Karen Ballard | The Council for Frontiers of Knowledge

Dr. Karen Ballard

Posted by Mark

Dr. Karen Ballard

Qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr. Karen Ballard's role in The CFK: Mentoring people (globally) working in maternal health


Karen is a social scientist with a research interest in Women's health and Global health. She completed her MSc (1997) and PhD (2000) in Medical sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London.  On completion of her PhD, she took up a post as Director of Studies for the MSc in Primary Care at Kings College London and continued research in the area of menopause, hormone replacement therapy and chronic pelvic pain.

Pursuing her interests in Women's Health, Karen moved to the University of Surrey in 2004 and worked with members of the British Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) to develop a new MSc programme; the MSc in Advanced Gynaecological Endoscopy http://www2.surrey.ac.uk/pgms/study/postgraduate/ge/

In 2011, Karen was granted a sabbatical year, which she spent in the rural highlands of Ethiopia, introducing a structured obstetric risk assessment into community-based antenatal care. Her evaluation of the project was received positively by the Zonal health authority, who have introduced changes in practice as a result. Further work continues, raising funds for maternal waiting homes near to health centres and hospitals in the region.

In addition to her teaching and research activities, Karen leads the Research Design Service http://www2.surrey.ac.uk/pgms/research/nhs/RDS_SE.htm providing research advice for NHS professionals wishing to apply for research funding..

Research Interests

Her background in health research has allowed her to develop interests in a variety of health issues and to use many different research methods to answer the research questions. Her key research interests have been in the area of women's health and recently more specifically, global maternal health. Drawing on her experience in risk perception and health behaviour surrounging the use of hormone replacement therapy, she is particularly interested in understanding how pregnant women in low and middle income countries perceive health risks and the barriers that they face in coping with these risks. Hence her research in Ethiopia investigated women's understanding of obstetric risks and their reactions to being identified as having a high risk for a complicated delivery.

She has used a range of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including postal and electronic surveys, case-control studies, randomised controlled trials, face-to-face interviews and focus groups.


