To have an effect that matches the scale of challenges affecting entire institutions or countries, one must create and empower a coordinated team effort. James Thomas has led diverse teams – ranging from an organization providing services to men released from prison in a local community of North Carolina, to a project improving public health systems in more than 40 developing countries at a time.

Leadership Positions

As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Thomas developed a program in public health ethics.

As president of Africa Rising, Dr. Thomas led staff and volunteers in a new approach to facilitate the growth of community-based organizations in East Africa. 

As Director of the MEASURE Evaluation project, Dr. Thomas leads a team with global prominence and impact to build and improve public health information systems in low-to-middle income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Social Entrepreneurialism 

To lessen the net impact of international jet travel on the environment, Dr. Thomas worked with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, conceiving and creating a carbon offset program that uses carbon offset donations to improve the home energy efficiency of low-income families. 

To enable African-founded community-based organizations to build each other's capacity, Dr. Thomas was the founder and president of Africa Rising

To provide services to families affected by incarceration in Durham, NC, Dr. Thomas was the co-founder of Antioch Builds Community

In the media



Dr. Thomas answering media questions about the MEASURE Evaluation project at UNC-Chapel Hill, with Chancellor Carol Folt at center.

“As a founding board member of Antioch Builds Community, I joined with an African-American church to provide services to formerly incarcerated men in Durham, NC.”