aborto Inseguro (Unsafe Abortion). In: Tealdi, JC (Director), Diccionario Latinoamericano de Bioética (Latin American Dictionary of Bioethics). Bogotá: UNESCO/Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Bioética/Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

    ‘La proliferación de discursos en los estudios de género’ (The proliferation of discourses in gender studies).

    Rance, S. 2007. Estudios. Filosofía práctica e historia de las ideas (Studies. Practical philosophy and history of ideas). 8(9), pp.13-22.

    ‘¿Quienes son las usuarias finales? El dolor y los actores-red en tecnologías para la atención postaborto’ (Who are the end-users? Pain and actor-networks in post-abortion technologies). In: M da Silva e Costa and ME Leandro (orgs.), Participação, Saúde e Solidariedade: Riscos e Desafios (Participation, Health and Solidarity: Risks and Challenges).

    Rance, S. 2006. Braga, Portugal: Universidade do Minho. pp. 863-878.

    ‘Abortion discourse in Bolivian hospital contexts: doctors’ repertoire conflicts and the Saving Women device’

    Rance, S. 2005. Sociology of Health and Illness 27(2). pp. 188-214.

    ‘“Saliendo del anonimato”: El mapeo de actores/as sociales como instrumento para el diseño de políticas’ (No longer anonymous: the mapping of social actors as an instrument for policy design). In: Cáceres C et al. (editors). Ciudadanía sexual en América Latina: abriendo el debate (Sexual citizenship in Latin America: opening the debate).

    Rance, S and Tellería, J. 2004. Lima: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. pp. 91-108.

    ‘Interrogating data: A grounded theory approach’. In: Ulin, PR, Robinson, ET, Tolley, EE and McNeill ET.  Qualitative Methods: A field guide to applied research in sexual and reproductive health.

    Rance, S. 2001. Research Triangle Park, NC: Family Health International. pp. 31-32.

    ‘Investigando con etica: aportes para la Reflexión-Acción’ (Ethical research: proposals for reflection and action).

    Rance, S and Salinas Mulder, S. 2001. La Paz: CIEPP/Population Council.

    ‘Unethical ethics? Reflections on intercultural research practices’

    Salinas Mulder, S, Rance, S, Serrate Suárez, M, Castro Condori, M. 2000. Reproductive Health Matters 8(15). pp. 104-112.

    ‘Safe Motherhood, Unsafe Abortion: A Reflection on the Impact of Discourse’

    Rance, S . 1999. In: Safe Motherhood Initiatives: Critical Issues. London: Reproductive Health Matters. pp. 73-84.

    Trato humano y educación médica (Humane treatment and medical education)

    Rance S. 1999. La Paz: Viceministerio de Asuntos de Género, Generacionales y Familia.

    ‘Aborto e anticoncepção na interação da consulta médica: um estudo de caso’

    Parras, M and Rance, S. 1997. In: Costa, A de Oliveira (org.) Direitos Tardios: Saúde, Sexualidade e Reproducao na América Latina. São Paulo: PRODIR/ Fundação Carlos Chagas/Editora 34. pp. 225 – 248.

    ‘Misinformation, Mistrust and Mistreatment: Family Planning Among Bolivian Market Women’

    Schuler, SR, Choque, ME and Rance, S.. 1994. Studies in Family Planning, 25(4). pp. 211–221.



    Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) graduates in the UK are under-represented among students progressing to higher degrees by research (Connor et al., 2004; Wakeling, 2005; Wakeling and Kyriacou, 2010). At the University of East London (UEL), 67% of undergraduates identify as BAME and 33% as White; while 45% of students enrolled in research degrees identify as BAME and 55% White.

    I am leading the Demystifying Research initiative, created in 2018 with colleagues in HSB's College of Applied Health and Communities. The initiative aims to contribute to widening the participation of UEL students and staff in research activities and careers. Eleven researchers, with diverse genders, ethnicities and professional levels, wrote first-person accounts about their career pathways. When these stories were presented at a UEL
    conference, the Race Equality Charter team identified their potential to help promote greater equality in students' transition from undergraduate to postgraduate and research degrees.

    With videographer Ashton Sund, and support from UEL's Funded Internship Scheme, we are in the final stage of production of an 8-minute video - "Seeing You In Research" - created from filmed interviews with five of the researcher-authors. We are developing a follow-on project for a library of longer film clips with each person's story. We are also preparing a medical sociology conference submission on the Demystifying Research concept and its application to promote equality in research career progression.

    Watch this space for further news!



    Qualitative and participatory research methods applied to health services research, gender studies and development studies.

    I currently teach in areas of Health Studies, Public Health, Health Promotion and Nursing Studies.

    I am module leader for HS5103, Social Patterns of Health and Illness.

    I am particularly interested in dissertation supervision at B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD levels.

    My teaching and supervision experience has included the following:

    King’s College London, School of Medicine. Intercalated B.Sc. in Global Health, module 6BBYGH06, Research Methodology in Global Health, lecture: Qualitative abortion research in Bolivia, 20/01/11, 9/02/12.

    King’s College London, School of Medicine. MPH, module 7MHPH021 Social Research Methods for Public Health, lecture: Participatory research methods for public health, 26/10/2011, 31/10/12.

    King’s College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery. M.Sc. in Advanced Practice - Women’s Healthcare, module 7KNIM720, Social & Political Aspects of Women's Health module, lecture: Gender and technology in women’s healthcare: exploring meanings using ethnographic methods, 31/05/12,19/06/14. Supervisor of M.Sc. dissertation on midwives’ experiences caring for women with FGM, 2012.

    San Andrés state university (UMSA), La Paz, Bolivia. Post-Graduate Centre for Development Sciences (CIDES-UMSA), Research and Teaching Associate. Lecturer for Ph.D. and M.Sc. research methodology modules and dissertation workshops. Dissertation supervision. 1996 - 2009.

    San Andrés state university (UMSA), La Paz, Bolivia. Departments of Sociology and Anthropology. Lecturer for undergraduate dissertation workshops. Dissertation supervision. 2003 - 2009.

    Cochabamba state university, Bolivia. Centre for Post-Graduate Studies (CESU-UMSS). M.Sc. in Social Policy with Mention in Rights of Children and Adolescents. Lecturer for Research Methodology modules, 2005 - 2007.

    Trinity College, University of Dublin. Department of Sociology, M.Phil. in Ethnic and Racial Studies, lecturer for core module  SO7002: Researching Race and Ethnicity, 1998-1999.

    When based in Bolivia, between 1991 and 2009 I carried out various national and international research and evaluation consultancies in the areas of women’s health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender and social development. These included evaluations of urban and rural educational and health projects, health services reform programmes, sexual and reproductive health services and regional gender programmes.