James Phillips

James Phillips

James Phillips

Special Lecturer
Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Medical Center
Senior Vice President


60 Haven Avenue, Suite B-2
New York NY USA 10032
Email: CV:


James Phillips, PhD, conducts research on health systems and policy issues in Africa and Asia. Dr. Phillips collaborated with the Ghana Health Service in designing, implementing, and evaluating the Navrongo Experiment, a study that provided conclusive evidence that family planning services can lead to fertility decline in a traditional African societal setting. Improvements in maternal and child health associated with the project represent the most rapid declines in maternal and childhood mortality ever recorded for a rural African population, with service systems of the project becoming the model for a national program known as the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Initiative. Based on his work in Ghana, Dr. Phillips has developed and tested methods for accelerating the pace of scaling-up initiatives around the world. Dr. Phillips directed a randomized cluster trial of community-based primary health care in Tanzania that tested the childhood survival impact of the Ghana service model in three rural Tanzanian districts. Based on work in Bangladesh and Ghana he has developed implementation science tools for evidence-based scale-up of health system innovations. Dr. Phillips has published various papers in leading journals documenting his work and the impact of policy experiments in Ghana, Tanzania, and Bangladesh.


PhD, 1980, University of Michigan
MSc, 1972, University of Hawaii
BS, 1967, University of Michigan

Editorial Boards

Africa Population Journal
Global Health: Policy and Practice
BioMed Central Health Systems Research

Columbia Affiliations

Member, Columbia Population Research Center

Other Affiliations

Honors & Awards

Marjorie Horn Award for Excellence in Operations Research, USAID
Presidential Award for Excellence in Partnership, Republic of Ghana, 2005
Dean's Mentoring Award, Mailman School of Public Health, 2013
Outstanding Support Award, INDEPTH Network, 2010

Select Global Activities

Senior Advisor, Community-based Health Planning and Services: Provided advisory support to the Navrongo Community Health and Family Planning Project, a program of mobilizing social traditions for supporting community health services in a northern Ghanaian district. Collaborated with the Ghana Health Service on a program of evidence-based scaling up of the Navrongo project.
The Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program: Coordinates a study of the child survival impact of health systems development innovations in Ghana
The Connect Project, Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania: Coordinates a randomized cluster trial of the child survival impact of community-based primary health care in rural Tanzania.

Select Publications

Phillips, James F., Mallory C. Sheff, Christopher B. Boyer. The astronomy of health systems literature in Africa during the MDG era: where are the systems clusters? Global Health: Science and Practice. 2015;3(3):482-502. http://dx.doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-15-00034.
Ramsey, Kathryn, Ahmed Hingora, Malick Kante, Elizabeth Jackson, Amon Exavery, Senga Pemba, Fatuma Manzi, Colin Baynes, Stephane Helleringer, James F. Phillips. 2013. The Tanzania Connect Project: A cluster-randomized trial of the child survival impact of adding paid community health workers to an existing facility-focused health system, BioMed Central Health Services Research, 13 (Supplement 2):S6 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-S2-S6.
Phillips, James F., Elizabeth F. Jackson, Ayaga A. Bawah, Bruce MacLeod, Philip Adongo, Colin D, Baynes. 2012. The long term fertility impact of the Navrongo Project in northern Ghana, Studies in Family Planning 43(3):175-190.
Phillips, James F., Tanya C. Jones, Frank K. Nyonator, and Shruti Ravikumar. 2007. Evidence-based scaling up of health and family planning service innovations in Bangladesh and Ghana, in Ruth Simmons, Peter Fajans and Laura Ghiron (eds.). Scaling Up Health Service Delivery: From Pilot Innovations to Policies and Programmes, World Health Organization, Geneva, pp 113-134.
Phillips, J., Bawah, A., Binka, F. Accelerating reproductive and child health programme impact: The Navrongo Experiment in Ghana Bulletin of the World Health Organization 84 949-955 2006
Nyonator, F., Awoonor-Williams, J., Phillips, J., Jones, T., Miller, R. The Ghana Community-based Health Planning and Services Initiative: Fostering evidence-based organizational change and development in a resource-constrained setting Health Policy and Planning 20(1) 25-34 2005
Phillips, James F, John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Ayaga A. Bawah, Belinda Afriyie Nimako, Nicholas Kanlisi, Mallory C. Sheff, Elizabeth F. Jackson, Patrick O. Asuming, Adriana Biney, Pearl Kyei. 2018. What do you do with success? The science of scaling up a health systems strengthening intervention in Ghana. BMC, Health Services Research, DOI: 10.1186/s12913-018-3250-3.
Phillips, James F. 2003. Demographic surveillance systems In Paul Demeny and Geoffrey McNicoll (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Population. London: MacMillan, pp. 204-206.
Sathar, Zeba Ayesha and James F. Phillips (eds.). 2001. Fertility Transition in South Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Phillips, James F., Bruce B. MacLeod, and Brian Pence. 2000. The Household Registration System: Computer software for the rapid dissemination of demographic surveillance systems, Demographic Research, vol. 2-6. Rostock, Germany: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, volumes/vol2/6/default.htm.

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