Professor Sheena Asthana

Professor Sheena Asthana


School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Business)


I have established alarge programme of health policy and health services research, involving amulti-disciplinary team of researchers, collaboration across academicinstitutions, strong collaborative links with NHS constituencies, the use ofextensive health service, public health and related datasets, and a range ofquantitative and qualitative research methods. I have been an applicant on justunder £8 million of funded research projects, attracting over £1.6 million as aprincipal investigator. My research programme spans four broad areas: healthcare equity; health inequalities and evidence based public health; community participationin health development; and health services evaluation. I have also beeninvolved in research examining education and equity in the UK and on LocalGovernment resource allocation.

A hallmark of my researchis its contribution to Knowledge Exchange. Examples include the largest localevaluation of a Health Action Zone (the largest local evaluation of a HAZ); theproduction of systematic reviews, evidence synthesis and economic analyses toinform NICE Public Health Intervention Guidance; and my Department of Health(DH) funded work on resource allocation. My impact case study on the formulafunding of public services was rated a 4* in REF2014.


BA (Hons) in Geography. First Class (Congratulatory); St John’s College, Oxford, 1986

PhD in Community Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1991

Roles on external bodies

2017-               Member, Advisory Committee onResource Allocation (ACRA) (DH)

2017-               Member, Commissioning Panel,Policy Research Programme (DH)

2017-               Trustee, Change Grow Live(national charity)

2016-               Non Executive Director, NationalInstitute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (DH)

2014-17           Member of the Technical AdvisoryGroup (TAG) to the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) (DH)

2014-               Member of the Advisory Group to‘The Project’ (NGO providing mental health support to children and youngpeople)

2014-              Panel Member (Funding),Devon Community Foundation

2014-               Steering Group Member, RuralEngland.

2012-15           Council Member, Royal Society forPublic Health

2012-15           Trustee, Plymouth Age Concern

2011-15           Member, Commissioning Panel, PolicyResearch Programme (DH)

2011-12           Member, Community Organisers andCommunity First Expert Reference Group (Cabinet Office)

2007-13           Member, Audit and Risk Committee,Commission for Rural Communities

2006-13           Board Member, Commission for RuralCommunities (DEFRA)

2006-2008       Member, Policy and Management Group, Devon Rural Network

2006-2008       Member, Rural Practice Standing Group, Royal Collegeof General Practitioners

2005-2006       Board Member, Countryside Agency (DEFRA)

2003-2006       Advisory Editor, Social Science and Medicine

2001-2003       Technical Advisor. Rural HealthAllocations Forum

2000-2002       Member, Cornwall & Isles of ScillyHealth Action Zone Steering Group

1999-2002       Chair, Geography of Health Research Groupof the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of BritishGeographers

1999                Visiting Lecturer, University of Turkku, Finland

1998-2002       Member, Plymouth Health Action ZoneEvaluation & Research Board

1997-2000       Book Reviews Editor, Health and Place

1996-1999       Secretary & Treasurer, Geography ofHealth Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers

1995-2008       Member, Editorial Board, Health and Place

Teaching interests

Health policy; Social Justice; International Social Policy; Globalisation and health; Sustainability

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner (PhD), IDS, University of Sussex, 2013.

External Examiner (PhD), Northumbria University, 2011.

External Examiner (PhD), Department of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, 2008.

External Examiner (PhD), Department of Geography, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, May, 2000.

External Examiner (PhD), Dept of Urban Planning and Development, South Bank University, May 1999.

Research interests

See Prof Asthana's publications

Research interests:

  • Formula funding
  • NHS resource allocation
  • Health care inequalities
  • Health inequalities
  • Community-based strategies in health development (including HIV/AIDS)
  • Evaluation

Other research

Public service funding; police formula; local government funding; social care funding; evaluation

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

P. Evans: Urban Mosquitoes and Measures for their Control in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Awarded 1995; ESRC funded.

P. Vong-Ek. Factors Affecting the Incidence and Duration of Breastfeeding in Thailand: Implications for Health Promotion. Awarded 2000. WHO funded.

S. Burley. Changing Childbirth: the Role of Antenatal Services. Awarded 2004. University Scholarship, University of Plymouth.

