Community-based organizations (CBOs) are important stakeholders in health systems and are increasingly called upon to use research evidence to inform their advocacy, program planning, and service delivery efforts. CBOs increasingly turn to community-based research (CBR) given its participatory focus and emphasis on linking research to action. In order to further facilitate the use of research evidence by CBOs, we have developed a strategy for community-based knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) that helps CBOs more effectively link research evidence to action. We developed the strategy by: outlining the primary characteristics of CBOs and why they are important stakeholders in health systems; describing the concepts and methods for CBR and for KTE; comparing the efforts of CBR to link research evidence to action to those discussed in the KTE literature; and using the comparison to develop a framework for community-based KTE that builds on both the strengths of CBR and existing KTE frameworks.
We find that CBR is particularly effective at fostering a climate for using research evidence and producing research evidence relevant to CBOs through community participation. However, CBOs are not always as engaged in activities to link research evidence to action on a larger scale or to evaluate these efforts. Therefore, our strategy for community-based KTE focuses on: an expanded model of 'linkage and exchange' (i.e., producers and users of researchers engaging in a process of asking and answering questions together); a greater emphasis on both producing and disseminating systematic reviews that address topics of interest to CBOs; developing a large-scale evidence service consisting of both 'push' efforts and efforts to facilitate 'pull' that highlight actionable messages from community relevant systematic reviews in a user-friendly way; and rigorous evaluations of efforts for linking research evidence to action.
Through this type of strategy, use of research evidence for CBO advocacy, program planning, and service delivery efforts can be better facilitated and continually refined through ongoing evaluations of its impact.
Community-based organizations (CBOs) are important stakeholders in health systems and are increasingly called upon to use research evidence to inform their advocacy, program planning, and service delivery. To better support CBOs to find and use research evidence, we sought to assess the capacity of CBOs in the HIV/AIDS sector to acquire, assess, adapt, and apply research evidence in their work.
We invited executive directors of HIV/AIDS CBOs in Ontario, Canada (n = 51) to complete the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation's "Is Research Working for You?" survey.
Based on responses from 25 organizations that collectively provide services to approximately 32,000 clients per year with 290 full-time equivalent staff, we found organizational capacity to acquire, assess, adapt, and apply research evidence to be low. CBO strengths include supporting a culture that rewards flexibility and quality improvement, exchanging information within their organization, and ensuring that their decision-making processes have a place for research. However, CBO Executive Directors indicated that they lacked the skills, time, resources, incentives, and links with experts to acquire research, assess its quality and reliability, and summarize it in a user-friendly way.
Given the limited capacity to find and use research evidence, we recommend a capacity-building strategy for HIV/AIDS CBOs that focuses on providing the tools, resources, and skills needed to more consistently acquire, assess, adapt, and apply research evidence. Such a strategy may be appropriate in other sectors and jurisdictions as well given that CBO Executive Directors in the HIV/AIDS sector in Ontario report low capacity despite being in the enviable position of having stable government infrastructure in place to support them, benefiting from long-standing investment in capacity building, and being part of an active provincial network. CBOs in other sectors and jurisdictions that have fewer supports may have comparable or lower capacity. Future research should examine a larger sample of CBO Executive Directors from a range of sectors and jurisdictions.
The Institute of Medicine has issued numerous reports calling for the public health workforce to be adept in policy-making, communication, science translation, and other advocacy skills. Public health competencies include advocacy capabilities, but few public health graduate institutions provide systematic training for translating public health science into policy action. Specialized health-advocacy training is needed to provide future leaders with policy-making knowledge and skills in generating public support, policy-maker communications, and policy campaign operations that could lead to improvements in the outcomes of public health initiatives. Advocacy training should draw on nonprofit and government practitioners who have a range of advocacy experiences and skills. This article describes a potential model curriculum for introductory health-advocacy theory and skills based on the course, Health Advocacy, a winner of the Delta Omega Innovative Public Health Curriculum Award, at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Advocacy is an integral part of a paediatrician’s role. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has identified advocacy as one of the essential Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists competencies, and participation in child advocacy work as an important component of paediatric residency training. The objective of the present paper was to describe the development, implementation and evaluation of the first four years of the child advocacy initiative at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario).