  • Ballard K, Gari L, Mosisa H, Wright J. (in press 2013) Provision of individualised obstetric risk advice to increase health facility usage by women at risk of a complicated delivery: A cohort study of women in the rural highlands of West Ethiopia. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • Alemayehu W, Ballard K, Wright J. (2013) Primary repair of obstetric uterine rupture can be safely undertaken by non-specialist clinicians in rural Ethiopia: a case series of 386 women. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.120 (4):505-08
  • Ballard K & Wright J. (2012) Developing primary care in Ethiopia to meet the Millennium Development Goals. BJGP
  • Hoyer-Sorensen C, Vistad I, Ballard K. (2012) Is single-port laparoscopy for benign adnexal disease less painful than conventional laparoscopy? A single-centre randomised controlled trial. Fertility & Sterility. 98;4:973-79
  • Smith R, Day A, Rockall T, Ballard K, Bailey M, Jourdan I. (2012) Advanced stereoscopic projection technology significantly improves novice performance of minimally invasive surgical skills. Surg endosc. 26:1522-27
  • Hudelist G, Ballard K, English J, Wright J, Banerjee S, Mastoroudes H, Thomas A, Singer C, Keckstein J. (2011) Transvaginal sonography vs clinical examination in the preoperative diagnosis of deep infiltrating endometriosis. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 37:480-487
  • Kisic-Trope J. Qvigstad E. Ballard K (2011) A Randomized Trial of Day-case Vs Inpatient Supracervical Hysterectomy. American Journal of Obstetric & Gynecology.
  • Carr-Bains S. Nightingale A. Ballard K. (2011) Patients’ experiences and satisfaction with out-of-hours GP home visiting provided by a GP co-operative. Family Practice. 28;1:88-92
  • Wright JT & Ballard KD (2011) The surgical management of rectovaginal endometriosis: Plus ca change? British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 118;3:274-7
  • Odejinmi, F. Rizzuto MI.  Ballard, K. (2010) Potential Barriers to the laparoscopic management of ectopic pregnancies; A Regional UK study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 89;10: 1350-3
  • Nightingale, A. Ballard, K. Wright, J (2010) Evidence-based gynaecological practice: clinical review 3: The use of imaging for pre-operative planning in deep infiltrating endometriosis involving the rectum. Gynaecological Surgery.
  • Ballard, K. Hudelist, G. Banerjee, S. Lane, H. Wright, J. (2009) Can specific pain symptoms help in the diagnosis of endometriosis?: A cohort study of women with chronic pelvic pain. Fertility & Sterility
  • Ballard, K. Seaman, H. deVries, C. Wright, J. (2008) Can symptomatology help in the diagnosis of endometriosis? British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.115(11):1382-91
  • Seaman, H. Ballard, K. Wright, J. deVries, C. (2008) Misdiagnosis in endometriosis. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 115(11):1392-6
  • Leing, M. Qvigstad, E. Istre, O.  Langebrekke, Ballard, K. (2008) Long-term outcomes following laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
  • Thornton, R. & Ballard, K. (2008) Why military personnel fail to keep medical appointments. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corp. 154(1):26-30
  • Owers, RC & Ballard, KD. (2008) ‘What else is there to do? – A qualitative study of the barriers to soldiers stopping smoking. The Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps. 154;3:152-155
  • Banerjee, S. Ballard, K. Wright, J. (2008) Endometriomas as a marker of disease severity The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology 15(5):538-40
  • Jones, R. & Ballard, K. (2008) Health-care seeking in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: A qualitative study European Journal of Gastro-enterology and Hepatology. 20 (4): 269-275
  • Dowson, H. Cowie, A. Ballard, K. Gage, H. & Rockall T. (2008) A Systematic Review of Quality of Life following Laparoscopic and open colorectal surgery Colorectal Disease. 2008;10:757-768
  • Ballard, K.D. Elston, MA, Gabe, J. (2009) Private and Public Ageing: The transition through the menopause. Current Sociology; 57(2):269-290
  • Wright, J. Nightingale, A. Ballard, K. (2007) Evidence-based gynaecological practice: clinical review 1: management of ovarian endometriomas. Gynecological Surgery 4;4:275-280
  • Ballard, KD. & Wright, JT. (2007) Can the delays in endometriosis be reduced? Guest editorial: World Endometriosis Society e-journal. March: 3-6
  • Pugsley, Z. & Ballard, KD. (2007)The management of endometriosis in General Practice: The pathway to diagnosis. British Journal of General Practice 57;539: 470-476
  • Wright, J. Ballard, K. (2006) Training and the future of laparoscopic surgery. Gynecological Surgery 3;2:77-78
  • Banajee, S. Ballard, K. Lovell, D. Wright, J. (2006) Deep and superficial endometriotic disease; the response to radical laparoscopic excision in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain. Gynecological Surgery, 3:199-205
  • Ballard, K. Lowton, K. Wright, J (2006) What’s the delay?; A qualitative study of women’s experiences of reaching a diagnosis of endometriosis  Fertility & Sterility, 86;5:1296-1301
  • Ballard, K. Lowton, K. Wright, J (2006) Balancing the risks and benefits of different diagnostic interventions for chronic pelvic pain. Fertility & Sterility, 86;5:1317
  • Barton-Smith, P. Ballard, K. Kent ASH (2006) Endometriosis: A general review and rationale for surgical therapy Reviews in Gynaecological and Perinatal Practice; 2006;6:168-176
  • Lowton, K. & Ballard, K. (2006) Adult cystic fibrosis patients’ experiences of primary care consultations: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice 56;528:518-525
  • Ballard, K. & Elston, M. (2005) Medicalisation: A multi-dimensional concept. Social Theory and Health. 3:228-41
  • Ballard, K, Elston, M, & Gabe, J. (2005) Beyond the mask: Women’s experiences of public and private ageing during midlife and their use of age resisting activities. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. Vol 9 (2): 169-187
  • Simpson, R. & Ballard, K. (2005) What is being assessed in the MRCGP Oral Examination? British Journal of General Practice. Volume 55 (515): 430-436
  • Ashworth, M. Charlton, J. Ballard, K. Latinovic, R. Gulliford, M. (2005) Variations in antibiotic prescribing and consultation rates for acute respiratory infection in UK general practices 1995-2000  British Journal of General Practice. Volume 55: 603-08
  • Ballard, K, Robinson, S. & Laurence, P. (2004) Why do GPs from France choose to work in inner city London practices? A qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice. 54, 747-52
  • Ballard, K. & Laurence, P. (2004) An Induction Programme for European General Practitioners coming to work in England: Development and Evaluation. Education for Primary Care 2004; 15:584-95
  • Rymer, J. Wilson, R. Ballard, K. (2003) Making decisions about hormone replacement therapy (letter). British Medical Journal 326;1398-1399
  • Rymer, J. Wilson, R. Ballard, K. (2003) Making decisions about hormone replacement therapy. British Medical Journal 326; 322-6
  • Ballard, K. (2002) Women’s use of hormone replacement therapy for disease prevention: A community study, British Journal of General Practice 52:835-837
  • Ballard, K. (2002) Understanding risk: women’s perceived risk of menopause related disease and the value they place on preventive hormone replacement therapyFamily Practice, 19,6;591-5
  • Ballard, K., Kuh, D. & Wadsworth, M. (2001) The role of the menopause in women’s experiences of the ‘change of life’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 23, 4, 397-424
  • Ballard, K., Cheeseman, W., Ripiner, T & Wells, S. (1992) Humidification For Ventilated Patients Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. 8, 2-9

Book chapters and books
  • Wright, J. & Ballard, K. (2011) Training in Laparoscopic Gynaecology (book chapter). RCOG Press
  • Ballard, K. (2004) Illness behaviour, in Bury, M., Gabe, J. & Elston M. (eds) Key Concepts in Medical Sociology. Sage: London
  • Ballard, K. (2004) Compliance and Concordance, in Bury, M., Gabe, J. & Elston M. (eds) Key Concepts in Medical Sociology. Sage: London
  • Ballard, K. (2003) Understanding the Menopause. John Wiley: London

  • Evidence Based Practice and Critical Appraisal
  • Research Methods
  • Communicating risk
  • Global health
Departmental Duties
  • Academic Lead for NIHR Research Design Service South East (Surrey)
  • Module lead for; Principles of research methods module & Evidence Based Practice module (MSc Advanced Gynaecological Endoscopy)
  • Research theme leader; Nursing & Health Care Practice