Dr Jo Ellins

Dr Jo Ellins

Health Services Management Centre
Senior Fellow
Departmental lead for Research and Postgraduate Research

Contact details

School of Social Policy, HSMC
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT, United Kingdom

Jo Ellins is Senior Fellow at the Health Services Management Centre and the departmental lead for Research and Postgraduate Research. She has more than 20 years’ experience of applied health services research and evaluation, including as Deputy Director of the NIHR BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre (2018-2022). She has expertise in qualitative research, theory-based evaluation and participatory approaches. She has worked in research partnerships with diverse groups including young people with experience of mental health issues, people affected by cancer, and older people from south Asian communities.

Above all, Jo is interested in people’s experiences of ill health, and of accessing and using services and support; and what can be learned from this to inform quality and service improvement. A more recent focus of her research has been youth mental health, in particular the role of schools in supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing. Between 2019 and 2022, Jo led an early national evaluation of a programme to implement the proposals set out in the government’s Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision green paper. The programme is investing in school-based prevention and early intervention for mental health, including creating mental health support teams to work in and with schools and further education colleges. She is now co-leading a follow-on evaluation to assess the programme’s impact and cost-effectiveness.


  • D.Phil Sociology, University of Sussex, 2005
  • MA Social and Political Thought, University of Sussex, 2000
  • BA Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1997


Jo re-joined the Health Services Management Centre as Senior Fellow in 2017, having previously worked at the Centre (2007-2013) as a lecturer. Before and in between her time at HSMC, she was a Senior Managing Consultant at the research consultancy ICF, where she was part of a team specialising in health services evaluation. She was also an organisational development manager at the NHS Centre for Involvement, and a research associate at the Picker Institute where she led a programme of work on redesigning support for people with long-term conditions. Jo’s PhD, in medical sociology, explored the factors responsible for the explosion in prescribing of three high profile pharmaceutical drugs: Prozac, Ritalin and Viagra, using her analysis to critically examine the value and limitations of sociological theories of ‘medicalisation’

Postgraduate supervision

Jo is interested in supervising PhDs in the following topics:

  • Youth mental health policy and practice
  • School-based mental health and wellbeing
  • Personal experiences of health/mental health and illness
  • Person-centred quality and service improvement
  • Co-design and public involvement in service delivery, improvement and research, including with seldom heard groups  
  • Health policy and service evaluation, especially projects using qualitative methods

Please do feel free to get in contact, with a research proposal and CV, if you are interested in working with Jo on your PhD research.


Current and recent projects include:

  • Evaluating the implementation of the Transformation Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper, Co-PI with Prof Nicholas Mays. Funder: NIHR. 2023 – 2026
  • Supporting primary schools to inclusively co-produce whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing with children, PI. Funder: Birmingham Institutional Impact Fund. 2024
  • Evaluating the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme, PI. Funder: NIHR. 2020-2023.
  • BRACE Rapid Service Evaluation Centre, Deputy Director/Co-I. Funder: NIHR. 2018-2022.
  • Evaluations of the Dudley and Connected Care multi-speciality community provider vanguards in NHS England’s New Care Models Programme, PI. Funder: NHS England. 2016-2018.
  • Evaluation of Age UK’s Person-Centred Change Programme, PI. Funder: Age UK. 2018-2018.


Recent publications


Ellins, J, Hocking, L, Al-Haboubi, M, Newbould, J, Fenton, S-J, Daniel, K, Stockwell, S, Leach, B, Sidhu, M, Bousfield, J, McKenna, G, Saunders, K, O'Neil, S & Mays, N 2023, 'Early evaluation of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Trailblazer programme: a rapid mixed-methods study', Health and Social Care Delivery Research, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 1-137.

Ellins, J, Hocking, L, Al-Haboubi, M, Newbould, J, Fenton, S-J, Daniel, K, Stockwell, S, Leach, B, Sidhu, M, Bousfield, J, McKenna, G, Saunders, C, O’Neill, S & Mays, N 2023, 'Implementing mental health support teams in schools and colleges: the perspectives of programme implementers and service providers', Journal of Mental Health. 

Snooks, H, Khanom, A, Ballo, R, Bower, P, Checkland, K, Ellins, J, Ford, GA, Locock, L & Walshe, K 2023, 'Is bureaucracy being busted in research ethics and governance for health services research in the UK? Experiences and perspectives reported by stakeholders through an online survey', BMC Public Health, vol. 23, no. 1, 1119 . 

Smith, J, Ellins, J, Sherlaw-Johnson, C, Vindrola-Padros, C, Appleby, J, Morris, SM, Sussex, J & Fulop, NJ 2023, 'Rapid evaluation of service innovations in health and social care: key considerations', Health and Social Care Delivery Research, vol. 11, no. 11. 

Sidhu, M, Walton, H, Crellin, N, Ellins, J, Herlitz, L, Litchfield, I, Massou, E, Tomini, SM, Vindrola-Padros, C & Fulop, NJ 2023, 'Staff experiences of training and delivery of remote home monitoring services for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in England: A mixed-methods study', Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 171-180. 

Walton, H, Vindrola-Padros, C, Crellin, NE, Sidhu, MS, Herlitz, L, Litchfield, I, Ellins, J, Ng, PL, Massou, E, Tomini, SM & Fulop, NJ 2022, 'Patients' experiences of, and engagement with, remote home monitoring services for COVID-19 patients: a rapid mixed-methods study', Health Expectationshttps://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13548

Chapter (peer reviewed)

Ellins, J & Coldham, T. 2024 (forthcoming), ‘Service user perspectives, experiences and involvement’ in Walshe, K, Smith, J, Sidhu, M and Moralee, S, Healthcare Management. Open University Press.

Commissioned report

Ellins, J, Singh, K, Al-Haboubi, M, Newbould, J, Hocking, L, Bousfield, J, McKenna, G, Fenton, S-J & Mays, N 2021, Early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme: Interim report. You can read the PDF report.

Ellins, J, Griffith, L, Rosen, R, Miller, R, Brown, H & Smith, J 2017, Evaluation of the Connected Care Partnership Vanguard: Scoping and early findings report. NHS England.

Other outputs

Ellins, J. 2024, More mental health support in schools makes sense – but some children may fall through gaps. The Conversation. 

View all publications in research portal


What happens when we put mental health support teams in schools? Animation co-produced with the Institute for Mental Health Youth Advisory Group, 2023.


  • Youth mental health
  • Mental health in schools
  • Patients' experiences of NHS services
  • Public involvement in health care