Ideas for community child advocacy projects were generated through a literature review, and a link to a local elementary school was identified. Teacher and parent focus groups were conducted to identify areas for resident involvement. Workshops were then developed, implemented and evaluated by paediatric residents.
Six child advocacy projects between 2001 and 2004 were conducted based on results from the focus groups. These included annual clothing drives, as well as workshops for parents and children about nutrition, safety, parenting, illness management and basic first aid. More than 95% of parents reported that the workshops were useful or very useful, more than 92% felt that they learned something new and more than 83% wanted the residents to return for further workshops. Teachers and residents gave positive informal feedback.
Through the child advocacy initiative, paediatric residents had the opportunity to develop skills in advocacy, learn about the determinants of child health and become community partners in advocating for children. Such an initiative can be incorporated into the residency curriculum to help residents develop competency in advocacy.
Advocacy; Community; Medical Education; Paediatrics; Residency
Treatment advocacy (TA) programs, based in AIDS service organizations and clinics, aim to engage clients into care and support antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence through client-centered counseling; advocate for patients with providers; and provide social service referrals. Systematic evaluations of TA are lacking. We conducted a non-randomized evaluation examining relationships of TA participation to adherence, care engagement, social services utilization, unmet needs, patient self-advocacy, and adherence self-efficacy among 121 HIV-positive clients (36 in TA, 85 not in TA; 87% male, 34% African American, 31% White, 19% Latino). In multivariate models, TA participants (vs. non-TA participants) showed higher electronically monitored [85.3% vs. 70.7% of doses taken; b(SE)=13.16(5.55), p<.05] and self-reported [91.1% vs. 75.0%; b(SE)=11.60(5.65), p<.05] adherence; utilized more social service programs [Ms = 5.2 vs. 3.4; b(SE)=1.97(0.48), p<.0001]; and had fewer unmet social-service needs [Ms = 1.8 vs. 2.7; b(SE)=−1.06(0.48), p<.05]. Findings suggest the need for a randomized controlled trial of TA.
The advocacy–research partnership has been identified as a key method of conducting the feminist and activist research that is important to domestic violence. However, these partnerships are often fraught with challenges that may jeopardize their development, sustainability, and potential impact on policy. Previous commentators have identified key challenges to engaging in advocate–researcher collaborations. This article takes particular care to set forth an advocate perspective through the authors’ experience of planning and executing a collaborative study on the effects of mandatory arrest. The authors use a study that was specifically designed to affect policy to offer insight into the challenges faced and to make recommendations for successfully incorporating social action in advocacy–researcher collaborations.
domestic violence; advocate research collaborations
Since the launching of Global Initiative, VISION 2020 “the Right to Sight” many innovative, practical and unique comprehensive eye care services provision models have evolved targeting the underserved populations in different parts of the World. At places the rapid assessment of the burden of eye diseases in confined areas or utilizing the key informants for identification of eye diseases in the communities are promoted for better planning and evidence based advocacy for getting / allocation of resources for eye care. Similarly for detection and management of diabetes related blindness, retinopathy of prematurity and avoidable blindness at primary level, the major obstacles are confronted in reaching to them in a cost effective manner and then management of the identified patients accordingly. In this regard, the concept of tele-ophthalmology model sounds to be the best solution. Whereas other models on comprehensive eye care services provision have been emphasizing on surgical output through innovative scales of economy that generate income for the program and ensure its sustainability, while guaranteeing treatment of the poorest of the poor.
Diabetes-related blindness; diabetic retinopathy; key informant; rapid assessment of avoidable blindness; retinopathy of prematurity; tele-ophthalmology
In 1998, community leaders prompted members of the Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses to urge President Clinton to declare HIV/AIDS a crisis in the African American and Latino communities; their advocacy resulted in the formation of the Minority AIDS Initiative. As part of this initiative, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency funded the Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Youth and Women of Color Initiative (CSAP Initiative). The CSAP Initiative is the first major federal effort to develop community-based integrated HIV and substance abuse prevention approaches targeting racial/ethnic populations that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. This article describes the current state of HIV prevention research involving racial/ethnic minority populations and the current status of the CSAP Initiative. The data collected through the CSAP Initiative, implemented by 47 community organizations, will help to fill the existing knowledge gap about how to best prevent HIV in these communities. This data collection effort is an unparalleled opportunity to learn about risk and protective factors, including contextual factors, that are critical to the prevention of HIV/AIDS in African American, Latino, and other racial/ethnic minority communities but that are often not investigated.
