Thoai Ngo, PhD, MHS

Member at Large

Thoai Ngo is the director of the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth (PGY) Program overseeing efforts to develop and test innovative solutions, and scale up successful strategies to improve the well-being of adolescents, accelerate positive demographic trends, and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations to adapt to environmental shocks and stressors. Thoai helped create and directs the Population Council’s Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center, which generates and translates high-quality evidence to transform the lives of adolescents, especially girls.

As an epidemiologist and evaluation specialist, Thoai’s research has been focused on young and urban poor populations in low and middle income countries. Primarily, he has been designing and testing the most effective, affordable, and innovative interventions and programs in sexual and reproductive health (SRH), including family planning, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, and safe abortion. His focus has been testing the effectiveness of various innovations, including cash-transfer, health-financing, mHealth, social-franchising, and task-sharing of health service delivery. And his expertise has helped to improve the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services to men and women around the world ensuring their access to high-quality services. Thoai’s research on the expansion of family planning and safe abortion has been well-cited and used to inform international and national guidelines, policies, and programs.

Prior to the Council, Thoai was the senior director and vice president of research at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) overseeing more than 500 research staff in conducting more than 250 impact evaluations of programs and policies to tackle global poverty issues. Ngo also oversaw the development of IPA’s research transparency and Right-Fit Evidence initiatives. He also served as head of global research at Marie Stopes International, a non-governmental organization that delivers SRH services in 42 countries, helping to build its international research department.

Ngo has provided technical assistance to and supported national governments in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in ensuring that innovative and proven methods of SRH services are implemented on the ground.  He is an advisor to various organizations, including DFID, USAID, WHO, the World Bank, private foundations, universities, and governmental bodies, on designing and evaluating sexual and reproductive health programs. Thoai sits on the editorial committee of Studies in Family Planning, and lectures at leading global health universities. 

Thoai was a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. He received his PhD in demography and epidemiology from the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his Masters of Health Science in Global Epidemiology and Disease Control from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, policy report, and book chapters.