Meet the Demographic Dividend Team:
Carolina Cardona, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Carolina Cardona, Ph.D., M.H.S., is a health economist focused on understanding demographic processes and their effect on economic development. She is particularly interested in the influence of women’s sexual and reproductive health behavior on women’s roles in society and how they shape demographic transitions and economic development. To date, her work has investigated these areas in the context of developing countries from sub-Saharan Africa. Much of her research relied on data collected by the Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) project to study contraceptive dynamics using two types of longitudinal data: 1) clients of reproductive age seeking healthcare services, and 2) women of reproductive age surveyed at their household. She has also devoted much research to understanding how demographic transitions in sub-Saharan Africa can spark economic growth. She has co-developed a tool to track the efforts placed by governments in setting a favorable policy environment that could allow countries to harness a demographic dividend. She is also interested in understanding how government spending influences women’s sexual and reproductive health decisions and other population health outcomes.
She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University in 2021, with a concentration in health economics. She also holds a master’s degree in health economics from the same university during which she was a Fulbright scholar. She recently joined the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health as an Assistant Scientist and as a Research Health Economist at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.
Ian Salas, Ph.D.
Ian Salas, Ph.D., is an applied microeconomist whose work in research, teaching, and practice lies at the intersection of economics with demography, development, gender, and public health.
He joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2015 as an Assistant Scientist at the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Research Economist at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. Prior to this, he was a David E. Bell Research Fellow at the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard University.
He is currently involved in several initiatives of the Gates Institute as a Senior Technical Advisor in projects related to scaling up high-impact family planning interventions in urban poor settings in Africa and Asia, devising tools for monitoring the performance of large-scale reproductive health programs, and studying various countries’ prospects for realizing the demographic dividend. He recently taught the course on Principles of Population Change at Hopkins, and was a previous co-chair of the Demographic Dividend subcommittee of the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP).
He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 2013 from the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in development and labor economics. He has extensive expertise in estimating economic lifecycles using the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) framework, a building block in determining the strength of the demographic dividend that a developing country can reap. He has been conducting research on the economics and financing of family planning, including the causal identification of the fertility and health effects of having a weak supply chain system for contraceptives. This work has won for him the 2014 Dorothy S. Thomas Award for best dissertation paper from the Population Association of America (PAA) and the 2015 Take Stock Hero Award from the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC).
Saifuddin Ahmed, PhD, MBBS
Saifuddin Ahmed, Ph.D., M.B.B.S., is a Professor in the Department of Population and Family Reproductive Health, with a joint appointment in the Department of Biostatistics, in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ahmed has a medical background and training in demography and epidemiology with expertise in complex sampling strategies and population surveys. He has published more than 160 papers and authored several highly cited papers on family planning, maternal health, and women’s empowerment (citations 11,334; H-index-51). He has assisted the GI team in the development of the DD effort index and advised the African Development Bank on demographic dividends.
Qingfeng Li, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Qingfeng Li, Ph.D., M.H.S., is an assistant professor in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A demographer and statistician by training, he develops quantitative models to address a variety of public health issues, including maternal and child health, demographic dividend, and injuries. His methodological expertise covers big data analytics and systems science modeling.
At Hopkins, Dr. Li teaches courses on health systems research, monitoring and evaluation methods, and systems science modeling. He holds a PhD degree in Population and Health (JHU, 2013), a MHS degree in biostatistics (JHU, 2013), and a Master degree in Economics (Peking University, China, 2009).
Jean Christophe Rusatira, M.D., M.P.H.
Jean Christophe Rusatira, M.D., M.P.H., is currently pursuing his Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University focusing on population, family, and reproductive health.
He is trained as a medical doctor and earned his master’s in public health and certificate in health economics from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Over the last nine years, he has worked as a clinical practitioner, public health advocate, and researcher. He worked as a Technical Advisor and Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He led the Gates institute’s team that developed the Demographic Dividend Effort Index and co-chaired the Scientific and Demographic Dividend Subcommittees of the International Conference on Family Planning bringing together more than 4000 professionals working in the domain of family planning and population health. Previously, he worked as a clinician in different hospitals in Rwanda before joining the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to pursue his Master of Public Health as a Sommer Scholar. He is one of the first 40 awardees of the 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders recognizing his public health practice work through the Healthy People Rwanda, a local non-profit that he founded, and the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning that he co-founded. His current work focuses on promoting evidence-based public health practice, social entrepreneurship, and leadership development.
Christina Cherel, M.P.H.
Christina Cherel, M.P.H., is a Senior Program Officer with Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at BSPH where she manages communications around reproductive health research, advocacy, and programs in the Global South. Christina also serves as the Communications Chair for the International Conference on Family Planning, the largest scientific conference dedicated to family planning and reproductive health in the world. Having worked in the advocacy space for more than a decade, Christina uses her creativity and strategic instincts to develop values-based advocacy communications, campaign design, and communications strategy.
Prior to joining the Gates Institute, Christina worked at the National Women’s Health Network where she developed and implemented a program of federal legislative and regulatory advocacy focused on reducing women’s exposure to unnecessary drug and medical treatment risks. Christina has volunteered in rural Kenya developing M&E strategies to improve maternal and child health programs in the region; with Peer Health Exchange as a sexual health peer educator in Boston high schools; and at Crusaid, a London-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping poor and marginalized people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Christina is a proud graduate of Boston University, receiving both her MPH in maternal and child health and BA with honors in international relations.
Molly Moesner, B.A.
Molly Moesner, B.A. is a Program & Communications Specialist at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she designs, edits, and implements multimedia campaigns. She serves as community manager for the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) and is a producer on the ICFP LIVE Stage. She began her career working in the international human rights space in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in research and advocacy-based graphic design, press outreach, and website and social media management.