Emma Thomas

Photo of Emma Thomas
Associate Statistician
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in biostatistics, Harvard University


Emma Thomas received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in May, 2020 and joined RAND in August, 2020. During her doctoral studies, she developed high-dimensional Bayesian regression methods to study the effects of air pollution on large numbers of health outcomes and created software to implement these methods. She also designed and implemented a novel approach to study gender disparities in authorship of medical journal articles. Prior to arriving in the U.S., Emma received a master’s in statistics from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and worked as an applied statistician on topics including the health of justice-involved populations, influenza surveillance, and clinical trials for neonatal sepsis. Thomas’ broader methodological interests include Bayesian methods, studying infectious diseases using imperfect screening tests, infectious disease modelling, survival analysis, and trajectory analysis.

Recent Projects

  • Using social media to 'nowcast' migration around the globe
  • Advance Care Planning among Older Adult Sexual Minority Men

Selected Publications

Thomas EG, Trippa L, Parmigiani G, Dominici F, "Estimating the Effects of Fine Particulate Matter on 432 Cardiovascular Diseases Using Multi-Outcome Regression with Tree-Structured Shrinkage," Journal of the American Statistical Association, 2020

Thomas EG, Jayabalasingham B, Collins T, Geertzen J, Bui C, Dominici F, "Gender disparities in invited commentary authorship in 2,459 medical journals," JAMA Network Open, 2019

Thomas EG, Peskoe SB, Spiegelman D, "Prevalence estimation when disease status is verified only among test positives: applications in HIV screening programs," Statistics in Medicine

Borschmann, R., Thomas, E., Moran, P., Carroll, M., Heffernan, E., Spittal, M.J., Sutherland, G., Alati, R., Kinner, S.A, "Self-harm following release from prison: a prospective data linkage study," Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

Thomas, E. G., Spittal, M.J., Heffernan, E.B., Taxman, F. S., Alati, R., Kinner, S.A., "Trajectories of psychological distress after prison release: implications for mental health service need among ex-prisoners," Psychological Medicine

Thomas EG, Spittal MJ, Taxman FS, Kinner, SA, "Health-related factors predict return to custody in a cohort of ex-prisoners: new approaches to predicting re-incarceration," Psychological Medicine

Thomas, E. G., McCaw, J. M., Kelly, H. A., Grant, K. A., McVernon, J, "Quantifying differences in the epidemic curves from three influenza surveillance systems," Epidemiology & Infection

Thomas, E. G., Barrington, H. E., Lokuge, K. M., & Mercer, G. N, "Modelling the spread of tuberculosis, including drug resistance and HIV: a case study in Papua New Guinea's Western Province," The ANZIAM Journal

Honors & Awards

  • Barry R. and Irene Tilenius Bloom Fellowship, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Maurice Belz Scholarship in Statistics, University of Melbourne
  • National Undergraduate Scholarship