Amanda Folsom is a recognized global leader in health financing and collaborative learning methods. She has 20 years of experience working in public sector and non-profit organizations to improve health for the poor and vulnerable in Africa, Asia and the United States.
Ms. Folsom is a senior program director at Results for Development (R4D), where she leads the organization’s collaborative learning practice and a portfolio of programs that support policymakers and government leaders to design and implement reforms to increase the equity, quality and efficiency of their health systems. She focuses on how to translate knowledge into action, adapt innovations across contexts and improve government stewardship of mixed (public/private) systems, particularly through health financing mechanisms.
Ms. Folsom currently leads the network facilitation and coordination of the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN). The JLN is a platform for practitioner-to-practitioner learning and knowledge co-production between countries implementing complex health systems reforms aimed at achieving universal health coverage (UHC). She also oversees health financing technical assistance programs supporting the governments of Nigeria on its path to UHC.
Throughout her career, Ms. Folsom has focused on expanding coverage and improving the health of low-income populations around the globe, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. During her years at R4D, she has facilitated the implementation and scale up of the JLN, growing from a network of six countries to 30 countries actively learning together. She also led the health financing technical program of the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health, R4D’s first collaborative learning network that supported the development of leadership and management capacity of Ministries of Health in Ethiopia, Mali, Nepal, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
Ms. Folsom also led recent efforts to shape and facilitate the USAID Africa Bureau’s learning program to increase health financing knowledge and expertise among staff in the agency. Early at R4D, she co-led the development of a foundational paper on mixed (public/private) health systems, analyzing lessons from the complex mixed health system in the U.S. that could be applied to low and middle-income country contexts (Improving Stewardship of Mixed Health Systems, Brookings Institution, March 2010).
Prior to joining R4D in 2009, Ms. Folsom’s work primarily focused on improving health financing and coverage of the poor and vulnerable in the United States. She served as a senior manager at AcademyHealth, where she led a comparative international health system program to generate lessons for U.S. health reform and a quality-based purchasing learning network of state Medicaid programs and large employers. She also worked for the state of Maryland, where she led high-priority policy and data analysis for Medicaid, the major government health financing program for the poor and disabled. She started her career in health systems as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in a rural primary care center in Burkina Faso.
Ms. Folsom is a member of Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on Evidence to Action, where she is working to increase the effectiveness of methods to engage government practitioners as evidence users. She is also a member of AcademyHealth and its Global Health Interest Group. She participates in the Harmonizing for Health in Africa Communities of Practice and the WHO Global Learning Lab for Quality UHC.
Ms. Folsom holds an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in English from the University of Virginia. She is a native speaker of English and is fluent in French.