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Philip E. Thuma, MD

  • Senior Scientist

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MD, Temple University, 1974
BA, Messiah College, 1970


As a medical doctor and pediatrician working in rural Zambia since 1976, I have seen the enormous impact of infectious disease on childhood morbidity and mortality, and have spent the last 25 years concentrating primarily on research and control of these diseases. For the first decade my concentration was on malaria, but as this came under control I have expanded my research efforts to include pediatric TB and HIV/AIDS. In order to keep abreast of these problems affecting African children, and also clinically adept, I not only carry out research projects and other programs but continue to provide clinical care for pediatric patients in the Macha Hospital Children’s ward and also see pediatric AIDS patients one day a week in the hospital’s AIDS clinic.

From directing the development starting in 2002 of the Malaria Institute at Macha (MIAM), a collaborative effort with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s Malaria Research Institute, to more recently being the PI on a large CDC-funded HIV/AIDS prevention program in the Macha area, my goal is to see rural African children survive childhood and have a chance at the quality of life that they deserve. My current efforts involve active participation as site project manager for the Southern Africa International Center for Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR), as well as local PI on two other NIH-funded R01 grants on HIV/AIDS.

Honors and Awards

1974 Upjohn Achievement Award / Intern of the Year, Miami Valley Hospital

1981 Kamsler Award / Outstanding Pediatric Resident, Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital

1996 Ballantine Award / Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Penn State College of Medicine, Dept. of Pediatrics

1998 Distinguished Alumni Award, Messiah College

1999 Senior Scholar Award, US Fulbright Commission

2010 Commencement Speaker, 100th Anniversary, Messiah College

  • Zambia
  • malaria
  • tropical pediatrics

Recent publications:

  • Searle KM, Hamapumbu H, Lubinda J, Shields TM, Pinchoff J, Kobayashi T, Stevenson JC, Bridges DJ, Larsen DA, Thuma PE, Moss WJ for Southern Africa International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research. Evaluation of the operational challenges in implementing reactive screen-and-treat and implications of reactive case detection strategies for malaria elimination in a region of low transmission in southern Zambia. Malar J. 2016 Aug 15;15(1):412. doi: 10.1186/s12936-016-1460. PMID: 27527347
  • Shields T, Pinchoff J, Lubinda J, Hamapumbu H, Searle K, Kobayashi T, Thuma PE, Moss WJ, Curriero FC. Spatial and temporal changes in household structure locations using high-resolution satellite imagery for population assessment: an analysis in southern Zambia, 2006-2011. Geospat Health. 2016 May 31;11(2):410. doi: 10.4081/gh.2016.410. PMID: 27245798
  • Hein S, Tan M, Reich J, Thuma PE, Grigorenko EL. School effects on non-verbal intelligence and nutritional status in rural Zambia. Learn Individ Differ. 2016 Feb;46:25-37. PMID: 27175053
  • Sacks E, Moss WJ, Winch PJ, Thuma P, van Dijk JH, Mullany LC. Postnatal care utilization and local understandings of contagion among HIV-infected and uninfected women in rural, southern Zambia. AIDS Care. 2016 Aug;28(8):1052-7. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2016.1168912. PMID: 27064444
  • Sutcliffe CG, van Dijk JH, Muleka M, Munsanje J, Thuma PE, Moss WJ. Delays in Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-infected Children in Rural Zambia. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2016 Apr;35(4):e107-12. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000001021. PMID: 26629873
  • Community Based Evaluation of Interventions for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC Study)