S. Richardson.The Challenge of Interagency Information Sharing. A Systemic Analysis of Two Sure Start Children's Centres. Awarded 2007, ESRC funded

E. Williams. Non-Governmental Organizations and HIV/AIDS in Kolkata, India: A Discursive Analysis of Policy and Programming. Awarded 2009. ESRC funded.

Grants & contracts

2017           R.Jones, S. Asthana, M. Phillips. Innovation in Healthy Ageing EuropeanRegional Development Fund, £81,982; September 2017-August 2018.

2017           M.Paisey, R. Jones, S. Asthana et al. E-HealthProductivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC). European Regional DevelopmentFund, £ 2,730,513; May 2017-April 2020.

2016           S. Asthana, A. Gibson, P. Hewson. Fair funding for rural policing.National Rural Crime Network, £30,931; May-August, 2016

2016           B.Benjamin, S. Asthana, R. Byng. How can multiple initiatives for integratedcare improve experience and outcomes for patients with multiple long termconditions in the Torbay and South Devon area? Torbay Medical Research Fund,£161,286; 2016-2018

2016           B.Benjamin, S. Asthana, R. Byng. Evaluation of new system model anddevelopment of system wide evaluation framework. £50,000; Torbay and SouthDevon NHS Trust, 2016-2017

2015           R.Sheaff, P. Allen, J. Clark, R. Mannion, S.Asthana, A. Gibson, J. Halliday. DiverseHealthcare Providers: Behaviour in response to commissioners, patients andinnovations, NIHR PRP, £482,758, 2015-17.

2014           S. Asthana. Review of the Police Funding Formula. Police & CrimeCommissioners Treasurers’ Society. £4,000. 2014.

2011           R.Sheaff, J. Ovretveit, S, Peckham. R. Byng, M. Exworthy, S. Asthana. Integation and continuity in primary care: polyclinicsand alternatives. NIHR (SDO), £414, 950, 2011-2014

2011           S. Asthana, A. Gibson, T. Bailey, P.Hewson, C. Dibben, G. Moon. Equity ofAccess to Cardiac and Mental Health Services in England. NIHR (Health ServicesResearch Programme), £279,517, 2011-2014.

2009           S. Asthana and J. Halliday. Evaluation of the Peninsula Cancer NetworkProject for raising Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention. Peninsula CancerNetwork, £29,643, 2009-10

2008           S.Asthana, A. Gibson, J. Halliday, P. Hewson. Resource Allocation inStatutory Service Provision: an Assessment of the Police and Fire Formulae. RuralServices Partnership, £20,222,  2008.

2008           S.Asthana, A. Gibson, T. Bailey, C. Dibbens. Developing a resource allocation formula at GeneralPractice level based on individual patient characteristics (Person-BasedResource Allocation): Mental Health.  NIHR (Policy Research Programme), £191,216, 2008

2008           A.Gibson and S. Asthana. ResourceAllocation through the Local Government Finance Settlement: How Do Rural AreasFare? RuralServices Partnership, £18,850, 2008.

2008           C.Hyde, C. Meads, S. Bryan, P.Barton, D. Moore, C. Davenport, J, Parry, J. Deeks, J. Hawker, A. Fry-Smith, S.Bayliss, K. Stein, R. Andersen, N. Britten, R. Garside, S. Asthana, M.Somerville. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Centre forPublic Health Excellence (CPHE) Public Health Collaborating Centre, National Institute forHealth and Clinical Excellence, £2,212,000; 2008-2011.

2007          S. Asthana, A.Gibson, T. Bailey, C. Dibbens. The feasibility of developing an approach to Person BasedResource Allocation (PBRA) based on epidemiological data.NIHR (Policy Research Programme), £121,269, 2007.

2007           A.Gibson and S. Asthana. NHS resource allocation: does West Sussex get its ‘fair share’? West Sussex County Council, £8,998,2007.

2007           A.Gibson, S. Asthana, J. Flowers. A review of the weighted capitation formula and itsfunding impact on Primary Care Trusts in the East of England SHA. East of England Strategic Health Authority,£16,171, 2007.

2005                     S.AsthanaMeetingHealth Needs in Rural Areas, Research Councils UK (Academic Fellowship), £125,000,2005-10.

2003           S. Asthana. Our City’s Health: developing Practical Tool-kits for policies toaddress Health Inequalities. Plymouth PCT Public Health Department,£20,000, 2003-2004.

