As a methodical and innovative data analyst, Joana’s experience spans research, data analysis, linkage, and management, as well as quantitative analysis. Her expertise lies in integrating health, demographic, socio-economic, and environmental data from diverse sources, distilled into small administrative unit scales.

Joana’s academic journey began with a Degree in Biology from the University of Porto, followed by a Master of Research in Ecology from the University of Coimbra, and culminated in a PhD in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management at the University of York.
Currently, as a research fellow at the University College of London, she is fully committed to impacting health agendas through her work. Joana’s research focuses on understanding the intricate relationships between environmental factors and health outcomes, particularly in children and young people. This is achieved by employing cutting-edge analytical methods to large, complex datasets such as the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort and the PICNIC study.

Project Information

Research Driver Programme: Social and Environmental Determinants of Health 

Title: Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort


This project is a groundbreaking initiative that aims to develop a national infrastructure, connecting detailed social, environmental, and health data to revolutionize our understanding of public health determinants. By meticulously mapping addresses from national datasets to Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs), we will facilitate the linkage of highly detailed environmental data with health, education, and other national administrative datasets in England. This will provide a rich resource for researchers, unlocking new opportunities for comprehensive studies that delve into the intricate relationships between environment and health. Moreover, the UPRN linkage will, for the first time, enable the connection of records for individuals within the same household at a national scale in England. This holistic approach will not only propel invaluable research but will also lay the foundation for more targeted and effective health policies and interventions. The potential impact on public health outcomes is immense, as it will empower policymakers and stakeholders with the data and insights needed to make informed decisions that truly make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities across the country.

What is your motivation for undertaking this project and how will this funding impact your research?

I am motivated to undertake this project because of the immense potential it holds in revolutionizing our understanding of the complex interplay between environmental and social determinants and public health outcomes. The integration of highly detailed environmental, health, and educational data will provide a unique and comprehensive insight into the factors that shape public health, ultimately leading to more informed and effective interventions and policies.

The funding for this project will be instrumental in achieving these goals. It will enable the necessary infrastructure development to link national datasets with Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs), creating an unparalleled resource for research. This will facilitate investigations into the intricate relationships between environment and health, providing valuable insights that can inform public health policies and interventions.

Moreover, this project will allow me to train in new and advanced techniques, enhancing my skills in data analysis, linkage, and management. I will also have the opportunity to collaborate with professionals from various sectors, including health, environment, and education. This interdisciplinary approach is vital for addressing the multifaceted nature of public health challenges and will foster a holistic understanding of the issues at hand.

In conclusion, this project is a crucial step towards achieving a deeper understanding of the factors that influence public health. The funding will not only support the necessary infrastructure development but also contribute to capacity building and foster intersectoral collaboration. The potential impact on public health is profound, with the possibility of more targeted and effective interventions and policies that will ultimately improve health outcomes for individuals and communities across the country.