Jim Thomas New Director of MEASURE Evaluation

Jim Thomas has served as MEASURE Evaluation’s Deputy Director for HIV and Infectious Diseases since 2010. Siân Curtis has been the director since 2002. During her tenure, MEASURE Evaluation has been re-awarded twice and has more than tripled in size.
Jim Thomas photo

James C. “Jim” Thomas, Ph.D., has been appointed the new Director of MEASURE Evaluation. In 2008, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded up to $181 million for the 6-year Project, which remains the largest award ever received by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

The Project, which works in more than 40 countries, enables improved decision making in public health. It does so through building country health information systems, training public health workers, evaluating programs, creating new evaluation tools, and helping set international health agendas. 

Thomas is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has served as MEASURE Evaluation’s Deputy Director for HIV and Infectious Diseases since 2010. He is also a Carolina Population Center (CPC) Faculty Fellow.

Thomas has over 30 years of experience in public health and has worked in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Since arriving at UNC in 1989, he has been the principal investigator of more than 22 research projects and a co-investigator of several others. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, two books, and seven book chapters. He was also the principal author of the public health code of ethics and an ethics advisor to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thomas earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Science from University of California, Davis.

“I cannot imagine a more exciting and fulfilling place to be in public health,” says Thomas. “Because MEASURE Evaluation is based at UNC, we have one foot in the world of cutting edge academics and the other in direct application of public health to those most in need.” 

Siân Curtis, Ph.D., has been the MEASURE Evaluation Director since 2002. During her tenure as Director, the Project has been re-awarded twice and has more than tripled in size. Curtis and staff working on the Project have been at the forefront of development of monitoring and evaluation systems to support the global scale-up of HIV/AIDS and malaria programs and have worked with multiple global agencies including UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF on monitoring and evaluation issues. The Project has developed innovative approaches to address methodological problems in monitoring and evaluation, including exploring application of geospatial and social network analysis methods and development of methods to improve measurement of mortality globally. 

Curtis is a Research Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Health in UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is also a CPC Faculty Fellow. Though she will no longer be the MEASURE Evaluation Director, she will continue as the Project’s Senior Advisor for Evaluation.

“The past ten years have been a tremendous professional experience for me. I have been fortunate to have worked with so many talented and committed people and have learned so much,” said Curtis. “I am excited by the new opportunities that are developing in evaluation of global health interventions and am looking forward to getting closer to the technical work again.” 

The Project’s first iteration began in 1991 as the EVALUATION project, which focused on population and reproductive health programs, also funded by USAID. In the last 21 years, the Project’s faculty and staff have developed a worldwide reputation for excellence and leadership in monitoring and evaluation. The scope of the Project has grown to encompass all areas of health in which USAID works, and has incorporated cross-cutting elements such as capacity building, data use, and gender dimensions of monitoring and evaluation. 

“MEASURE Evaluation is based on the idea that better public health information leads to better decision making about resources. That leads in turn to better programs and better health,” said Thomas. “This is meaningful work for all of us in the Project, and a global leadership role that the university and the state can be proud of.” 

About MEASURE Evaluation

  • MEASURE Evaluation is a USAID-funded project implemented by the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • MEASURE Evaluation is a leader with associates award implemented by the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with Futures Group, ICF International, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, and Tulane University.
  • MEASURE Evaluation employs 180 worldwide.
  • MEASURE Evaluation works in more than 40 countries. 
  • MEASURE Evaluation enables improved decision making in public health by building health information systems, training public health workers, evaluating programs, creating new evaluation tools, and helping set international health agendas.
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