The Brown University AIDS Program and the Rhode Island Department of Health joined with health care practitioners, researchers, and representatives of community-based health, social service, and advocacy organizations to create comprehensive guidelines on nonoccupational HIV postexposure prophylaxis for the state of Rhode Island. These guidelines offer health care practitioners detailed advice on the evaluation and management of blood or body fluid exposures outside the health care setting, e.g., through sexual assault, consensual sex, injecting-drug use, or needlestick injuries. In these circumstances, HIV postexposure prophylaxis serves those for whom primary prevention measures have failed or were impractical or impossible. The guidelines represent the end product of coordination among private and public, academic and nonacademic, clinician and layperson groups committed to decreasing the incidence of HIV infections in the state of Rhode Island. The guidelines serve as both a resource for health care practitioners and a means of educating them on this method of HIV prevention.
Purpose: Evidence-based consumer information is a prerequisite for informed decision making. So far, there are no reports on the quality of consumer information brochures on osteoporosis. In the present study we analysed brochures on osteoporosis available in Germany.
Method: All printed brochures from patient and consumer advocacy groups, physician and governmental organisations, health insurances, and pharmaceutical companies were initially collected in 2001, and updated in December 2004. Brochures were analysed by two independent researchers using 37 internationally proposed criteria addressing evidence-based content, risk communication, transparency of the development process, and layout and design.
Results: A total of 165 brochures were identified; 59 were included as they specifically targeted osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Most brochures were provided by pharmaceutical companies (n=25), followed by health insurances (n=11) and patient and consumer advocacy groups (n=11). Quality of brochures did not differ between providers. Only 1 brochure presented lifetime risk estimate; 4 mentioned natural course of osteoporosis. A balanced report on benefit versus lack of benefit was presented in 2 brochures and on benefit versus adverse effects in 8 brochures. Four brochures mentioned relative risk reduction, 1 reported absolute risk reduction through hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Out of 28 brochures accessed in 2004 10 still recommended HRT without discussing adverse effects. Transparency of the development process was limited: 25 brochures reported publication date, 26 cited author and only 1 references. In contrast, readability and design was generally good.
Conclusion: The quality of consumer brochures on osteoporosis in Germany is utterly inadequate. They fail to give evidence-based data on diagnosis and treatment options. Therefore, the material is not useful to enhance informed consumer choice.
pamphlets; osteoporosis/prevention and control; decision making; evidence-based medicine
The effectiveness of eye care service delivery is often dependant on how the different stakeholders are aligned. These stakeholders range from the ministries of health who have the capacity to grant government subsidies for eye care, down to the primary healthcare workers who can be enrolled to screen for basic eye diseases. Advocacy is a tool that can help service providers draw the attention of key stakeholders to a particular area of concern. By enlisting the support, endorsement and participation of a wider circle of players, advocacy can help to improve the penetration and effectiveness of the services provided. There are several factors in the external environmental that influence the eye care services – such as the availability of trained manpower, supply of eye care consumables, government rules and regulations. There are several instances where successful advocacy has helped to create an enabling environment for eye care service delivery. Providing eye care services in developing countries requires the support – either for direct patient care or for support services such as producing trained manpower or for research and dissemination. Such support, in the form of financial or other resources, can be garnered through advocacy.
Advocacy; effective service delivery; enabling environment; stakeholders; resources
Under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Outcome Project, residency programs are required to provide data on educational outcomes and evidence for how this information is used to improve resident education.
To teach and assess systems-based practice through a course in health care policy, finance, and law for radiation oncology residents, and to determine its efficacy.
Methods and Materials
We designed a pilot course in health care policy, finance, and law related to radiation oncology. Invited experts gave lectures on policy issues important to radiation oncology and half of the participants attended the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology (ASTRO) Advocacy Day. Participants completed pre- and postcourse tests to assess their knowledge of health policy.
Six radiation oncology residents participated, with 5 (84%) completing all components. For the 5 residents completing all assessments, the mean precourse score was 64% and the mean postcourse score was 84% (P = .05). Improvement was noted in all 3 sections of health policy, finance, and medical law. At the end of the course, 5 of 6 residents were motivated to learn about health policy, and 4 of 6 agreed it was important for physicians to be involved in policy matters.
