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Joel Msafiri Francis

I am an epidemiologist and a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Clinical Medicine, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care.
Prior to joining WITS, I worked as a research scientist with the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and a research fellow with the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.
I hold a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree (equivalent to MBBCh) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and an MSc in Epidemiology from Harvard University, USA, and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of London (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), UK.
My current responsibilities include teaching (supervision of undergraduate, Master, and Ph.D. candidates), and Public Health research. I have over 13 years’ experience in conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and analyzing rigorous quantitative observational (large surveys and classical epidemiological) and experimental studies (cluster-randomized trials, randomized clinical trials), systematic reviews, and meta-analysis, and implementation science studies. My substantive research interests have been on HIV, Alcohol and Other Drug Use, Noncommunicable Diseases, and Mental Health, and a more recent interest in the Global Burden of Diseases.
I am a member of editorial boards of three BMC series journals (BMC- Public Health & BMC – Global Health Research and Policy, BMC -Infectious Diseases), the PLOS One journal, a statistical editor for the Health Policy and Planning journal, and an editorial advisor at the BMJ Open journal.
I am a member of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) of two ongoing randomized trials in South Africa and Tanzania.
I serve as an honorary lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. And a member of the International AIDS Society.


  • 2015 
    University of London (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), UK, PhD
  • 2006 
    Harvard University (Harvard T.H.Chan School Of Public Health), USA, MS
  • 2003 
    University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, MD