Donald Thea
Profiles

Donald M. Thea, MD, MSc

Professor, Global Health - Boston University School of Public Health

dthea@bu.edu

Biography

Dr. Thea 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 MD/MPH dual degree program. 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.

Most recently, in 2018 Dr. Thea was awarded a 5-year R01 grant from NICHD (Zambia Infant Cohort Study - ZICS) to study the causes and risk factors for increased morbidity and mortality seen among children who are born to HIV-infected mothers but escaped infection themselves. These HIV-exposed but uninfected children are now estimated to number 14.8 million, worldwide and growing.

Along with Professors Gill and Fox, Dr. Thea have a bi-weekly podcast, Free Associations, which critically reviews the merit and rigor of recent scientific publications that have been noted in the popular press.

Other Positions

  • Director, Center for Global Health & Development - Boston University School of Public Health
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research - Boston University

Education

  • Columbia University, MD Field of Study: Medicine
  • University of London, MSc Field of Study: Tropical Medicine
  • Antioch College, BS

Classes Taught

  • SPHGH805

Publications

  • Published on 10/9/2021

    Rees CA, Hooli S, King C, McCollum ED, Colbourn T, Lufesi N, Mwansambo C, Lazzerini M, Madhi SA, Cutland C, Nunes M, Gessner BD, Basnet S, Kartasasmita CB, Mathew JL, Zaman SMAU, Paranhos-Baccala G, Bhatnagar S, Wadhwa N, Lodha R, Aneja S, Santosham M, Picot VS, Sylla M, Awasthi S, Bavdekar A, Pape JW, Rouzier V, Chou M, Rakoto-Andrianarivelo M, Wang J, Nymadawa P, Vanhems P, Russomando G, Asghar R, Banajeh S, Iqbal I, MacLeod W, Maulen-Radovan I, Mino G, Saha S, Singhi S, Thea DM, Clara AW, Campbell H, Nair H, Falconer J, Williams LJ, Horne M, Strand T, Qazi SA, Nisar YB, Neuman MI. External validation of the RISC, RISC-Malawi, and PERCH clinical prediction rules to identify risk of death in children hospitalized with pneumonia. J Glob Health. 2021; 11:04062. PMID: 34737862.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/2/2021

    Forman LS, Macleod W, Mwananyanda L, Kwenda G, Pieciak R, Mupila Z, Murphy C, Thea D, Chikoti C, Yankonde B, Ngoma B, Chimoga C, Gill CJ. Association of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection and Underlying Risk Factors for Death Among Young Infants Who Died at University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka Zambia. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 09 02; 73(Suppl_3):S180-S186. PMID: 34472569.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/2/2021

    Murphy C, MacLeod WB, Forman LS, Mwananyanda L, Kwenda G, Pieciak RC, Mupila Z, Thea D, Chikoti C, Yankonde B, Ngoma B, Chimoga C, Gill CJ. Risk Factors for Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Associated Community Deaths in Zambian Infants. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 09 02; 73(Suppl_3):S187-S192. PMID: 34472570.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2021

    Deloria Knoll M, Prosperi C, Baggett HC, Brooks WA, Feikin DR, Hammitt LL, Howie SRC, Kotloff KL, Madhi SA, Murdoch DR, Scott JAG, Thea DM, O'Brien KL. Introduction to the Site-specific Etiologic Results From the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) Study. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 Sep 01; 40(9S):S1-S6. PMID: 34448739.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2021

    Mwananyanda L, Thea DM, Chipeta J, Kwenda G, Mulindwa JM, Mwenechanya M, Prosperi C, Higdon MM, Haddix M, Hammitt LL, Feikin DR, Murdoch DR, O'Brien KL, Deloria Knoll M, Mwansa J, Wa Somwe S, Seidenberg P. The Etiology of Pneumonia in Zambian Children: Findings From the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) Study. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 Sep 01; 40(9S):S40-S49. PMID: 34448743.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2021

    Seidenberg P, Mwananyanda L, Chipeta J, Kwenda G, Mulindwa JM, Mwansa J, Mwenechanya M, Wa Somwe S, Feikin DR, Haddix M, Hammitt LL, Higdon MM, Murdoch DR, Prosperi C, O'Brien KL, Deloria Knoll M, Thea DM. The Etiology of Pneumonia in HIV-infected Zambian Children: Findings From the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) Study. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 Sep 01; 40(9S):S50-S58. PMID: 34448744.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/31/2021

    Baillie VL, Moore DP, Mathunjwa A, Park DE, Thea DM, Kwenda G, Mwananyanda L, Madhi SA. Epidemiology and Seasonality of Endemic Human Coronaviruses in South African and Zambian Children: A Case-Control Pneumonia Study. Viruses. 2021 07 31; 13(8). PMID: 34452378.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/27/2021

    Baillie VL, Moore DP, Mathunjwa A, Baggett HC, Brooks A, Feikin DR, Hammitt LL, Howie SRC, Knoll MD, Kotloff KL, Levine OS, O'Brien KL, Scott AG, Thea DM, Antonio M, Awori JO, Driscoll AJ, Fancourt NSS, Higdon MM, Karron RA, Morpeth SC, Mulindwa JM, Murdoch DR, Park DE, Prosperi C, Rahman MZ, Rahman M, Salaudeen RA, Sawatwong P, Somwe SW, Sow SO, Tapia MD, Simões EAF, Madhi SA. Epidemiology of the Rhinovirus (RV) in African and Southeast Asian Children: A Case-Control Pneumonia Etiology Study. Viruses. 2021 06 27; 13(7). PMID: 34198998.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/21/2021

    Wang X, Li Y, Deloria-Knoll M, Madhi SA, Cohen C, Arguelles VL, Basnet S, Bassat Q, Brooks WA, Echavarria M, Fasce RA, Gentile A, Goswami D, Homaira N, Howie SRC, Kotloff KL, Khuri-Bulos N, Krishnan A, Lucero MG, Lupisan S, Mathisen M, McLean KA, Mira-Iglesias A, Moraleda C, Okamoto M, Oshitani H, O'Brien KL, Owor BE, Rasmussen ZA, Rath BA, Salimi V, Sawatwong P, Scott JAG, Simões EAF, Sotomayor V, Thea DM, Treurnicht FK, Yoshida LM, Zar HJ, Campbell H, Nair H. Global burden of acute lower respiratory infection associated with human parainfluenza virus in children younger than 5 years for 2018: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2021 08; 9(8):e1077-e1087. PMID: 34166626.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/7/2021

    Gill CJ, Gunning CE, MacLeod WB, Mwananyanda L, Thea DM, Pieciak RC, Kwenda G, Mupila Z, Rohani P. Asymptomatic Bordetella pertussis infections in a longitudinal cohort of young African infants and their mothers. Elife. 2021 06 07; 10. PMID: 34097599.

    Read At: PubMed

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