Teaching radiation oncology residents systems-based practice through a course on health policy, finance, and law is feasible and was well received. Such a course can help teaching programs comply with the ACGME Outcome Project and would also be applicable to trainees in other specialties.
A key element in the identity of professional psychologists is their commitment to base practice on the best knowledge available about a problem being tackled. Although administrative data (e.g., records of provider billing and procedures) can often shed light on the dark areas of the complex U.S. health care system, psychologists make notably little use of them. Experience teaches that decisions must often be made despite the absence of “gold standard” knowledge from the well-designed, controlled studies learned in graduate school. Increased involvement of psychologists in work using administrative data can improve service provision but requires that psychologists adopt unaccustomed approaches to research. The authors discuss administrative data's strengths and limitations, recent progress made in using them, how psychologists can acquire and use low-cost information from administrative data, and examples of questions that can be answered.
health services; Medicaid; Medicare; insurance; evaluation
Few curricula train medical students to engage in health system reform.
To develop physician activists by teaching medical students the skills necessary to advocate for socially equitable health policies in the U.S. health system.
Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.
We designed a 1-month curriculum in research-based health activism to develop physician activists. The annual curriculum includes a student project and 4 course sections; health policy, research methods, advocacy, and physician activists as role models; taught by core faculty and volunteers from academic institutions, government, and nongovernmental organizations.
From 2002 to 2005, 47 students from across the country have participated. Students reported improved capabilities to generate a research question, design a research proposal, and create an advocacy plan.
Our curriculum demonstrates a model for training physician activists to engage in health systems reform.
medical education; professionalism; health care reform; curriculum evaluation
With tension between the demand for health services and the cost of providing them, rationing is increasingly evident in all medical systems. Until recently, rationing was primarily through the ability to pay or achieved implicitly by doctors working within fixed budgets. Such forms of rationing are commonly alleged to be inequitable and inefficient and explicit rationing is advocated as more appropriate. Utilisation management in the United States and quasi-markets separating purchasing from provision in the United Kingdom are seen as ways of using resources more efficiently and are increasingly explicit. There is also advocacy to ration explicitly at the point of service. Mechanic reviews the implications of these developments and explains why explicit approaches are likely to focus conflict and dissatisfaction and be politically unstable. Explicit rationing is unlikely to be as equitable as its proponents argue and is likely to make dissatisfaction and perceived deprivation more salient. Despite its limitations, implicit rationing at the point of service is more sensitive to the complexity of medical decisions and the needs and personal and cultural preferences of patients. All systems use a mix of rationing devices, but the clinical allocation of services should substantially depend on the discretion of professionals informed by practice guidelines, outcomes research, and other informational aids.
The research studied the status of hospital librarians and library services to better inform the Medical Library Association's advocacy activities.
The Vital Pathways Survey Subcommittee of the Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians distributed a web-based survey to hospital librarians and academic health sciences library directors. The survey results were compared to data collected in a 1989 survey of hospital libraries by the American Hospital Association in order to identify any trends in hospital libraries, roles of librarians, and library services. A web-based hospital library report form based on the survey questions was also developed to more quickly identify changes in the status of hospital libraries on an ongoing basis.
The greatest change in library services between 1989 and 2005/06 was in the area of access to information, with 40% more of the respondents providing access to commercial online services, 100% more providing access to Internet resources, and 28% more providing training in database searching and use of information resources. Twenty-nine percent (n = 587) of the 2005/06 respondents reported a decrease in staff over the last 5 years.
Survey data support reported trends of consolidation of hospitals and hospital libraries and additions of new services. These services have likely required librarians to acquire new skills. It is hoped that future surveys will be undertaken to continue to study these trends.
Research on terminology services has resulted in development of applications and definition of standards, but has not yet led to widespread use of (standardized) terminology services in practice. Current terminology services offer functionality both for concept representation and lexical knowledge representation, hampering the possibility of combining the strengths of dedicated (concept and lexical) services. We therefore propose an extensible architecture in which concept-related and lexicon-related components are integrated and made available through a uniform interface. This interface can be extended in order to conform to existing standards, making it possible to use dedicated (third-party) components in a standardized way. As a proof of concept and a reference implementation, a SOAP-based Java implementation of the terminology service is being developed, providing wrappers for Protégé and UMLS Knowledge Source Server. Other systems, such as the Description Logic-based reasoner RACER can be easily integrated by implementation of an appropriate wrapper.
