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Joel Msafiri Francis

Senior Researcher, University of the Witwatersrand

I am an epidemiologist, and senior 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 PhD in Epidemiology from the University of London (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), UK.
I engage in 1) Research supervision and mentorship of undergraduate, Master, and PhD candidates in Epidemiology, Family Medicine, and Public Health. 2) Health research - areas of interest HIV, Alcohol and Other Drug Use, Mental Health, Implementation Science and Epidemiology (Surveys, Case-Control Studies, Cohort studies, Systematic review and meta-analysis, Cluster Randomized Trials, Randomized Control Trials).
I serve in the 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, an editorial advisor at the BMJ Open journal and the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
In addition, I have been appointed to 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