About Dr. Watkins

Dr. Watkins is an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and in the Department of Global Health. He currently leads the University of Washington site for the Disease Control Priorities Project and is affiliated with the Implementation Science Program in the Department of Global Health. He studies health system reform and policy challenges, with a particular emphasis on universal health coverage and the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in low-income countries.

His team works in three thematic areas: (1) population and economic modeling to support policy analysis, (2) integrated healthcare delivery, and (3) use of evidence in policy formulation. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Watkins teaches on global noncommunicable diseases and quantitative research methods and practices as a hospitalist at Harborview Medical Center.

Dr. Watkins received a bachelor of science from Rhodes College and a doctor of medicine from Duke University before moving to Seattle, where he completed a residency in internal medicine at the UW, an MPH through the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and a research fellowship in health economics with the Disease Control Priorities Network.

Current Projects

Disease Control Priorities Project

Dr. Watkins leads the UW site for the DCP Project, which provides recommendations for health policy in low- and middle-income countries. The DCP is engaged in synthesis of evidence, development of new economic evaluation methods, and policy translation in several African countries. This work is currently sponsored by the Trond Mohn Foundation (Bergen, Norway) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and has been supported in the past by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded the production of the Disease Control Priorities, 3rd Edition (DCP3) series.

AHA Strategically Focused Research Networks

Dr. Watkins collaborates on a range of projects sponsored by the American Heart Association that are focused on rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Uganda. He is PI of a grant that is conducting situational assessments and developing analytic tools to estimate the costs and consequences of rheumatic fever-related interventions. He is a co-investigator and the Director of Population Research on a second grant that is evaluating the impact of technology-enhanced decentralized care for rheumatic heart disease.

Hypertension Investment Case

Dr. Watkins is PI on a grant from Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative of Vital Strategies) that is developing epidemiological, demographic, and economic models and data visualization tools to help analyze and advocate for interventions that address hypertension in a range of low- and middle-income countries.

Selected Publications

Disease Control Priorities

Watkins DA, Nugent RA, Saxenian H, Yamey G, Danforth K, et al. Intersectoral policy priorities for health. Chapter 2. In: Jamison DT, Gelband H, Horton S, Jha P, Laxminarayan R, Mock CN, Nugent R, eds. Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition, Volume 9. 2018. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi: 10.1596/978-1-4648-0527-1_ch2.

Watkins DA, Jamison DT, Mills A, Atun R, Danforth K, et al. Universal health coverage and essential packages of care. Chapter 3. In: Jamison DT, Gelband H, Horton S, Jha P, Laxminarayan R, Mock CN, Nugent R, eds. Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition, Volume 9. 2018. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi: 10.1596/978-1-4648-0527-1_ch3.

Jamison DT, Alwan A, Mock CN, Nugent R, Watkins D, et al. Universal health coverage and intersectoral action for health: findings from Disease Control Priorities, 3rd Edition. Lancet 2018; 391(10125):1108-20. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32906-9.

Watkins DA, Qi J, Kawakatsu Y, Pickersgill SJ, Horton SE, Jamison DT. Resource requirements for essential universal health coverage: A modelling study based on findings from Disease Control Priorities, 3rd Edition. Lancet Glob Health 2020; 8(6)e829-39. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30121-2.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

Watkins DA, Lubinga SJ, Mayosi BM, Babigumira JB. A cost-effectiveness tool to guide the prioritization of interventions for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease control in African nations. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016; 10(8):e0004860. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004860.

Watkins DA, Johnson CO, Colquhoun SM, Karthikeyan G, Beaton A, et al. Global, regional, and national burden of rheumatic heart disease, 1990-2015. New Engl J Med 2017;377:713-22. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1603693.

Watkins D, Beaton A, Carapetis J, Karthikeyan G, Mayosi B, et al. Rheumatic heart disease worldwide: JACC Scientific Expert Panel. J Amer Coll Cardiol 2018; 72(12):1397-1416.

Abrams J, Watkins DA, Abdullahi LH, Zuhlke LJ, Engel ME. Integrating the prevention and control of rheumatic heart disease into country health systems: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Glob Heart 2020; 15(1):62. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gh.874

Global Health and Non-Communicable Diseases

Nugent R, Barnabas R, Golovaty I, Osetinsky B, … Watkins D. Costs and cost-effectiveness of HIV/NCD integration in Africa: From theory to practice. AIDS 2018; 32(suppl 1):S83-S92. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001884.

Watkins DA, Yamey G, Schaferhoff M, Adeyi O, Alleyne G, et al. Alma-Ata at 40 Years: Reflections from the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health. Lancet 2018; 392(10156):1434-60. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32389-4.

Watkins DA, Hale J, Hutchinson B, Kataria I, Kontis V, Nugent R. Investing in noncommunicable disease risk factor control among adolescents worldwide: A modelling study. BMJ Glob Health 2019; 4:e001335. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-001335.

Watkins DA. Cardiovascular health and COVID-19: Time to reinvent our systems and rethink our research priorities. Heart (Online First: 03 November 2020). doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318323.