Nurses comprise the largest health professional group in terms of number, and they can be found in almost every health care setting, including homes, schools, work sites, and hospitals. To a large extent, nurses have always been aware of environmental factors when doing their job, but the definition of environmental health nursing is being expanded. Today, in addition to considering the possibility of environmental influences when taking patient health histories, evaluating symptoms, and conducting community assessments, nurses may change environmental conditions of affected individuals or populations through direct care, teaching, advocacy, and public policy initiatives. Nurses are helping patients evaluate the relative risks of various types of environmental exposures, such as lead. And they are also playing a key role in establishing a national tracking system of environmental health as well as in conducting patient research.
Population-based rates of adult vaccinations and cancer screenings are low, with less than 40% of older adults up to date with routinely recommended prevention services. Delivery rates are lower still in poor and minority communities.
During the past 10 years, Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC), a New England–based nonprofit agency, has developed a promising model for increasing community-wide delivery of prevention services. However, the SPARC model has not been tested in communities elsewhere. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention facilitated a partnership between SPARC and the Aging Services division of the Atlanta Regional Commission to evaluate the program's replicability.
SPARC coalitions involving local public health agencies, hospitals, social service organizations, and advocacy groups were established in two counties of the region, with the Atlanta Regional Commission providing regional coordination. Using the SPARC model, the coalitions planned, marketed, and implemented community-based activities to deliver adult screenings and vaccinations.
During a 3-week pilot phase, SPARC clinics were held in central Atlanta at three senior housing facilities, a local fire station, and a charter middle school, delivering 353 prevention services to 314 residents. In Fayette County, 634 people received influenza vaccinations on Election Day at SPARC clinics located near 10 polling places.
The SPARC model provides a practical framework for improving the community-wide delivery of disease prevention services. The model can galvanize local health services providers to develop successful locally tailored interventions, and the approach is applicable in communities outside of SPARC's home region.
This review explores the role of health promotion in the prevention of avoidable blindness in developing countries. Using examples from eye health and other health topics from developing countries, the review demonstrates that effective eye health promotion involves a combination of three components: health education directed at behaviour change to increase adoption of prevention behaviours and uptake of services; improvements in health services such as the strengthening of patient education and increased accessibility and acceptability; and advocacy for improved political support for blindness prevention policies. Current eye health promotion activities can benefit by drawing on experiences gained by health promotion activities in other health topics especially on the use of social research and behavioural models to understand factors determining health decision making and the appropriate choice of methods and settings. The challenge ahead is to put into practice what we know does work. An expansion of advocacy—the third and most undeveloped component of health promotion—is essential to convince governments to channel increased resources to eye health promotion and the goals of Vision 2020.
eye health; blindness; developing countries
In September 2000, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research and the American Academy of Pediatrics Center for Child Health Research sponsored a meeting of experts and knowledgeable stakeholders to identify 1) the special information needs of pediatric care and 2) health service research questions related to the use of information technology in children's health care. Technologies that support the care of children must address issues related to growth and development, children's changing physiology, and the unique diseases of children and interventions of pediatric care. Connectivity and data integration are particular concerns for child health care workers. Consumer health information needs for this population extend beyond the needs of one individual to the needs of the family. Recommendations of the attendees include rapid implementation of features in electronic health information systems that support pediatric care and involvement of child health experts in policy making, standards setting, education, and advocacy. A proposed research agenda should address both effectiveness and costs of information technology, with special consideration for the needs of children, the development and evaluation of clinical decision support in pediatric settings, understanding of the epidemiology of iatrogenic injury in childhood, supplementation of vocabulary standards with pediatrics-specific terminology, and improvement in health care access for children, using telemedicine.
This study set out to explore the views and motivations of those involved in a number of recent and current advocacy efforts (such as open science, computational provenance, and reproducible research) aimed at making science and scientific artifacts accessible to a wider audience. Using a exploratory approach, the study tested whether a consensus exists among advocates of these initiatives about the key concepts, exploring the meanings that scientists attach to the various mechanisms for sharing their work, and the social context in which this takes place. The study used a purposive sampling strategy to target scientists who have been active participants in these advocacy efforts, and an open-ended questionnaire to collect detailed opinions on the topics of reproducibility, credibility, scooping, data sharing, results sharing, and the effectiveness of the peer review process. We found evidence of a lack of agreement on the meaning of key terminology, and a lack of consensus on some of the broader goals of these advocacy efforts. These results can be explained through a closer examination of the divergent goals and approaches adopted by different advocacy efforts. We suggest that the scientific community could benefit from a broader discussion of what it means to make scientific research more accessible and how this might best be achieved.
