Professor Sarah Johnsen

Chair in Homelessness and Inclusion Health

Contact details



Doorway 6
Old Medical School
Teviot Place

Post code


After completing a PhD in social geography at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Sarah worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Bristol. This was followed by a period working in the voluntary sector, when she was Research Manager for The Salvation Army (UK & Ireland).  Sarah then spent several years in the Centre for Housing Policy (CHP) at the University of York and 13 years in the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University. Sarah has been based in the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh since September 2023. 

Responsibilities & affiliations

Director, Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health

Undergraduate teaching

Working with data to inform nursing, health, and social care research

Postgraduate teaching

Homeless and Inclusion Health Masters/CPD

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Sarah’s research focuses on homelessness and inclusion health. She has particular interest and expertise in:

  • Rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness (including hidden homelessness)
  • Health inequalities and healthcare barriers affecting people experiencing homelessness
  • Begging, street drinking, street-based sex work, and other aspects of 'street culture'
  • Substance misuse, mental health and 'complex needs'/ 'severe and multiple disadvantage'
  • Role of faith communities in welfare provision
  • Practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people

Affiliated research centres