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Ethnicity and neighbourhood effects on long-term outcomes of psychosis

   Faculty of Medicine and Health Science

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  Dr Sheri Oduola  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


Psychotic disorders are severe mental illnesses characterised by disturbance in thoughts, feelings, and mood. Onset of psychosis typically occurs when people are young during their studies or starting work and it affects 1 in 50 of the population. Research has shown that people living in cities and those from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups have higher rates of psychotic disorders and poorer outcomes, after first diagnosis. There is evidence that some neighbourhood characteristics including higher urban density, deprivation, and lower relative numbers of minorities (low ethnic density) within a given neighbourhood are associated with higher incidence of psychosis. At present, it is unclear to what extent evidence from city areas can be replicated in rural areas or whether these neighbourhood characteristics determine the risk of long-term poor social and clinical prognosis.  

Project aims  

This epidemiologically informed cohort study aims to utilise de-identified electronic health records of people with first episode of psychosis to understand the influence of neighbourhood factors on long-term (ten-years) outcomes of psychosis by ethnicity to a much greater degree than has been previously possible. You will work with large clinical data on cohorts of people with first episode psychosis in catchment areas consisting of rural and urban populations. This work will provide valuable evidence underlying differences in treatment, service use, and social functioning in rural and urban areas and why some ethnic groups might be at increased risk of poor outcome.  

Training opportunities 

This PhD programme will provide robust training in systematic reviews, advanced quantitative methods, and clinical informatics, including: 

  • Multi-level and Longitudinal Modelling 
  • Machine Learning for Health  
  • Natural Language Processing 

This interdisciplinary study will also enable you to work with leading experts in social and psychiatric epidemiology at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, King’s College London, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Trust and UCL. 

Funding Notes

This PhD project is a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. The studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK tuition fees, an annual stipend of £15,609 (2021/22 rate) and £1,000 per annum to support research training. International applicants (including EU) may apply but are required to fund the difference between UK and International tuition fees (details of tuition fees can be found on our website


i) Oduola S, Das-Munshi J, Bourque F, Gayer-Anderson C, Tsang J, Murray RM, Craig TKJ, Morgan C, (2019). Change in incidence rates for psychosis in different ethnic groups in south London: findings from the Clinical Record Interactive Search-First Episode Psychosis (CRIS-FEP) study. Psychological Medicine Nov 19:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0033291719003234.
ii) Oduola, S., Bourque, F., Craig, T., Das-Munshi, J., Gayer-Anderson, C., and Morgan, C. (2019) Compulsory admission at first presentation to services for psychosis: does ethnicity still matter? Findings from two population-based studies of first episode psychosis in the UK. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
iii) Ajnakina O, Morgan C, Gayer-Anderson C, Oduola S, Bourque F, Bramley S, Williamson J, MacCabe JH, Dazzan P, Murray RM, David AS. Only a small proportion of patients with first episode psychosis come via prodromal services: a retrospective survey of a large UK mental health programme. BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Aug 25;17(1):308. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1468-y.
iv) Oduola, S., Craig, T., and Morgan, C. (2020) Ethnic variations in duration of untreated psychosis: Report from the CRIS-FEP study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
v) Allan, S., Hodgekins, J., Beazley, P., and Oduola, S. (2020) Pathways to Care in At-Risk Mental States or Prodromal Psychosis: a systematic review. Early Intervention in Psychiatry
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