There has been a lot of attention on the role of human resource management interventions to improve delivery of health services in low- and middle-income countries. However, studies on this subject are few due to limited research on implementation of programmes and methodological difficulties in conducting experimental studies on human resource interventions. The authors present the protocol of an evaluation of a district-level capacity-building intervention to identify the determinants of performance of health workers in managerial positions and to understand how changes (if any) are brought about.
Methods and analysis
The aim of this study is to understand how capacity building works. The authors will use realist evaluation to evaluate an intervention in Karnataka, India. The intervention is a capacity-building programme that seeks to improve management capacities of health managers at district and subdistrict levels through periodic classroom-based teaching and mentoring support at the workplace. The authors conducted interviews and reviewed literature on capacity building in health to draw out the programme theory of the intervention. Based on this, the authors formulated hypothetical pathways connecting the expected outcomes of the intervention (planning and supervision) to the inputs (contact classes and mentoring). The authors prepared a questionnaire to assess elements of the programme theory—organisational culture, self-efficacy and supervision. The authors shall conduct a survey among health managers as well as collect qualitative data through interviews with participants and non-participants selected purposively based on their planning and supervision performance. The authors will construct explanations in the form of context–mechanism–outcome configurations from the results. This will be iterative and the authors will use a realist evaluation framework to refine the explanatory theories that are based on the findings to explain and validate an improved theory on ‘what works for whom and under what conditions’.
The scope for applying realist evaluation to study human resource management interventions in health are discussed.
Despite a lot of focus on capacity building of health workforce to improve health outcomes in developing countries, there are very few studies on how capacity building brings about better performance.
Methodological difficulties and complexity of health systems impose restrictions on evaluating human resource management interventions.
Health worker practices are complex behaviours that are determined by various individual, institutional and systemic factors.
It is possible to use a theory-driven evaluation approach such as realist evaluation to understand the mechanisms through which capacity-building programmes improve (or do not improve) performance of health workers.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first application of realist evaluation to a local health system intervention (capacity building).
Instead of ‘does it work or not?’, the study seeks to understand ‘what works for whom and under what conditions’.
An external advisory board consisting of members from the fields of geriatric internal medicine, family practice geriatrics, criminal prosecution, civil law, police force, adult protective services and victims advocacy was created to advise and guide the research conducted by the Consortium for Research in Elder Self-neglect of Texas (CREST). This panel of experts performed site visits and facilitated the research through responses to biweekly facts sheets and quarterly conference calls. This paper provides the perspective of five of the board members regarding the research findings that were presented at the CREST National Conference in 2006. The discussions outline the successes of the CREST research, describe obstacles and the necessary next steps for continuance of the scientific exploration of this syndrome, and highlight the practice implications of the current and proposed research.
Human resources for rehabilitation are often a neglected component of health services strengthening and health workforce development. This may be partly related to weaknesses in the available research and evidence to inform advocacy and programmatic strategies. The objective of this study was to quantitatively describe the global situation in terms of supply of and need for human resources for health-related rehabilitation services, as a basis for strategy development of the workforce in physical and rehabilitation medicine.
Data for assessing supply of and need for rehabilitative personnel were extracted and analyzed from statistical databases maintained by the World Health Organization and other national and international health information sources. Standardized classifications were used to enhance cross-national comparability of findings.
Large differences were found across countries and regions between assessed need for services requiring health workers associated to physical and rehabilitation medicine against estimated supply of health personnel skilled in rehabilitation services. Despite greater need, low- and middle-income countries tended to report less availability of skilled health personnel, although the strength of the supply-need relationship varied across geographical and economic country groupings.
The evidence base on human resources for health-related rehabilitation services remains fragmented, the result of limited availability and use of quality, comparable data and information within and across countries. This assessment offered the first global baseline, intended to catalyze further research that can be translated into evidence to support human resources for rehabilitation policy and practice.