Professor of Global Health, School of Public Health
- MD, Columbia University
Donald Thea is a member of the Boston University Global Development Policy Center Faculty Steering Committee and a Professor of Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
He received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Masters of Science in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and trained in infectious diseases in the Department of Geographic Medicine 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 and pneumonia. Dr. Thea was an early member of Project SIDA (Kinshasa, Zaire), the first international clinical HIV/AIDS research 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 Global Health department along with the other members of the Harvard team where he is currently a Professor of Global Health and the Director of the Center for Global Health and Development (CGHD). 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 has been the Principal Investigator of several large studies and program implementation 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 (BUPIP) – Southern Province Zambia. He is the Zambia Site PI for the Bill and Melinda Gates funded Pneumonia Etiology Research in Child Health (PERCH) through a subcontract with Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Thea is also on the Board of Directors for the Zambian Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), a local Zambian NGO organization which works closely with Boston University to implement public health research and programs.