Post-graduate researcher, Senior Analyst (GridSample Project)
The emphasis of Dana Thomson’s research is identification of populations who are under-represented in large-scale household surveys, and development of tools and methods to improve survey accuracy.
This work is particularly relevant in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where routine household surveys are used to evaluate policies, and track international targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Household survey methods were established in the early 1980s, but have not changed much in LMICs since. As a result, new tools and methods are needed to address decay in survey accuracy due to major societal shifts that have modified household configuration and behaviours over the last four decades including urbanization and increased mobility.
Dana created the GridSample R algorithm and GridSample.org to select complex representative household surveys from gridded population data. Gridded population datasets, such as worldpop.org.uk, are models of the population in small grid squares (as small as a city block, ~100m x100m) and provide an alternative sample frame when census data are outdated or inaccurate.
Dana worked previously as a Researcher at Harvard Medical School supporting large-scale health system evaluations in Rwanda, Haiti, Mali, and other countries. For two years, she was seconded to the University of Rwanda where she lectured and contributed to research capacity-building under the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Human Resources for Health programme. During that time, she supported first-time first-authors to publish original research in international peer-reviewed journals, co-organized intensive practice-based workshops, and created an online course at www.populationsurveyanalysis.com.
Personal webpage link: http://danathomson.com