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Assistant Professor
Ligia Paina

Departmental Affiliations

Health Systems

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E8646

Research Interests

health systems research; implementation research; human resources for health; migration; mobility; urban; policy analysis; systems thinking; research capacity development; governance; social accountability; patient-centered care; low and middle-income countries; Eastern Europe; Romania
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Albion College
I am a health system researcher, with training in international studies and global public health systems. My research aims to contribute to understanding how to better intervene in complex systems in order to ensure responsive, quality, and people-centered access to health services, particularly for vulnerable and under-served populations. Using mixed methods and participatory approaches, I focus on implementation research, M&E of complex health system policies and interventions, and policy analysis. I am fascinated by system learning and adaptation, particularly in the context of system reforms and transitions (such as programmatic transitions), strengthening governance and accountability, mobility and migration in health workforce labor markets, strengthening urban health systems, and enhancing interdisciplinarity in health systems research. I currently teach “Systems thinking in public health: Applications of Key Methods and Approaches” (as well as an adaptation of the course on Coursera), "Organizing for Public Health: A Systems Approach", and "Systems Thinking: Concepts and Methods" at JHSPH. I also lead the systems thinking component of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control's Scholars Program.  
Honors & Awards
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – Title VIII Short Term Fellowship: Eastern European Studies – 2014Johns Hopkins Lipitz Policy Fund Public Health Policy Pilot Award – 2011Albion College Top 10 in 2010 Young Alumni Award – 2010Johns Hopkins School of Public Health - Health Systems Award – 2010USAID Global Health Bureau Exemplary Achievement – 2009Albert Schweitzer Baltimore Fellowship – 2007-2008 Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Departmental Scholarship – 2006-2008John Snow Inc. Award in International Health – 2006President Bernard T. Lomas Project 250 Leadership Award – 2002 & 2003Albion College Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Summer Research Grant – 2004Albion College Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute Member – 2001-2005Albion College Presidential Scholarship Recipient – 2001-2005 
Select Publications
Selected publications
  • Paina L, Bennett S, Ssengooba F, Peters D. Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: exploring dual practice and its management in Kampala, Uganda Health Res Policy Syst. 2014 Aug 18;12(1):41
  • Bishai D, Paina L, Li Q, Peters D, Hyder A. Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: Why cure crowds out prevention – a systems dynamics model. Health Res Policy Syst. 2014 Jun 16;12(1):28.
  • Paina L, Ssengooba F, Waswa D, M'imunya JM, Bennett S. How does investment in research training affect the development of research networks and collaborations? Health Res Policy Syst. 2013 May 20;11:18.
  • Paina L, Peters DH. Understanding pathways for scaling up health services through the lens of complex adaptive systems. Health Policy Plan. 2012 Aug;27(5):365-73.
  • Paina L, Baker TD. Reverse foreign aid to Maryland revisited. Md Med. 2007 Summer;8(3):7-9.
Project SOAR
African Health Diagnostics Platform (AHDP)
Political economy analysis of sub-national health management in Eastern and Southern Africa