James Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Director, MEASURE Evaluation Project
Dr. Thomas studies the social forces that establish patterns of disease in communities. He has a particular interest in complex systems and methods for studying them, including network analysis.
Dr. Thomas's principal interests are national data systems supporting public health, data ethics, and social forces affecting disease patterns. As a social epidemiologist, he has used organizational network analysis to study how organizations in a community can work together to effectively control disease. Thomas integrates epidemiologic research with methods from other disciplines, such as anthropology, history, molecular biology, and medical geography. In studies comparing communities, he has adapted measures from sociology to measure the effects of phenomena such as high rates of incarceration on sexually transmitted infection rates.
Dr. Thomas was the principal author of the American code of ethics for public health, and has served as an ethics advisor to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is currently researching and writing about ethics in big data that inform public health.
The Measure Program, of which Dr. Thomas is Director, is the home for several, large international projects that strengthen data collection and use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). They include MEASURE Evaluation; Data 4 Impact; the Tuberculosis Data, Impact Assessment, and Communications Hub (TB DIAH); and Measure Malaria.