Dr Jonathan Polonsky

Designation: PhD in Global Health // Senior Researcher

Jonathan is an epidemiologist with broad interests in infectious diseases and the Public Health Information Services (PHIS), a collection of informational needs that actors responding to humanitarian crises rely upon to ensure evidence- and needs-based programmes: Rapid Health Assessments, Early Warning, Alert, and Response Systems (EWARS), mortality estimation, malnutrition surveillance, vaccine campaign implementation and evaluation, and accessibility to essential health services. He holds an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences from Oxford University, a Masters degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a PhD in Global Health from the University of Geneva.

Throughout his career, Jonathan has mixed research with emergency response actvities, primarily in humanitarian settings. Before joining the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies, he worked for Epicentre, a unit of Médecins Sans Frontières that specialises in epidemiology and research, and as a specialist in humanitarian epidemiology and outbreak response for the World Health Organization. In addition to being principal investigator on numerous operational and clinical research studies, he has served as epidemiology team lead during several high-impact outbreaks (including as WHO’s COVID-19 Data Analytics Team Lead), and as Health Cluster Information Manager in multiple crisis settings. He has worked in crisis-affected settings in over a dozen countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

He regularly teaches Masters and Diploma students in humanitarian epidemiology, outbreak response, and the use of the R statistical language for public health. He also teaches workshops on scientific communication and is the co-editor-in-chief of the humanitarian health journal ‘Conflict & Health’ (Impact Factor 4.6).

At the Centre, Jonathan is course director for the Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.) course, jointly organised by ICRC and WHO. He is also a member of the PULSE survey team, the aim of which is to design and test community engagement interventions and evaluate their effect on vaccination uptake and management of vaccination programmes in humanitarian settings.