Laura Sochas

PhD Candidate in Demography
Social Policy department
London School of Economics and Political Science

PhD Research Area:
Maternal health inequalities in Zambia

Research Interests and Expertise:
Health inequalities, maternal and newborn health, causal inference, GIS, multi-level models, Bayesian modelling, mixed methods

PhD Supervisors:
Tiziana Leone
Ernestina Coast

PhD Research Description:
"To what extent can intersecting identities and interacting barriers explain health access and health outcomes inequalities? Evidence from maternal health in Zambia".

Despite growing prioritisation of health equity in low-income countries, efforts to improve health equity by removing a specific barrier to health care access have often failed. A common but untested hypothesis to explain these null or negative findings is that removing a single barrier to care has a stronger effect for those affected by fewer other barriers. Focusing on maternal health care in Zambia, this mixed methods study will:
1. Empirically investigate the extent to which any multiplicative effect of concurrent access barriers and intersecting identities are relevant for explaining inequalities in maternal health care access and outcomes
2. Conduct a causal inference analysis to test whether removing a single access barrier benefits those facing fewer other access barriers the most, in terms of both access and outcomes
3. Explore the mechanisms through which intersecting identities affect women’s experiences of care-seeking in childbirth, through in-depth interviews

PhD in Demography and Population Studies, London School of Economics, 2016-2020 (expected)
MSc Social Research Methods, London School of Economics, 2016
MPA International Development, London School of Economics, 2009-2011
BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford, Merton College, 2004-2007

ESRC scholarship 2015-2019
ESRC Advanced Quantitative Methods award 2017-2019
Social Policy class teacher award 2016-17

Guest lecture on population dynamics and demographic transitions for Global Health MPH at Imperial College, February 2019
“Key Concepts in Global Health” (BA level), Kings College London, UK, Oct-May 2018 - designed and led seminars
“Introduction to research methods” (Msc level), Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, Germany, Summer 2017 - co-developed the course, taught lectures and seminars
“Introduction to global population change” (BA level), London School of Economics, UK, Autumn 2016 - led seminars

Research assistance:
Causal impact of retirement on health in UK women. Worklong project, Kings College London. Mauricio Avendano and Ludovico Carrino
Interviewer effects and abortion in African DHS, London School of Economics. Tiziana Leone and Ernestina Coast

Sochas, L., Channon, A. & Nam, S. (2017) Counting indirect crisis-related deaths in the context of a low- resilience health system: the case of maternal and neonatal health during the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. Health Policy and Planning. November 2017.
ten Hoope Bender, P, Nove, A., Sochas, L., Matthews, Z., Homer, C., Pozo Martin, F. (2017) The 'Dream Team' for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health: an adjusted service target model to estimate the ideal mix of health care professionals to cover population need. Human Resources for Health. 15:46
Campbell, J., Sochas, L., Cometto, G., Matthews, Z. (2016) Evidence for action on improving the maternal and newborn health workforce: the basis for quality care. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 132 (1). January 2016. 126-9.
UN Every Woman Every Child (2015) Saving Lives Protecting Futures. Progress Report on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Contributed quantitative analysis and writing to chapter 3.
International Confederation of Midwives, WHO and UNFPA. (2014) State of the World's Midwifery report for 2014: 'A universal pathway. A woman's right to health'. June 2014. Contributed quantitative analysis and writing to chapter 2 and 4.
Sochas, L., Grainger, C., Gorter, A., Griffith, D., Bodam-Whetham, L. (2013) What can vouchers do for universal coverage? Options Briefing Paper.

Sochas, L. (2019, forthcoming) "Women Who Break the Rules: Intersectional Inequalities in Pregnancy and Birth Experiences in Zambia ". Oral presentation at the Population Association of America conference in Austin, Texas. 13th April 2019
Sochas, L. (2019, forthcoming) "Barriers to Maternal Healthcare Access in LMICs: How Pushing the Analytical Envelope Could Have Important Implications for Equity". Poster presentation at the Population Association of America conference in Austin, Texas. 13th April 2019
Leone, T., Sochas, L., Coast, E. (2019, forthcoming) "Depends Who’s Asking: Interviewer Effect on Abortion Data in the Sub-Sahara African DHS". Poster presentation at the Population Association of America conference in Austin, Texas. 13th April 2019
Sochas, L. (2017) "To what extent can concurrent barriers explain inequalities in access to health? Evidence from maternal health care in Eastern and Southern Africa". Oral presentation at the XXVIII IUSSP International Population Conference. 1st November 2017
Sochas L. (2017) Did Removing User Fees Improve Access To Maternal Health Care In Zambia? A Difference-In-Difference Study. Oral presentation at the Population Association of America (April, Chicago) and International Health Policy Conference (LSE, London, February).
Sochas L., Channon, A. & Nam, S. (2017) Maternal, neonatal and stillbirth deaths caused by decreased utilisation of essential maternal care in the context of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. Oral presentations at the annual Population Association of America conference and the LSHTM MDSR seminar series.
Campbell, J., Pozo-Martin, F., Sochas, L., Homer, C., ten Hoope Bender, P. (2015, January) Equity and effective coverage in post-2015: what are the workforce implications? Presenting author at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference. Bangkok, Thailand.
Sochas, L. & Campbell, J. (2014, February) Modelling geographic accessibility to health workers providing MNH care: an exploratory method. Poster presented at the CMMPH conference on Midwifery and the post-MDG agenda. Bournemouth UK.

Recent policy-relevant worksops:
Technical consultation on maternal health indicators, IMHM project, Women and Health Initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health - London, December 2018
Maternal health academic consortium meeting, Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health - Entebbe, February 2018
Towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – promoting and responding to Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (MNCAH), Human Sciences Research Council and the Newton Fund, Johannesburg, September 2017

For further details please see my CV.