Linda Tawfik, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
WHO Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health
407 Rosenau Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Linda Tawfik has over 25 years of experience in global health. Her expertise encompasses population and reproductive health; maternal and child health; HIV/AIDS; TB; malaria; health systems strengthening; and implementation science. At UNC’s WHO Collaborating Center, she manages the UNICEF-UNC-North Carolina State University partnership in developing and disseminating creative data visualizations for over 135 countries for the global Countdown to 2030 initiative. Dr. Tawfik mentors students on quality health care in humanitarian settings and evidence-based implementation. She enhanced the research base for a hypertension study in North Carolina and guided remote research across 7 countries/territories in the Eastern Mediterranean to improve health care quality in extreme adversity. Dr. Tawfik previously was Director of the Knowledge Management Services Project, overseeing a 25-member team to support the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Health Bureau. She has designed, implemented, evaluated, and managed health programs, and taught in America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Dr. Tawfik has successfully worked with WHO, USAID, governments, the Asian Development Bank, and academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, and the Asian Institute of Technology.

Honors and Awards

Leadership in Innovation Award
2009, Academy for Educational Development

Teaching Interests

1. Consulting Associate Professor, 'Critical Health Issues in the U.S. and Abroad" course for undergraduates of Stanford University, January-March, 2004 –2014

3. Course Co-Director, "Aids and Development” course for Master’s degree program, George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs, Jan–April 2009.

4. Visiting Lecturer, "Monitoring and Evaluation of Reproductive Health Programs" sessions for Master's in Business degree program, Keele University, Staffordshire, England, March 1998 and March 1999.

Have conducted numerous trainings and workshops for medical doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff and communities on primary health care, quality of care, program planning/implementation/evaluation, on behalf of international organizations, governments, and non-governmental organizations.

Research Activities

1. Co-Investigator on Healthcare Quality, UNC and WHO/EMRO
Provided technical guidance, analysis, and reporting for "A Multi-country qualitative study on Healthcare Quality and Safety in Extreme Adversity" in order to use results to field test interventions in selected countries.

2. Director of Country Programs, Academy for Educational Development.
Directed cross-country research on micronutrient interventions in Cambodia, India, and Uganda for the Academy for Educational Development and host country governments. 2007- 2011.

3. Principal Investigator, Management Sciences for Health
Led qualitative and quantitative mixed-method research “Mosquitoes, Malaria, and Malarine: A Qualitative Study on Malaria Drug Use in Cambodia”with the Cambodian Ministry of Health and USAID.”

4. Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania.
Designed, implemented, and documented a behavioral surveillance study, "Patterns of Sexual Onset and Partnerships in Rural Malawi" to develop cutting edge qualitative research methodologies to assess HIV impact on sexual behavior patterns. Done in collaboration with the University of Malawi.

5. Research Team Trainer, Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania.
Trained survey teams for the "Malawi Diffusion and Innovation Project", a nationally representative quantitative study on family planning and HIV, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the University of Malawi.

6. Executive Officer, National Department of Health of Ireland
Designed national survey on hospital admission procedures and feasibility study on increased demand for hospital lab investigations to develop policy guidelines on cost-containment.

Service Activities

a. Teaching/capacity building
b. Designing, implementing, researching, monitoring and evaluating for healthcare programs on issues ranging from quality of care, to population and reproductive health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and health systems strengthening.

Practice Activities

Practice activities, focusing on the health provider side, include:
a. Building institutional and human capacity on healthcare issues
b. Providing technical guidance to universities, multi-lateral and bilateral institutions, governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities for health service provision
c. Designing, implementing, researching, monitoring and evaluating programs to improve provider quality of care and impact

Key Publications

Sex in Geneva, sex in Lilongwe, and sex in Balaka. Tawfik L, Watkins SC. (2007). Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 64(Issue 5).

Commentary: Quality Health Care in Extreme Adversity—an Action Framework. Leatherman S, Tawfik L, Jaff D (2019). International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

Costa Rica Issue Brief: USAID’s Partnership with Cost Rica Advances Family Planning. Tawfik L (2014). United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
View publication

The impact of HIV/AIDS on the health workforce in developing countries. Tawfik L, Kinoti SN (2006). The World Health Report.

Peer Promotion Programs and Social Networks in Ghana: Methods for Monitoring and Evaluating AIDS Prevention and Reproductive Health Programs among Adolescents and Young Adults, Journal of Health Communication. Wolf C, Bond K, Tawfik L. (2000). Journal of Health Communication, Vol 5(Issue 1), 61 – 80.

The Development of a Health Program for Women and Children, in Health Care in Muslim Asia. Tawfik L (1992). University Press of America.

Staff/Administrative Duties

1. Serve as core team member in UNC's WHO Collaborating Center to advance the Center's mission
2. Provide a management function for UNC’s Quality in Extreme Adversity Project, advancing learning through conceptual leadership, mentoring, and publishing of academic papers and briefs
3. Provides support for UNC's collaboration with WHO and EMRO National Quality Policy and Strategy Supplement for quality in extreme adversity
4. Serve as a reader for graduate students’ theses.


  • PhD, Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2003
  • Certificate, Consulting for Tuberculosis Control Programs, WHO Collaborating Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (Sondalo, Italy), 2003
  • MS, Healthy Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, 1983
  • BA, Anthropology, Brown University, 1979