Thoai Ngo, PhD, MHS

Member at Large

Thoai Ngo is the Vice President of Social and Behavioral Science Research at Population Council, as well as the director of the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program, where he oversees efforts to develop and test innovative solutions and scale up successful strategies to improve the health and well-being of adolescents, to accelerate positive demographic trends, and to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations to adapt to environmental shocks and stressors. Thoai also helped to establish and is the director of the Council Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center, which generates and translates high-quality evidence  on adolescents to support investments that transform their lives.

Thoai is an epidemiologist; his research has mainly focused on the intersections between gender, health, and poverty in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Primarily, he has been designing and testing the most effective, affordable, and innovative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions, programs, and policies, including cash transfers, health financing, mHealth, social franchising, and task-sharing of health service delivery. 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.  His work has helped to improve the delivery of high-quality SRH services to men, women, and young people around the world.  

Prior to the Council, Thoai was the senior director and vice president of research at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a non-profit organization that evaluates solutions for alleviating poverty and addressing developmental problems, where he oversaw more than 500 research staff conducting more than 250 impact evaluations of programs and policies to tackle global poverty issues. He also served as head of global research at Marie Stopes International, a non-governmental organization that delivers SRH services in 42 countries, where he was instrumental in building its international research department. Thoai was also a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and a research fellow the National Institutes of Health.  

Thoai has served as an advisor to various organizations, including DFID, USAID, WHO, the World Bank, private foundations, universities, and governmental bodies in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, on the design and implementation of various health programs and policies. Thoai sits on the editorial committee of Studies in Family Planning and lectures at leading global health universities. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, policy reports, and book chapters. In 2017, Thoai was recognized as one of the 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders. He received his PhD in demography and epidemiology from the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his Master of Health Science in Global Epidemiology and Disease Control from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.