Thoai Ngo is the head of the social and behavioral science research (SBSR) department at the Population Council, which is responsible for advancing the organization’s research agenda and implementing its strategy to tackle pressing social, economic, health, and climate issues worldwide. He leads a global team of interdisciplinary scientists and researchers with expertise in demography, epidemiology, economics, public health, and sociology. Ngo oversees the initiatives to conduct rigorous science, generate high quality evidence and innovative data products, and communicate evidence strategically to influence social, economic and health policies and investments.
Ngo has led and expanded research departments at leading international research institutions and nonprofits tackling a wide range of global health and development issues. At the Population Council, he previously led a global research program that seeks to understand and address the social dimensions of poverty, the causes and consequences of gender inequality, and the disparities and opportunities that arise early in life and in adolescence. He is the Founding Director of the Girl Innovation, Research and Learning (GIRL) Center, which generates and translates high-quality evidence on adolescents to support investments that transform their lives. As a champion for open data, Ngo and his team launched the Adolescent Data Hub—a unique, open data portal on adolescents and young people living in low- and middle-income countries—that is widely used by researchers around the world.
Prior to the Council, Ngo was the Senior Director and Vice President of Research at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a non-profit that evaluates solutions for alleviating poverty and addressing developmental problems. There, he led a department of 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 MSI Reproductive Choices, a non-governmental organization that delivers sexual and reproductive health services in 42 countries, where he was instrumental in building its international research department. Ngo was also a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and a research fellow the National Institutes of Health.
Ngo is a recognized scientist who has served as an advisor on research and policy agenda setting on health and development issues to multilateral and bilateral donors, private foundations, universities, United Nations agencies, and governments around the world. Ngo lectures at global health universities and chairs the Ibis Reproductive Health Board. In 2017, Ngo was recognized as one of the 120 Under 40 of leaders making a difference in reproductive health worldwide. He received his PhD in epidemiology and population health from the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his Master’s of Health Science in Global Epidemiology and Disease Control from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.