Perspectives on how implementation science can improve global health

Degrees - Fhi 360 | September 19, 2014

By Theresa Hoke, Director, Health Services Research, FHI 360 and Rose Wilcher, Director, Research Utilization, FHI 360

What is implementation science, and what can it do for the field of global health?

Earlier this month, FHI 360 brought together over 150 public health specialists, researchers, scholars and donors in Washington, DC, for a day-long symposium to wrestle with these questions.


Pierre Barker of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement explained that implementation science begins where efficacy trials leave off. Typically, health service innovations are initially tested under carefully managed conditions, using designs like a randomized controlled trial. Once research has generated evidence of an intervention’s potential impact, the effectiveness under typical circumstances is evaluated. Implementation science serves that purpose, embracing the messy complexity of the real world, often in the context of a fragile health system. Laura Guay of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation showed how weak data management systems limit our capacity to evaluate health service effectiveness. Kate Ramsey of Columbia University discussed how culture clashes between researchers who devise innovations and providers who work at the frontline of health care delivery lead to interventions that produce unintended consequences. Implementation science confronts complexities like these, supporting the global health field in developing evidence-based implementation strategies for proven public health practices.


Read the full article, at Degrees Fhi 360.