2001           S. Asthana, P. Brigham, J. Halliday, A.Gibson, I. Mackenzie, J. Dicker, G. Floyd, G. Moon. Review of the Effectiveness of measuring Rural Deprivation. SouthWest Public Health Observatory, £24,934. 2001.

2001           S. Asthana, A. Gibson, G. Moon, P.Brigham and J. Halliday. Health ResourceAllocation: What Case can be made for Rurality?  Rural Health Allocations Forum, £59,214.2001-2002.

2000           S. Asthana, A. Gibson, J. Halliday, J.Dixon, G. Moon. Evaluation of the Cornwall and Isles ofScilly Health Action Zone, £438,751, 2000-2002.

2000           S. Asthana, J. Chandler, J. Dixon andJ. Halliday, Partnership Working in Plymouth HAZ, PlymouthHAZ, £65,000, 2000-2002.

1999           S. Asthana, G. Moon, J. Dicker and A.Gibson.  Inequalities in Health Service Utilization at the General PracticeLevel. Economic and Social Research Council, £81,481. 1999-2001.

1999           S. Asthana.  The additional costs ofdelivering health and social services in remote and rural areas. Cornwall and Isles ofScilly Health Authority, £16,500. 1999.

1998           S. AsthanaHealthNeeds and Service Deficiencies within Plymouth Health Action Zone. PlymouthHealth Action Zone and University of Plymouth, £78,000.1998-2001

1997           A.Gibson, S. Asthana and E.Wragg.  Parental Choice, Selection by Ability and a ‘Free Market’ in Education:Raising Educational Standards or the Social Polarization of Schools? TheNuffield Foundation. £39,700. 1997-1999.

1996          S.Asthana and A. Gibson. GP Fundholdingand the Provision of Primary Health Care: A Socio-Spatial Analysis. University of Plymouth, QR Funds, £18,000. 1996-1997.

1993          S.Asthana.. Community Participation inHIV Prevention and Care in Madras.Nuffield Foundation, £1,540. 1993.

Research groups

  • Health
  • Plymouth Inequalities Group
  • Social and Public Policy
  • VOYAGE: Rural and urban ageing and health inequalities

