Our History

For over 45 years, JSI has been at the forefront of global public health. We are an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving lives through greater health, education, and socioeconomic equity for individuals and communities. Our global team of over 3,500 dedicated staff supports governments, health professionals, civil society, and community leaders in more than 40 countries. We provide technical expertise for complex, locally led public health initiatives ranging from pandemic preparedness, health information systems, and supply chains to workforce development and digital education.

Our namesake, John Snow, was the famed British physician, often hailed as a founder of modern epidemiology for his groundbreaking statistical mapping of the cholera outbreak in nineteenth-century London. By meticulously tracing infections and intensely engaging with communities, Dr. Snow pinpointed a contaminated water pump on Broad Street as a primary source of the outbreak—long before the widespread acceptance of germ theory. At JSI, we continue to embody Dr. Snow’s spirit of inquiry through our commitment to community insights, reliance on data-driven strategies, and enthusiasm for innovative tools and ideas.

Joel Lamstein was president and CEO of JSI and JSI Research & Training from inception and became president of World Education in 1982. He remained in these positions until 2022. Under Mr. Lamstein’s leadership, the family of JSI organizations established its pre-eminent position in global public health as a trusted and effective partner to community-based organizations, the private sector, and government agencies.

Today, JSI stands as the merger of four organizations, each with a storied legacy and strong connection to one another: John Snow, Inc., founded by Mr. Lamstein and Norbert Hirschhorn in 1978; JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. founded in 1980; World Education, Inc., founded in 1951 by Welthy Fisher; and The Manoff Group, founded in 1967 by Richard Manoff and led by Marcia Griffiths for decades. Additionally, JSI was the sole member of the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, a collaborative initiative established in 2005 to manage secure and sustainable global supply chains for high-quality and affordable health products.

Fortified with a strategic vision honed over 45 years and an unwavering commitment to collaboration with local partners, we navigate complex systems to deliver transformative outcomes. By leveraging data and digital tools to track and anticipate evolving health behaviors and needs, JSI fosters sustainable change on a global scale.

Joel Lamstein

The president of JSI and World Education, Joel Lamstein.Joel Lamstein founded John Snow, Inc. with Norbert Hirschhorn, M.D. in 1978. He was the president of JSI and the nonprofit JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. through 2021. Joel was also president of World Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people experiencing poverty through education, economic, and social development programs. 

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Joel worked at IBM before attending the MIT Sloan School of Management. In 1973, he co-founded Management Sciences for Health. Joel was an adjunct senior lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. 


Key Moments in JSI History


Joel Lamstein and Norbert Hirschhorn founded John Snow, Inc. and launched its first project with the U.S. federal Title X Family Planning Data Systems to provide and support affordable, comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. This work continues to be a cornerstone of our domestic portfolio known as the Health Services Division.


Mr. Lamstein founded JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI R&T) as a sister organization to John Snow, Inc. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded JSI R&T its first international project, the Tanzania School Health Project, to integrate health into the curriculum in 800 primary schools. Since then, we have implemented over 300 USAID bilateral and centrally funded projects.


World Education affiliated with John Snow, Inc. and Joel Lamstein became its president. World Education was founded in 1951 in Lucknow, India by Welthy Fisher at the request of Mahatma Gandhi to train community members in literacy and agricultural management. World Education remains committed to that initial vision to improve lives through education.


The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau granted us the technical assistance portion of the Ryan White Care Act—work that we continue to support at the national and state levels.


JSI worked in Ethiopia for the first time, on USAID’s Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival project as part of a consortium called the Partnership for Child Health, which included JSI, Management Sciences for Health, and the Academy for Educational Development (now FHI 360).


World Education launched the Girls’ Access to Education approach, with a literacy curriculum to empower adolescent health and girls with literacy training. For 20 years, the approach evolved and was replicated in other countries, serving over 120,000 out-of-school adolescent girls in Nepal alone.


JSI partnered with MSH to create the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), which won the Supply Chain Management System established by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for the care and treatment of people living with or affected by HIV. From 2005 to 2017, PFSCM procured and distributed more than $2.8 billion (18,500 deliveries) of health products to 66 countries. PFSCM remains JSI’s close and important affiliate.


JSI launched the USAID l DELIVER PROJECT to strengthen the supply chains that health systems depend on. From 2006 to 2017, JSI delivered technical assistance to 65 countries and medicines and health supplies to 114 countries.


JSI launched the Reimagining Technical Assistance (RTA) initiative at the request of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, developing a framework for the critical shifts needed to move to a more country-driven, equitable, and effective international development system. RTA is a foundational pillar of our work.


JSI swiftly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and had a pivotal role in U.S. government COVID-19 assistance around the world. In Zambia alone, JSI’s USAID DISCOVER-Health project received over $60 million to support the COVID-19 response.


At the end of the year, Mr. Lamstein retired as president and CEO. Margaret Crotty was appointed as the first president and CEO of the JSI family of organizations since its founding and took up her post the following year.


After a long and robust affiliation, JSI acquired The Manoff Group, a global leader in social and behavioral change and communication work.


After a 40-year affiliation, World Education formally merged with JSI. This merger expanded our geographic coverage, technical expertise, and local relationships to deepen our influence across the public health and education sectors.


To streamline and clarify our structure, we merged the for-profit John Snow, Inc., with the nonprofit JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., now known as JSI. We are now one nonprofit organization with a large international division, a domestic division, and an education division.


JSI appointed Dr. Muka Chikuba-McLeod as executive vice-president of International Programs, our first executive leader based outside the United States. This marks a shift in the management of our international programs and reflects our commitment to country leadership in service of our mission.


JSI also announced new board members who will strengthen our forward-thinking leadership, and align with the dynamic needs of the present era.

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