Who We Are

New York Team


Director, Advancing Research on Community Health Systems (ARCHeS); Professor of Population and Family Health at Mailman School of Public Health

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, including in Vietnam, where Dr. Phillips collaborates with provincial health authorities on models for reducing ethnic disparities in health service utilization. Based on work in Bangladesh, he developed models for mechanizing the replication of database systems, leading to the proliferation of longitudinal health research in Africa. Dr. Phillips has published various papers in leading journals documenting his work and the impact of policy experiments in Ghana and Bangladesh.


Senior Research Scientist, Advancing Research on Community Health Systems (ARCHeS)

Elizabeth F. Jackson, PhD, MHS, is an epidemiologist whose research centers on reproductive health and health systems. She specializes in demographic surveillance, longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys and qualitative methods. Dr. Jackson is interested in applying research to design, evaluate and improve health services. She has worked in a number of African countries, on topics including family planning, female genital mutilation, sexual risk behaviors of marginalized adolescents, and improving the future health and livelihood of vulnerable older adolescents. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina and previously worked with the Population Council and Family Health International.

Nicholas kanlisi, mD, mph

Consultant, Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Initiative

Nicholas Kanlisi is a public health physician based in Ghana with over 30 years of experience who focuses on Reproductive Health Services strenghtening. Prior to working for CHPS+, he works as the Senior Reproductive Health and Family Planning advisor for the USAID System for Health Project. Prior to that, he served as the country representative and project director for EngenderHealth Ghana. His interests are in service quality improvement and scaling up national family planning programs. 


Program Officer, Advancing Research on Community Health Systems (ARCHeS)


Research Assistant, Advancing Research on Community Health Systems (ARCHeS)





Partners in Ghana


Director, Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Ghana Health Service

John Koku Awoonor-Williams is the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Director of the Ghana Health Service. He is a public health physician and general surgeon with an MD from the Minsk State Medical School, Belarus, an MPH from the University of Leeds and a Masters in Health Administration and Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. His interests include health systems development and evaluation, childhood survival, reproductive health, and health systems for marginalized populations. In 2006, the World Medical Association nominated him as one of its “Caring Physicians of the World” and WHO featured him in the cover article of the State of the World’s Health for his contributions to health manpower development. In 1997 and 2006 two Presidents of the Republic of Ghana awarded him the ‘Grand Medal Civil Division’ for his meritorious medical and public health service in Ghana. Dr. Awoonor-Williams is the Co-PI of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Initiative.


Professor, Regional Institute for Population Studies 

Prior to joining the CHPS Initiative, Dr Bawah was responsible for coordinating and directing scientific work at the INDEPTH Network, a global network of centers that conduct longitudinal health and demographic surveillance of populations in low-and middle income countries. Previously, Dr Bawah had worked at the Policy Research Division of the Population Council in New York as a Bernard Berelson Fellow. He began his career at the Navrongo Health Research Center as a field research assistant and later as a research officer. In 1998, he left to University of Pennsylvania to pursue his doctoral studies but, returned to Navrongo to take leadership of the Navrongo Demographic Surveillance unit. He was actively involved in the Navrongo Community Health and Family Planning project, serving at a point in time as the demographer-in-charge of the project. His research interests are in the area of population and health in Africa, particularly in the area of child health, equity in health, fertility and reproductive health and general issues in research methodology. Dr. Bawah is the Co-PI of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Initiative.

Dr. Bawah holds MA in Population Studies from the United Nations Regional Institute (RIPS), University of Ghana, and PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He has published several articles in peer-review journals and contributed to book chapters in the fields of population and health.


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