Key publications are highlighted

Sheaff WR, Halliday J, Byng R, Øvretveit J, Exworthy M, Peckham S & Asthana S 2017 'Bridging the discursive gap between lay and medical discourse in care coordination' Sociology of Health and Illness 39, (6) PEARL
Asthana S, Moon G, Gibson A, Bailey T, Hewson P & Dibben C 2016 'Inequity in cardiovascular care in the English National Health Service (NHS): a scoping review of the literature' Health & Social Care in the Community , DOI PEARL
Sheaff R, Halliday J, Exworthy M, Allen P, Mannion R, Asthana S, Gibson A, Clark J & Sheaff WR 2016 'A qualitative study of diverse providers' behaviour in response to commissioners, patients and innovators in England: research protocol' BMJ Open , DOI PEARL
Asthana S, Gibson A, Bailey T, Moon G, Hewson P & Dibben C 2016 'Equity of utilisation of cardiovascular care and mental health services in England: a cohort-based cross-sectional study using small-area estimation' Health Services and Delivery Research 4, (14) 1-712 , DOI PEARL
Sheaff WR, Halliday J, Øvretveit J, Byng R, Exworthy M, Peckham S & Asthana S 2015 'Integration and Continuity of Primary Care: Polyclinics and Alternatives, a Patient-Centred Analysis of How Organisation Constrains Care Coordination' Health Services and Delivery Research 3, (35) 1-150 , DOI PEARL
Sheaff WR, Halliday J, Øvretveit J, Byng R, Exworthy R, Peckham S & Asthana S 2015 'Integration and Continuity of Primary Care: Polyclinics and Alternatives, a Patient-Centred Analysis of How Organisation Constrains Care Coordination' Health Services and Delivery Research 3, Publisher Site PEARL
Asthana SNM, Hewson P, Halliday J & Gibson A 2013 'Policy Analytics Need More Than A Spreadsheet: A case study in funding formulae' Annals of Operational Research , DOI
Halliday J, Asthana S, Hewson P & Gibson A 2013 'Playing with fire: Limitations of the Big Society for an emergency service' Public Policy and Administration 28, (3) 290-305 Publisher Site
Asthana SNM, Halliday J, Hewson P & Gibson A 2013 'Playing with fire: Limitations of the Big Society for an emergency service' Public Policy and Administration 28, (3)
Asthana S & Gibson A 2013 'Acute care: The real reason for 'failing' hospitals' Health Serv J 123, (6343) 20-22 Author Site
Asthana SNM & Gibson A 2013 'Francis and funding: an explanation for ‘failing’ hospitals' Health Services Journal
Asthana S 2012 'Lansley is right: age trumps poverty' Health Serv J 122, (6306) 16-17 Author Site
Asthana S & Gibson A 2012 'The medicalisation of health inequalities and the English NHS: the role of resource allocation' Health Economics, Policy and Law , DOI
Asthana S, Gibson A, Hewson P, Bailey T & Dibben C 2011 'Devolved commissioning, population size and budgetary risk: evidence from the modelling of ‘fair share’ practice budgets for mental health' Journal of Health Services Research and Policy
Asthana S & Gibson A 2011 'Setting health care capitations through diagnosis-based risk adjustment: a suitable model for the English NHS' Health Policy 101, , DOI
Asthana S, Gibson A, Hewson P, Bailey T & Dibben C 2011 'General practitioner commissioning consortia and budgetary risk: evidence from the modelling of 'fair share' practice budgets for mental health' J Health Serv Res Policy 16, (2) 95-101 Author Site , DOI
Gibson A & Asthana S 2011 'Resource allocation for English local government: a critique of the four block model' Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A 174, (3) 1-18
Gibson A & Asthana S 2011 'Resource allocation for English local government: a critique of the four-block model' JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL STATISTICAL SOCIETY SERIES A-STATISTICS IN SOCIETY 174, 529-546 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S 2010 'Liberating the NHS? A Commentary on the Langley White Paper, “Equity and Excellence”' Social Science and Medicine 72, (6) 815-820 , DOI
Asthana S, Halliday J & Gibson AJS 2009 'Social exclusion and social justice: a rural perspective on resource allocation' Policy and Politics 37, (2) 201-214 , DOI
Asthana S & Gibson A 2008 'Deprivation, demography, and the distribution of general practice: challenging the conventional wisdom of inverse care' Br J Gen Pract 58, (555) 720-728 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S & Gibson AJS 2008 'Deprivation, demography and the distribution of general practice: challenging the conventional wisdom of inverse care' British Journal of General Practice 58, (555) 718-727
Asthana S & Gibson AJS 2008 'Health care equity, health equity and resource allocation: towards a normative approach to achieving the core principles of the NHS' Radical Statistics 96, 6-26
Asthana S & Gibson A 2006 'A formula for unfairness' Health Serv J 116, (6032) 18-19 Author Site
Asthana S & Halliday J 2006 'Developing an evidence base for policies and interventions to address health inequalities: the analysis of "public health regimes"' Milbank Q 84, (3) 577-603 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S & Gibson A 2005 'Rationing in response to NHS deficits: rural patients are likely to be affected most' BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 331, (7530) 1472-1472 Author Site , DOI
Richardson S & Asthana S 2005 'Inter-agency information sharing in health and social care services: The role of professional culture' BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK 36, (4) 657-669 Author Site , DOI
