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United States
Speaks English, Spanish

Expertise in health economics, epidemiology and decision science

Derek Willis' work aims to improve public health policies through the development of decision tools that link economics, epidemiology and decision science. I’m a health economist and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in decision science. My recent work is focused on developing decision frameworks, informed by historical lessons, that policy makers can use today in order to implement more effective malaria elimination strategies. A separate line of work explores how recent innovations in surveillance and vector control technologies for Aedes mosquitoes can increase the cost-effectiveness of dengue control programs in South America and the Caribbean.
Questions I can answer:
How to evaluate anti-malaria programs?
How to identifying the optimal anti-malaria program for a community?
How to evaluate the economic impact of malaria?
How to evaluate a dengue control program?
How to communicate risk related to the coronavirus pandemic?


Global Health Lead

2020 - Present (2 years, 1 month)
IVCC (Innovative Vector Control)


2017 - Present (4 years, 3 months)
Conducting a study of the economic impact of malaria on smallholder agricultural households in sub-Saharan Africa
World Bank

Senior Public Health Specialist

2019 - 2020 (6 months)
Evaluating vector control activities and surveillance systems on Sint Maarten. Providing recommendations for incorporating vector control into clearance of debris created by Hurricane Irma
University of California, San Francisco • United States


2017 - 2017 (5 months)
Developed a tool for examining the cost of collecting entomological data to inform evidence-based vector control policy decisions
Company NameIVCC (Innovative Vector Control)

Member of IVCC Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) on Combating Zika and Future Threats

2017 - 2018 (1 year, 7 months)
Reviewed work of research groups developing new larvicide, adulticide and surveillance tools for mosquitoes that transmit Zika. Worked with research groups to analyze the cost-effectiveness of their interventions / surveillance tools.
Columbia University

Earth Institute Research Fellow

2010 - 2013 (2 years, 9 months)
Researched how tools from decision science can inform anti-malaria strategies. Developed a web-based tool to enable malaria policy makers to inform their decision making with historical data
Columbia University • United States

Research Affiliate

2010 - 2017 (7 years, 4 months)
As an Earth Institute Fellow, I worked with both the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). His work with CRED was focused on the development of a web-based tool for visualizing policy-relevant malaria data. The historical dataset he developed for this tool included data for approximately 80 countries from the early 1900s through 2015. His work with IRI analyzed the impact of temperature and precipitation on malaria transmission
World Health Organization • United States

Participant and Trainer in International Course on Malaria and Planning its Control

2002 - 2002 (1 month)
Participant and trainer in WHO course on designing and implementing anti-malaria programs. Course designed primarily for officials from national malaria control programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Coursework included epidemiology, entomology, parasitology, economics and case management

PhD, Science, Technology and Environmental Policy

Princeton University

2003 - 2010
Dissertation developed an algorithm for identifying the most appropriate evidenced-based vector control strategy to implement in a community based on the community's ecology and available resources
MPA/ID, International Development

Harvard University

2000 - 2002
Coursework included PhD-level courses courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics as well as courses focused on history of economic development (taught by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs), management, governance and program evaluation. During the second year of the program, I took courses at the Harvard School of Public Health on the following topics: malariology, entomology, environmental health and economic evaluation methods for public health interventions. His Masters Thesis was titled 'Maximizing the Health Benefit of Public Funds for Malaria Control in Tanzania' and my thesis adivsor was Prof. Andrew Spielman (Harvard School of Public Health)
Bachelor of Business Administration, International Business

University of Georgia

1993 - 1997