Professor Ginny Russell
Associate Professor (Sociology)
Byrne House GF16
Dr Russell initially trained as a researcher at the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol, becoming a television producer/director. In 2002 she joined Egenis at the University of Exeter in a communications role, developing the Centre’s communications strategy, editing the Genomics Network Magazine and programming the British Association’s Science in the City festival in 2004. She has written for various publications including The Times Educational Supplement and freelanced as a reporter for Radio 4’s Natural History Programme and Science in Action on the BBC World Service.
Broad research specialisms
Dr Russell is an interdisciplinary Senior Lecturer in critical diagnosis studies. She co-leads the Egenis Health and Illness theme. Her research interests encompass diagnosis, COVID, autism, ADHD and dyslexia, the socio-biological nexus of diagnostic classification and narrative, and the indirect loops of intervention with health and inequalities. Psychiatric epidemiology, secondary data analysis and qualitative methods have been used in her research to examine causes, outcomes, and effects of diagnosis.
- PhD Epidemiology/ developmental psychology/ sociology
- MSc Bioinformatics
- BSc Psychology
- BA Film
Research group links
- College of Social Sciences and International Studies
- Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences
- Health Technology and Society (HTS) research group
Dr Russell is an interdisciplinary Senior Lecturer. She is co-lead of the Egenis Health and Illness theme. Her research interests encompass diagnosis, COVID, neurodiversity, including autism, ADHD and dyslexia, and the socio-biological nexus of classification and narrative. Dr Russell is working on direct and indirect loops linking diagnosis and intervention with health and inequalities. Her research to date is in neurodiversity in child and adolescent mental health, most of her work has been critical assessment of diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism and ADHD. She has used secondary data analysis and qualitative methods to examine both causes and outcomes, and effects of diagnosis.
Research projects and interests
- Trends in diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders
- Modeling links between socio-economic status and ADHD
- Gender differences in ADHD
- Exploring diagnosis: Autism and the Neurodiversity movement
Academic lead of postdocs
Supervisor of PhD and masters students
External impact and engagement
Dr Russell was PI on an ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative project which ran from 2013-2014. The primary aim was to examine whether the proportion of children with the symptoms that underpin autism increased over a ten year period, in tandem with increasing diagnosis.
Another project assessed the association between ADHD and socio-economic disadvantage. This led to a PhD studentship for Abby Russell.
Dr Russell is currently PI on a Wellcome Trust funded project, Exploring Diagnosis. An associated film project has enabled autistic artists to create their own film work, and use the work to provoke dialogue around our research themes. Footage provides an insight into how adults with autism view the world, but visually not verbally. The idea is to give something back to the community whose voices and ideas we aim to document.
An accurate diagnosis? Nasen: Special. (July 2015) National Association of Special Educational Needs Coordinators, p24-25.
· Across the Spectrum. Britain in 2015. ESRC Publications. p230-38.
- ANT2088 - Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society
- ANT3088 - Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society
- SOC2088 - Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society
- SOC3088 - Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society
- SOCM019 - Research Methods in the Social Sciences
- SOCM020 - Research Methods in the Social Sciences
I trained as a researcher at the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol, becoming a television producer/director (Full list of TV credits). In 2002 I joined the University of Exeter in a communications role, during my PhD I was retained as Public Engagement Officer and was involved in science communication through Exeter’s Café Scientifique.
I was awarded an ESRC/MRC PhD studentship in 2008 and completed my PhD in 2011. Since then I have been an interdisciplinary researcher in critical diagnosis studies, studying child and adult mental health, with a particular focus on neurodiversity.