Halliday J & Asthana S 2005 'Policy at the margins: developing community capacity in a rural Health Action Zone' AREA 37, (2) 180-188 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S & Halliday J 2004 'What can rural agencies do to address the additional costs of rural services? A typology of rural service innovation' Health Soc Care Community 12, (6) 457-465 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S, Gibson A, Moon G, Brigham P & Dicker J 2004 'The demographic and social class basis of inequality in self reported morbidity: an exploration using the Health Survey for England' J Epidemiol Community Health 58, (4) 303-307 Author Site
Halliday J & Asthana S 2004 'The emergent role of the link worker: a study in collaboration' J Interprof Care 18, (1) 17-28 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S, Gibson A, Moon G, Dicker J & Brigham P 2004 'The pursuit of equity in NHS resource allocation: should morbidity replace utilisation as the basis for setting health care capitations?' Soc Sci Med 58, (3) 539-551 Author Site
Asthana S, Gibson A, Moon G & Brigham P 2003 'Allocating resources for health and social care: the significance of rurality' Health Soc Care Community 11, (6) 486-493 Author Site
Asthana S, Richardson S & Halliday J 2002 'Partnership working in public policy provision: A framework for evaluation' SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION 36, (7) 780-795 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S, Curtis S, Duncan C & Gould M 2002 'Themes in British health geography at the end of the century: a review of published research 1998–2000' Social Science & Medicine 55, (1) 167-173 , DOI
Gibson A, Asthana S, Brigham P, Moon G & Dicker J 2002 'Geographies of need and the new NHS: methodological issues in the definition and measurement of the health needs of local populations' HEALTH & PLACE 8, (1) 47-60 Author Site , DOI
Asthana S & Oostvogels R 2001 'The social construction of male 'homosexuality' in India: implications for HIV transmission and prevention' Soc Sci Med 52, (5) 707-721 Author Site
Gibson A & Asthana S 2000 'Estimating the socioeconomic characteristics of school populations with the aid of pupil postcodes and small-area census data: An appraisal' Environment and Planning A 32, (7) 1267-1285 , DOI
Gibson A & Asthana S 2000 'Local markets and the polarization of public-sector schools in England and Wales' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 25, (3) 303-319 , DOI
Asthana S, Gibson AJ & Parsons EM 1999 'The geography of fundholding in southwest England: implications for the evolution of primary care groups' Health Place 5, (4) 271-278 Author Site
Gibson A & Asthana S 1998 'School performance, school effectiveness and the 1997 white paper' Oxford Review of Education 24, (2) 195-210 , DOI
Asthana S & Oostvogels R 1996 'Community participation in HIV prevention: problems and prospects for community-based strategies among female sex workers in Madras' Soc Sci Med 43, (2) 133-148 Author Site
Asthana S 1996 'AIDS-related policies, legislation and programme implementation in India' Health Policy Plan 11, (2) 184-197 Author Site
Gibson A & Asthana S 0 'A Tangled Web: Complexity and Inequality in the English Local Government Finance Settlement' Local Government Studies
Asthana S 2012 'Tensions between healthcare equity and health equity must be debated' BMJ 344, Author Site
Asthana S & Halliday DJ 2006 What Works in Tackling Health Inequalities?. The Policy Press
Asthana S 2009 'Health and Development' in Kitchin R; Thrift N International Encyclopedia of Human Geography Oxford Elsevier 28-34
Gibson AJS & Asthana S 2016 Police Funding Arrangements in Engand and Wales: Report to the NRCN. National Rural Crime Network PEARL
Asthana SNM 2012 Variations in Access to Social Care for Vulnerable Older People in England: Is there a Rural Dimension?. Variations in Access to Social Care for Vulnerable Older People in England: Is there a Rural Dimension? Commission for Rural Communities London Commission for Rural Communities
Asthana S, Bailey T, Gibson AJS, Hewson P & Dibben C 2009 Developing a Person Based Resource Allocation Formula for Setting Practice-Level Mental Health Budgets: 2009/10 and 2010/11. Department of Health, Policy Research Programme
Hewson P, Halliday J, Gibson AJS & Asthana S 2009 Resource Allocation in Statutory Service provision: an assessment of the police and fire formulae. Rural Services Partnership
Asthana S, Gibson AJS, Bailey T, Dibben C, Hewson P, Economou T, Batchelor D, Eastham J, Craig R & Scholes S 2008 Person Based Resource Allocation (PBRA): The Feasibility of Developing a Need-Based Approach to PBRA. Department of Health, Policy Research Programme
Other Publications
Asthana SNM & Beer O 2016 What Causes Stress in Social Work?. 0 0
Asthana SNM & Gibson A 0 Funding Implications for Rural PCTs of the new NHS Resource Allocation Methodology. 0 0

Other academic activities

Expert witness or consultancy work

External expert, National Audit Office, Landscape Review on Formula Funding, 2011. Written and oral evidence presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group (Rural Services) Enquiry on Resource Allocation, 9th February, 2010. External expert, DEFRA Evidence Investment Strategy, 2009. Written and oral evidence presented to the Health Select Committee’s Inquiry on NHS Deficits, 19th October, 2006 Technical Advisor on Resource Allocation to Rural Health Allocation Project Team, 2001-2003.