Assistant Professor of Global Health
Bio and Current Research
Dr. Jessica Lee Cohen is Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, Affiliated Professor at the Jameel-Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute. Her research applies the methods of program design, randomized trials, and impact evaluation to maternal and child health programs and policies in sub-Saharan Africa.
She has worked on a number of field trials in Africa related to prevention, treatment and diagnosis of malaria, technology adoption, messaging and behavior change and pharmaceutical supply chains. Ongoing work in malaria explores how perceptions of malaria risk influence malaria treatment seeking and prevention. Current field work in Kenya (with Margaret McConnell), supported by a Gates Grand Challenges award, uses behavioral economic insights to explore new approaches to increasing demand for high quality maternal care. She has other ongoing field work applying behavioral economic findings to improve program design in the areas of postpartum contraception (in Kenya) and nutrition (in Ethiopia).
Dr. Cohen is co-editor (with William Easterly) of the book “What Works in Development?: Thinking Big and Thinking Small.” She is also the co-founder of TAMTAM Africa, Inc. (Together Against Malaria), an NGO operating in East Africa since 2003 working on malaria prevention among pregnant women.
Dr. Cohen’s work has been referenced in major national and international publications, including the The Economist, the Boston Globe, New York Times and Nature. She is a member of the WHO Global Malaria Program’s Technical Expert Group on Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation, has advised the government of Zanzibar on its malaria control program and the Canadian International Development Agency on its child survival programs.
Dr. Cohen received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wesleyan University and was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at MIT, where she received her doctorate in economics.