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Nazmy Villarroel-Williams

Post-doctoral launching fellow

Health Inequalities theme

University of Sheffield

Nazmy's reflections on a NIHR SPHR post-doctoral fellowship.

Through this NIHR SPHR fellowship, I had the opportunity to practice what I learned in Public Health and health inequalities, but also to share this knowledge at an organisational level and among other peers. Despite some challenges due to Covid-19, I was able to work and collaborate with a diverse range of stakeholders and members of the public at a national level, which resulted in publication outcomes. And also got the opportunity to attend courses relevant to my research area. I have improved the quality of my research skills and developed much higher leverage and confidence in working with other colleagues through empowering each other. To conclude, this NIHR SPHR enriched my experience and helped to make me a better leader now as a lecturer in global public health.

Research Interests

Migrant and ethnic minority health, health inequalities, social epidemiology, social determinants of health, quantitative methods.

Practice Engagement

Nazmy engaged with practice during her fellowship and worked with both Sheffield City Council and ARC South London (KCL). If you are looking to do a placement Nazmy suggests "Look into the opportunities offered by NIHR, reading the work of the different research groups and making sure that their research interests aligns with yours. It is worth it if you know you want to collaborate and learn from other institutions, is also worth it if you like challenges and working across institutions and with a diverse range of topics."

Nazmys Academic Career Journey

Since completing her NIHR SPHR post-doctoral fellowship Nazmy Villarroel-Williams is now a Lecturer in Global Heath at Sheffield University. She holds a PhD in Public Health for her project, looking at health inequalities among the migrant population in Spain. Her passion for health inequalities came from her upbringing: she was born in a mixed ethnic working-class family in Chile, grew up in different Latin American countries and moved to Spain in her early teens. She has not stopped discovering new cultures since then.

” When you are born a migrant woman of colour, you find yourself wondering what actions need to be taken to move forward and achieve equity in a diverse society.”

As a post-doctoral researcher, Nazmy has volunteered with different NGOs for migrants/refugees’ health needs in Spain, Scotland and Ireland. During her research position in Edinburgh, and thanks to the unconditional support of her mentor Raj Bhopal. She had the opportunity to collaborate with Doctors of the World, in an exploratory mission during the refugee crisis in 2015 in the Balkan area.

“This experience has shaped the way I approach research in my day to day life”.

All these diverse experiences have taught her adaptability to highly heterogenous environments and proactive research skills. Nazmy believes in the importance of intellectual freedom in order to create healthy and real partnerships between academia and the public. This meant that when she applied for a NIHR SPHR post-doctoral launching fellowship, she had more confidence in her proposal. The fellowship was to do a postdoc at the University of Sheffield to work with Professor Sarah Salway. And she got it. She could not have done it without support from her family, colleagues her mentors based in Spain, Scotland and Ireland she says, and also from NIHR SPHR, particularly in these challenging times we are all living in.

Nazmy speaks about her SPHR fellowship experience:


  • 2020
  • NIHR SPHR Post-doctoral launching fellow
  • University of Sheffield
  • 2018
  • Postdoctoral researcher
  • University of Limerick
  • 2016
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • University of Edinburgh
  • 2015
  • PhD
  • Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona
  • 2008
  • MPH
  • Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona


Olabi, B., Bagaria, J., Bhopal, S., Curry, G.D., Villarroel, N., and Bhopal, R. “Population perspective comparing COVID-19 to all and common causes of death in seven European countries.” (2020)

Davidson, E. M., Douglas, A., Villarroel, N., Dimmock, K., Gorman, D., and Bhopal, R.S. “Raising ethnicity recording in NHS Lothian from 3% to 90% in 3 years: processes and analysis of data from Accidents and Emergencies.” Journal of Public Health (2020) 10.1093/pubmed/fdaa202

Roura, M., LeMaster, J., Hannigan, A., Papyan, A., McCarthy, S., Nurse D., Villarroel, N., MacFarlane, A. ‘If relevant, yes; if not, no’: General practitioner (GP) users and GP perceptions about asking ethnicity questions in Irish general practice: A qualitative analysis using Normalization Process Theory’. PLOS ONE

Villarroel, N., MacFarlane, A., Roura, M., Basogomba, A., Bradley, C., LeMaster, J. W., & Hannigan, A. (2022). The impact of economic recession on the health of migrant fathers over time: results from the Growing up in Ireland longitudinal study. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1-10.

Kapadia, D., & Zhang, J. (2022). Sarah Salway, James Nazroo, Andrew Booth, Nazmy Villarroel-Williams, Laia Bécares & Aneez Esmail. Ethnic Inequalities in Healthcare: A Rapid Evidence Review. NHS Race and Health Observatory 

Roura, Maria, Joseph W. LeMaster, Ailish Hannigan, Anna Papyan, Sharon McCarthy, Diane Nurse, Nazmy Villarroel, and Anne MacFarlane. “‘If relevant, yes; if not, no’: General practitioner (GP) users and GP perceptions about asking ethnicity questions in Irish general practice: A qualitative analysis using Normalization Process Theory.” PloS one 16, no. 5 (2021): e0251192.

Sarah Salway, Stephanie Ejegi-Memeh, Calum Webb, Ghazala Mir, Rizwana Lala, Nazmy Villarroel-Williams. Ethnic minority children and young people: health and wellbeing in Pickett K., Taylor-Robinson D., et al (2021) The Child of the North: Building a fairer future after COVID-19, the Northern Health Science Alliance and N8 Research Partnership


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