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Matthew Harris

2014–15 Harkness Fellow Academic Clinical Lecturer in Public Health Department of Primary Care and Public Health Imperial College London

Harkness Project Title: Reverse Innovation—How to Unlock the Creative Potential of Developing Countries to Benefit Developed Country Health Systems

Mentor: James Macinko, Ph.D. (New York University)

Co-Mentor: Donald Goldmann, M.D. (Institute for Healthcare Improvement)

Placement: New York University Global Institute of Public Health

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Matthew Harris, M.B.B.S., D.Phil., M.Sc., a 2014–15 U.K. Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, is a public health specialist and honorary clinical senior lecturer in public health at Imperial College London. He is an associate editor for BMC Family Practice and the International Journal of Integrated Care. He has extensive experience in global health and has formerly held positions as a global health advisor to the U.K. Department of Health, as a WHO consultant in Ethiopia, as an HIV technical advisor in Mozambique, and as a family physician in Brazil. His research also covers integrated care and primary care, and he has published over 30 articles in journals such as BMJ and the International Journal of Integrated Care. He earned his D.Phil. from Oxford University on the subject of strategic planning in international nonprofit development organizations.

Project: Dr. Harris aims to examine the emerging phenomenon of reverse innovation—where developed country health systems adopt innovations that have arisen from developing countries. Using a mixed methods approach, he will explore the attitudes and perceptions of policymakers, general practitioners, academics, and nonprofit organizations to the evidence base for developing reverse innovations and to learning from resource-poor countries. Matt’s research will have three approaches: he will conduct in-depth interviews with leading innovation experts, policymakers, health care administrators and grant-giving organizations; he will conduct a detailed case study of an actual Reverse Innovation project in East Harlem; and he will develop a survey to quantitatively measure the presence and impact of cognitive biases in evidence interpretation among health care workers, researchers, and students. Matt will compare the Reverse Innovation process in health care with other industries, such as education and social care. Combined this will serve to generate evidence and hypotheses regarding the enablers and barriers to Reverse Innovation in the U.S. health care context and inform an important policy debate around whether and how developed countries can draw on developing country innovations.

Career Activity since Fellowship: 

  • Senior Policy Fellow in Public Health, Institute of Global Health Innovation – Imperial College London, 2015 – 2016

Current Position: Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Imperial College London (updated 04/2017)

Email: [email protected]

Harkness-Related Publications:


M.J. Harris, E. Weisberger E, D. Silver, J. Macinko. “They hear "Africa" and they think that there can't be any good services' - perceived context in cross-national learning: a qualitative study of the barriers to Reverse Innovation,” Globalization and Health. 2015.


J. Macinko and M.J. Harris. “Brazil's Family Health Strategy — Delivering Community-Based Primary Care in a Universal Health System,” New England Journal of Medicine. 2015.

M.J. Harris, “Research papers should omit their authors’ affiliations,” BMJ. 2014. 

M.J. Harris, C.P. Burgess, D.S. Kringos. "Hope for US health care despite strong headwinds," Br J Gen Pract. 2015.