The UCL Centre for Global Health Economics

Dr Helen Harris-Fry

Helen is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on gender equity, behaviour change, and intra-household resource allocation. Her research focuses on community-based approaches to improve nutrition and wellbeing in rural low-income countries, which has involved the evaluation of forestry and agricultural programs, women's groups, social transfers, and micronutrient fortification, mostly in South Asia. For her fellowship, she is modelling the health and income costs of gender inequity using 11 different datasets from low- and middle-income countries. Through her fellowship, Helen is also affiliated with the Nutrition Group at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the the Department of Economics at Northwestern University.



Optimising health through gender equity, funded by the Wellcome Trust. This research project will ask: What health and economic outcomes could be achieved if households redistribute food to be more gender-equitable, and how can this redistribution be achieved? This research could be used to motivate and inform the design of low-cost 'equity interventions' that aim to improve health by influencing household allocation behaviours.

CAPPT: Comprehensive Anaemia Prevention and Personalised Therapies, funded by Medical Research Council, and Newton Fund and Department of Biotechnology (India). Helen is the diet specialist on a randomised controlled trial aiming to reduce anaemia prevalence through tailored iron supplementation, counselling, and community mobilisation in rural India and Nepal.

UPAVAN: Upscaling Participatory Action and Videos for Agriculture and Nutrition, funded by the Gates Foundation and DFID. Helen is working on the set-up and evaluation of this cluster-randomised trial testing the nutrition effects of a community-based agricultural extension intervention in rural Odisha, India.

Selected publications

Harris-Fry, H. et al. (2018) Participatory women's groups with cash transfers can improve dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy during pregnancy, whereas women's groups with food transfers can improve equity in intra-household energy allocation. Journal of Nutrition. DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxy109

Harris-Fry, H., et al. (2018) Status and determinants of intra-household food allocation in rural Nepal. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.1038/s41430-017-0063-0

Harris-Fry, H., et al. (2018) Smartphone tool to collect repeated 24 h dietary recall data in Nepal. Public Health Nutrition. 21 (2): 260-272 DOI:10.1017/S136898001700204X

Kadiyala, S., Prost, A., Harris-Fry, H. et al. (2018) Upscaling Participatory Action and Videos for Agriculture and Nutrition (UPAVAN): Protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial comparing three variants of a nutrition-sensitive agricultural extension intervention to improve maternal and child dietary diversity and nutritional status in Odisha, India. Trials. DOI: 10.1186/s13063-018-2521-y

Saville, NM., Shrestha, BP., Style, S., Harris-Fry, H et al. (2018) Impact on birthweight and child growth of Participatory Learning and Action women's groups with and without transfers of food or cash during pregnancy: findings of the Low Birth Weight South Asia cluster-randomised controlled trial (LBWSAT) in Nepal. PloS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194064

Harris-Fry, H., et al. (2017) Conceptual review of the determinants of intra-household food allocation in South Asia. Int. Journal of Equity in Health. 16:107 DOI: 10.1186/s12939-017-0603-1

Morrison, J., Sharma, N., Harris-Fry, H. et al. (2017) Formative research to develop community-based interventions addressing low birth weight in the plains of Nepal. Public Health Nutrition.

Harris-Fry, H. et al. (2016) Formative evaluation of a participatory intervention using women’s groups on reproductive and women’s health outcomes in rural Bangladesh: a controlled before and after study. J Epidemiol Community Health, 70:663-670  DOI:10.1136/jech-2015-205855

Harris-Fry, H. et al. (2016) Development and validation of a photographic food atlas for portion size assessment in the southern plains of Nepal. Public Health Nutrition. 19(14): 2495-507 Online DOI:

Saville, N.M., Shrestha, B. Style, S., Harris-Fry, H. et al, (2016) Protocol of the Low Birth Weight South Asia Trial (LBWSAT), a cluster-randomised controlled trial testing impact on birth weight and infant nutrition of Participatory Learning and Action through women’s groups, with and without unconditional transfers of fortified food or cash during pregnancy in Nepal. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16:320. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-016-1102-x

Harris-Fry, H., et al. (2015) Socio-economic determinants of household food security and women’s dietary diversity in rural Bangladesh: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 33(2). DOI 10.1186/s41043-015-0022-0

Harris-Fry H., Eternod CG. (2016) Can gender mainstreaming in forestry translate into women’s empowerment? In: Gender and Forestry:  Climate Change, Tenure, Value Chains and Emerging Issues, Eds. Colfer, CJP., Basnett BS., Elias, M. Earthscan ISBN: 978-1-315-66662-4.