Dr Rachel Cassidy

Designation: PhD in Public Health & Policy // Researcher for the SENSELET and PULSE

Rachel joined the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies in October 2022 as a Researcher for the SENSELET Project. The project aims to sustainably improve healthcare supply chain management in Ethiopia by supporting and building local capacity. Rachel is also a Researcher for the PULSE Project, which aims to map community engagement and policy co-production for vaccination delivery in Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Rachel is also co-lead for the SYSTAC European Hub (global community of practice for systems thinking researchers, policymakers, and implementers to engage, connect, and collaborate to improve health and well-being), supported and funded by the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.

Rachel is an honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, leading the systems thinking workstream on the COSMIC (Using Computer Modelling to Optimise the Design of Health System Programmes) Project. The work stream focused on using systems thinking approaches (causal loop diagrams, system dynamics modelling) to further understand pathways to impact results-based financing programmes and design recommendations for future implementation.

In response to the need for the development of teaching and research materials to encourage the adoption of systems thinking methods within the health systems and evaluation community, Rachel co-developed and piloted teaching materials for the MSc Public Health and practitioners as part of a health policy and systems research training programme (both at the London School). Rachel also led the production of a non-technical guide for researchers who want to apply causal loop diagrams for health systems research (see publications list).

Rachel holds an MSc in Epidemiology and an MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology from Imperial College, London. Rachel’s PhD thesis submitted at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine describes a body of work where causal loop diagrams and system dynamics modelling were used to investigate health system functioning in low-income settings, with the aim to optimise the effect of interventions that target maternal and child health service delivery.

More information about Rachel is also available here.


Cassidy R, Borghi J, Semwanga A. R, Binyaruka P, Singh N. S, Blanchet K, 2022. How to do (or not to do)…Using Causal Loop Diagrams for Health System Research in Low- and Middle-Income Settings, Health Policy and Planning, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czac064

Cassidy R, Tomoaia-Cotisel A, Semwanga A.R, Binyaruka P, Chalabi Z, Blanchet K, Singh N.S, Maiba J, Borghi J, 2021. Understanding the maternal and child health system response to payment for performance in Tanzania using a causal loop diagram approach. Soc. Sci. Med. 285, 114277. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114277

Singh N.S, Kovacs R.J, Cassidy R, Kristensen S.R, Borghi J, Brown G.W., 2021. A realist review to assess for whom, under what conditions and how pay for performance programmes work in low- and middle-income countries. Soc. Sci. Med. 270, 113624. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113624 

Cassidy R, Singh N.S, Schiratti P.R, Semwanga A, Binyaruka P, Sachingongu N, Chama-Chiliba C.M, Chalabi Z, Borghi J, Blanchet K, 2019. Mathematical modelling for health systems research: a systematic review of system dynamics and agent-based models. BMC Health Serv. Res. 19, 845. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4627-7

Smit M, Perez-Guzman P.N, Mutai K.K, Cassidy R, Kibachio J, Kilonzo N, Hallett T.B., 2020. Mapping the Current and Future Noncommunicable Disease Burden in Kenya by Human Immunodeficiency Virus Status: A Modeling Study. Clin. Infect. Dis. 71, 1864–1873. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz1103

Smit M, Cassidy R, Cozzi-Lepri A, Quiros-Roldan E, Girardi E, Mammone A, Antinori A, Saracino A, Bai F, Rusconi S, Magnani G, Castelli F, Hsue P, d’Arminio Monforte A, Hallett T.B., 2017. Projections of non-communicable disease and health care costs among HIV-positive persons in Italy and the U.S.A.: A modelling study. PLoS One 12, e0186638. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186638