Senior Research Scientist
Climate Information for Public Health Action
Madeleine Thomson is a Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Senior Scholar at the Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences – at Columbia University. She is also the Director of the IRI/PAHO-WHO Collaborating Centre (US 306) for Early Warning Systems for Malaria and Other Climate Sensitive Diseases.
She trained originally as a field entomologist and has spent much of her career engaged in operational research in support of large-scale health interventions, mostly in Africa. Her research focuses on the development of new data, methodologies and tools for improving climate sensitive health interventions Her focus has been on vector-borne diseases (e.g. malaria, onchocerciasis, visceral lieshmaniasis etc.) but in recent years has expanded to include air and water-borne infections as well as broader health challenges associated with food security and disasters. She is a founding member of the Meningitis Environmental Risk Information Technologies (MERIT) research consortium and the Vice-President of a non-profit 501(3)c, the Health and Climate Foundation. She is currently engaged by the Wellcome Trust as “Special Adviser – Environment, Nutrition & Health”.
She is particularly interested in improving institutional and human capacity for incorporating climate information into health planning. To help achieve the latter she is working to create a “health and climate” disciplinary interface and a “climate smart” public health community through the ‘Climate Information for Public Health Action (CIPHA)’ initiative. She is and has been PI and Co-PI on projects funded by NASA, NIH, USAID, NOAA, Google.org, the International Federation of the Red Cross, the UK Department for International Development, the UK Meningitis Research Foundation, the UK Medical Research Council, The World Health Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, the European Union, amongst others. She has a master’s in applied pest management from Imperial College London (1985) and a Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool based on her field work on the ecology and identification of the Simulium damnosum vectors of Onchocerciasis volvulus in Sierra Leone (1989). She joined the IRI in May 2002.