Donald M. Thea, MD

Professor, Global Health
Donald Thea
Crosstown Center – CT388
View full profile at BUMC


Dr. Thea received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and was trained in tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene and infectious diseases at New England Medical Center. He has pursued a full time career in both domestic and international clinical and epidemiological infectious disease research, primarily in issues related to child survival and in particular mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Thea was an early member of Project SIDA (Kinshasa, Zaire), the first international clinical AIDS field site, where he did work on the etiology of diarrhea in perinatally acquired HIV infection and was the director of the Clinical Research Unit. He pursued his interest in perinatal transmission of HIV as the Principal Investigator of the New York City Collaborative Perinatal HIV Transmission Study. In 1998 he then joined the Health and Social Development Unit of the Harvard Institute for International Development where he focused on international field research in Acute Respiratory Illness, Malaria and HIV. Dr. Thea joined the International Health department along with the other members of the Harvard team where he is currently a Professor of International Health and the Director of the Clinical Sciences Unit within the Center for International Health and Development (CIHD). In this capacity, Dr. Thea provides senior technical leadership of a portfolio of projects addressing community treatment of neonatal sepsis, management of acute respiratory illness in children, community and facilities-based management of acute malaria, presumptive prophylaxis of malaria in pregnancy, social and behavioral aspects of HIV transmission and child sexual abuse. Dr. Thea is the Principal Investigator of several studies and projects including a prospective cohort study of postnatal HIV through breastmilk (the Zambia Exclusive Breastfeeding Study), the Zambia Boston University Malaria Project ZAMBUMP, the Boston University PMTCT Integration Projects – Southern Province Zambia.

Other Positions:

  • Director of Center for Global Health & Development, Center for Global Health & Development , Boston University School of Public Health
  • Center Faculty Member, Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health


  • University of London, MSc
  • Columbia University, MD
  • Antioch College, BS


  • Published on 6/8/2015

    Naik R, Doherty T, Jackson D, Tabana H, Swanevelder S, Thea DM, Feeley FG, Fox MP. Linkage to care following a home-based HIV counselling and testing intervention in rural South Africa. J Int AIDS Soc. 2015; 18:19843.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/29/2015

    Bonawitz RE, Duncan J, Hammond E, Hamomba L, Nambule J, Sambambi K, Musonda V, Calise A, Knapp A, Mwale J, McCauley J, Thea D, Herlihy JM. Assessment of the impact of rapid syphilis tests on syphilis screening and treatment of pregnant women in Zambia. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2015 Jun; 130 Suppl 1:S58-62.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/9/2015

    Fox MP, Baqui AH, Hibberd PL, Black RE, Santosham M, Bhutta Z, Thea DM. Antibiotic trials for community-acquired pneumonia. Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Mar; 3(3):e4-5.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/2/2015

    Hamer DH, Herlihy JM, Musokotwane K, Banda B, Mpamba C, Mwangelwa B, Pilingana P, Thea DM, Simon JL, Yeboah-Antwi K, Grogan C, Semrau KE. Engagement of the community, traditional leaders, and public health system in the design and implementation of a large community-based, cluster-randomized trial of umbilical cord care in zambia. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Mar 4; 92(3):666-72.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/30/2014

    Qazi SA, Fox MP, Thea DM. Editorial commentary: ambulatory management of chest-indrawing pneumonia. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Apr 15; 60(8):1225-7.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/5/2014

    Larson BA, Lembela-Bwalya D, Bonawitz R, Hammond EE, Thea DM, Herlihy J. Finding a Needle in the Haystack: The Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of Syphilis Diagnosis and Treatment during Pregnancy to Prevent Congenital Syphilis in Kalomo District of Zambia. PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e113868.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/19/2014

    Kuhn L, Kim HY, Hsiao L, Nissan C, Kankasa C, Mwiya M, Thea DM, Aldrovandi GM, Bode L. Oligosaccharide Composition of Breast Milk Influences Survival of Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers in Lusaka, Zambia. J Nutr. 2015 Jan; 145(1):66-72.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/1/2014

    Segat L, Zupin L, Kim HY, Catamo E, Thea DM, Kankasa C, Aldrovandi GM, Kuhn L, Crovella S. HLA-G 14?bp deletion/insertion polymorphism and mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Tissue Antigens. 2014 Mar; 83(3):161-7.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2014

    Izadnegahdar R, Fox MP, Jeena P, Qazi SA, Thea DM. Revisiting pneumonia and exposure status in infants born to HIV-infected mothers. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2014 Jan; 33(1):70-2.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/1/2013

    Chan CS, Kim HY, Autran C, Kim JH, Sinkala M, Kankasa C, Mwiya M, Thea DM, Aldrovandi GM, Kuhn L, Bode L. Human milk galectin-3 binding protein and breast-feeding-associated HIV transmission. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Dec; 32(12):e473-5.

    Read at: PubMed

View 117 more publications:View full profile at BUMC


  • Published on November 24, 2014


  • Published on September 15, 2014


  • Published on December 16, 2013

    BU Annual Report