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Center for Southeast Asian Studies pres.

CSEAS Lecture Series. Becoming Brokers: Explaining Thailand’s Growing Brand in Global Health

Joseph Harris, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Boston University

In areas ranging from universal healthcare to HIV prevention and access to medicine to health technology assessment and tobacco control, Thailand’s public health programs have come to be regarded as a model for the industrializing world. How is it that a resource-constrained nation on the global periphery has produced model policies that are critical to public health and human life so consistently amid such political turmoil? What has led these policies to travel abroad? And more generally, how has a small nation in Southeast Asia exercised such outsized influence in international affairs? Drawing on Fulbright-funded research with policymakers in Thailand and Geneva, this project examines the roots of Thailand’s surprising success.

Dr. Joseph Harris is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University and conducts comparative and historical research that lies at the intersection of sociology, public policy, and global health. He is the author of Achieving Access: Professional Movements and the Politics of Health Universalism (Cornell University Press, 2017). Dr. Harris has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, most recently as Specialist on the Political Economy of Healthcare Reform for the Japan-World Bank Project on Universal Coverage. He is a past recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award and the Henry Luce Scholarship and holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He received his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as Lecturer at the University of Chicago’s School of Public Policy Studies before joining the faculty at BU. In 2017, Dr. Harris received the Gitner Award for Distinguished Teaching and a Fulbright Scholarship for a project that explores the diffusion of Thailand’s model public health policies abroad. He serves as Associate Editor at Social Science and Medicine.

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