Ongoing Global Health Policy Research

Our projects commonly use quantitative techniques to answer population health policy questions of relevance to developing countries.  We welcome involvement of students and trainees who are well-matched with projects.

Health Aid Effectiveness

The US provides more assistance to the health sector of developing countries than any other country, and those investments make up a sizeable portion of all health care spending in many countries. In that sense, the US has an important responsibility to thoughtfully direct its investments – the lives of millions are affected by those decisions. However, the extent to which the US is investing in programs and interventions with the greatest potential to reduce the burden of death and disease is largely unknown. We have several projects that address these issues.

  1. The intended and unintended population health consequences of health aid.  We explore how and whether the 21st century's major health initiatives, including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and the GAVI Alliance, have been associated with intended and unintended population-level health consequences.  With: Grant MillerJay Bhattacharya, and Isabel Yan.
  2. Is health aid a good investment? We are curious about the extent to which health aid investments yield good returns given the epidemiologic and economic context of the intended recipients.
  3. Deconstructing the priorities of US foreign aid for health.  Decisions about US health aid have a tenuous relationship with disease burden, and the choice of partner countries is poorly understood.  We explore the choices of US foreign aid for health through a series of case studies and interviews.  With: Rajaie Batniji, Isabelle Wijangco.

Effectiveness and Efficiency of Infectious Disease Control Strategies

Comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness approaches are key tools for prioritization of available disease control strategies in a resource-constrained world. We design and test the comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment and prevention options for the control and prevention of HIV, TB, and malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa and India.

  • In 30 years HIV transitioned from a few case reports to a steamrolling epidemic, and now to a hyperendemic challenge in many southern African countries. One of the primary challneged in the years ahead will entail the chronic care of Doug Owens and Margaret Brandeau.
  • Timing of antiretroviral therapy initiation and the balance of toxicities and therapeutic benefits.  With: Diana Negoescu, Doug Owens and Margaret Brandeau.
  • Modeling India's drug-resistant TB epidemic to identify public and private sector approaches to improve population health outcomes and limit the spread of drug-resistant disease. With: Sze-chuan Suen and Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert. 

Environmental Changes and Food SecurityAmong the Poor

Despite the debates about the exact manifestations of climate change, average temperatures and volatility of temperature and precipitation are commonly expected to increase. Understanding the responses of those most vulnerable to short-term climate fluctuations can inform policies that mitigate undesireable heath effects. One of the most critical pathways linking climate to health passes through food and food prices: individuals and smallholder households in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia may be vulnerable to short-term fluctuations in food availability and prices in ways that adversely affect their health. In addition to climate factors, global fluctuations in food prices also change local prices faced by the poor. Using data on local food prices throughout Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, we are examining the complex interaction of global food policies and climate on human health. With: Marshall Burke, Sam Heft-Neal, Sanjay Basu , and Chris Weyant.

Other Projects of Interest

  1. Socio-economic status and the response to HIV in highly endemic countries.  The gradient of HIV prevalence in many sub-Saharan African countries is reversed from most diseases and countries: it is heaviest among the educated and affluent.  However, the increasing availability of treatment and prevention technologies presented an opportunity for differential uptake based on levels of education and opportunities.  With: Quyen Vu