James G. Kahn, MD, MPH

Professor in Residence, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (DEB) School of Medicine

Dr. Kahn is a Professor of Health Policy and Epidemiology at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Global Health Sciences, all at UCSF. Dr. Kahn is an expert in policy modeling in health care, cost-effectiveness analysis, and evidence-based medicine. His work focuses on the use of cost-effectiveness analysis to inform decision-making in public health and medicine.

He is particularly interested in the cost effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment in resource-constrained global health settings. He has also evaluated interventions for malaria, diarrhea, gestational diabetes, congenital syphilis, pregnancy prevention, and orthopedic devices.

Dr. Kahn has served as consultant to WHO, PEPFAR, IOM and the World Bank on this topic. Dr Kahn’s research has been in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa), Russia, India and Mexico. Funding for his research projects has been awarded by the CDC, NIH, WHO, the Gates Foundation, the Axios Foundation, Novo Nordisk, and Vestergaard Frandsen.

Dr. Kahn is also interested in U.S. health care financing, in particular the administrative costs of insurance and billing, as well as single payer health care reform. He is the past President of California Physicians for a National Health Program.

Dr. Kahn is the lead instructor in global health economics and cost-effectiveness analysis at UCSF. He has participated in two National Academies of Science / Institute of Medicine studies.

Dr. Kahn’s current major projects are listed below.


Marseille EA, Hofmann PB, Kahn JG. HIV Prevention Should Be Funded Before HAART in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet 2002;359:1851-56.

Kahn JG, Marseille E, Auvert B. Cost-effectiveness of male circumcision for HIV prevention in a South African setting. PLoS Med 2006 3(12): e517. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030517

Marseille EA, Dandona L, Marshall N, et al. [Kahn JG last] HIV Prevention Costs and Program Scale: Data from the PANCEA Project in Five Low and Middle-Income Countries. BMC Health Serv Res. 2007 Jul 12;7:108.

Kahn JG, Marseille E, Moore D, Bunnell R, Were W, Degerman R, Tappero JW, Ekwaru P, Kaharuza F, Mermin J. CD4 cell count and viral load monitoring in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy in Uganda: cost effectiveness study. BMJ. 2011 Nov 9;343:d6884.

Granich R, Kahn JG et al (19 authors). Expanding ART for Treatment and Prevention of HIV in South Africa: Estimated Cost and Cost-Effectiveness 2011-2050, PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30216.

Kahn JG, Muraguri N, Harris B, et al. Integrated HIV Testing, Malaria, and Diarrhea Prevention Campaign in Kenya: Modeled Health Impact and Cost-effectiveness. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31316.

Selected Projects: 

Global Health Intervention Review. In Phase 1, Dr. Kahn and team reviewed the efficacy of 150 prevention and treatment interventions for 8 diseases, posted as part of the Kaiser Family Foundation global health portal. In Phase 2, Dr. Kahn and team received NIH funding for a project entitled, “Global Health Comparative Effectiveness: A Data Synthesis Method Applied to HIV”. This study is building the “Global Health Decisions” web site. This site will translate research on the health benefits of HIV prevention and treatment interventions into locally-tailored data for HIV policies and programs. Users will interactively explore intervention portfolios, with resulting estimates of health impact, cost, and cost-effectiveness.

Scale-up of Community Integrated Prevention Campaigns. IPCs include HIV testing, bed nets to prevent malaria, and water filters to prevent diarrhea. Research in western Kenya suggests efficiencies and attractive health benefits and cost-effectiveness. Dr. Kahn led a satellite session at the recent AIDS conference in Washington DC on this topic, and is coordinating a set of research papers.