We suggest that the optimal approach to building capacity in global mental health care will require partnerships between professional resources in high-income countries and promising health-related institutions in low- and middle-income countries. The result of these partnerships will be sustainable academic relationships that can educate a new generation of in-country primary care physicians and, eventually, specialized health professionals. Research capabilities will be an essential educational component to inform policy and practice, and to ensure careful outcome measurements of training and of intervention, prevention, and promotion strategies. The goal of these academic centers of excellence will be to develop quality, in-country clinical and research professionals, and to build a productive environment for these professionals to advance their careers locally. In sum, this article discusses human capacity building in global mental health, provides recommendations for training, and offers examples of recent initiatives. (Harv Rev Psychiatry 2012;20:47–57.)
capacity building; global mental health; psychiatry education
To slow and end the growing global burden of tobacco-related death and disease, schools of public health need to provide tobacco control education and training for public health professionals generally, and for the next generation of tobacco control professionals in low- and middle-income countries specifically. As the tobacco epidemic continues to grow, there is an increasing need for training to develop the research and intervention skills required to stem the epidemic and reduce the inevitable burden of disease and death. A wide range of educational approaches has been developed to increase tobacco control educational capacity in high-, middle-, and low-income countries, including traditional on-site classes, on-line courses, open source courseware, summer school programs, and training workshops.
This article provides a perspective on the education and training needs of tobacco control researchers around the world and reviews the strengths and weaknesses of education and training approaches currently being used in tobacco control by schools of public health. In each case, we draw on the experience of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in educating national and international audiences in tobacco control.
Low and middle-income countries suffer an ongoing deficit of trained public health workers, yet optimizing postgraduate education to best address these training needs remains a challenge. Much international public health education literature has focused on global capacity building and/or the description of innovative programmes, but less on quality and appropriateness.
The MSc in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford is a relatively new, full-time one year master's degree in international public health. The programme is intended for individuals with significant evidence of commitment to health in low and middle income countries. The intake is small, with only about 25 students each year, but they are from diverse professional and geographical backgrounds. Given the diversity of their backgrounds, we wanted to determine the extent to which student background influenced their perceptions of the quality of their learning experience and their learning outcomes. We conducted virtual or face-to-face semi-structured individual interviews with students who had graduated from the course at least one year previously. Of the 2005 to 2007 intake years, 52 of 63 graduates (83%) were interviewed. We used thematic analysis to analyze the data, then linked results to student characteristics.
The findings from the evaluation suggested that all MSc GHS graduates who spoke with us, irrespective of background, appreciated the curriculum structure drawing on the strengths of a small, diverse student group, and the contribution the programme had made to their breadth of understanding and their careers. This evaluation also demonstrated the feasibility of an educational evaluation conducted several years after programme completion and when graduates were 'in the field'. This is important in ensuring international public health programmes are relevant to the day-to-day work of public health practitioners and researchers in low and middle-income countries.
Feedback from students, when they had either resumed their positions 'in the field' or pursued further training, was useful in identifying valuable and positive aspects of the programme and also in identifying areas for further action and development by the programme's management and by individual teaching staff.
The Fogarty International Center (FIC) initiative, “International Tobacco and Health Research Capacity Building Program” represents an important step in US government funding for global tobacco control. Low‐ and middle‐income countries of the world face a rising threat to public health from the rapidly escalating epidemic of tobacco use. Many are now parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and capacity development to meet FCTC provisions. One initial grant provided through the FIC was to the Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) to support capacity building and research programmes in China, Brazil, and Mexico. The initiative's capacity building effort focused on: (1) building the evidence base for tobacco control, (2) expanding the infrastructure of each country to deliver tobacco control, and (3) developing the next generation of leaders as well as encouraging networking throughout the country and with neighbouring countries. This paper describes the approach taken and the research foci, as well some of the main outcomes and some identified challenges posed by the effort. Individual research papers are in progress to provide more in‐depth reporting of study results.
tobacco control; capacity development; tobacco control training; tobacco control research; second hand smoke; economic; youth
Research training for public health professionals is key to the future of public health and policy in Africa. A growing number of schools of public health are connected to health and socio-demographic surveillance system field sites in developing countries, in Africa and Asia in particular. Linking training programs with these sites provides important opportunities to improve training, build local research capacity, foreground local health priorities, and increase the relevance of research to local health policy.
To increase research training capacity in public health programs by providing targeted training to students and increasing the accessibility of existing data.
This report is a case study of an approach to linking public health research and training at the University of the Witwatersrand. We discuss the development of a sample training database from the Agincourt Health and Socio-demographic Surveillance System in South Africa and outline a concordant transnational intensive short course on longitudinal data analysis offered by the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Colorado-Boulder. This case study highlights ways common barriers to linking research and training can be overcome.
Results and Conclusions
This collaborative effort demonstrates that linking training to ongoing data collection can improve student research, accelerate student training, and connect students to an international network of scholars. Importantly, the approach can be adapted to other partnerships between schools of public health and longitudinal research sites.
Africa; public health training; data accessibility; research capacity; health policy
Although many global health programs focus on providing clinical care or medical education, improving clinical operations can have a significant effect on patient care delivery, especially in developing health systems without high-level operations management. Lean manufacturing techniques have been effective in decreasing emergency department (ED) length of stay, patient waiting times, numbers of patients leaving without being seen, and door-to-balloon times for ST-elevation myocardial infarction in developed health systems; but use of Lean in low to middle income countries with developing emergency medicine systems has not been well characterized.
To describe the application of Lean manufacturing techniques to improve clinical operations at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana and to identify key lessons learned to aid future global EM initiatives.
A three-week Lean improvement program focused on the hospital admissions process at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital was completed by a 14-person team in six stages: problem definition, scope of project planning, value stream mapping, root cause analysis, future state planning, and implementation planning.
The authors identified eight lessons learned during our use of Lean to optimize the operations of an ED in a global health setting: 1) the Lean process aided in building a partnership with Ghanaian colleagues; 2) obtaining and maintaining senior institutional support is necessary and challenging; 3) addressing power differences among the team to obtain feedback from all team members is critical to successful Lean analysis; 4) choosing a manageable initial project is critical to influence long-term Lean use in a new environment; 5) data intensive Lean tools can be adapted and are effective in a less resourced health system; 6) several Lean tools focused on team problem solving techniques worked well in a low resource system without modification; 7) using Lean highlighted that important changes do not require an influx of resources; 8) despite different levels of resources, root causes of system inefficiencies are often similar across health care systems, but require unique solutions appropriate to the clinical setting.
Lean manufacturing techniques can be successfully adapted for use in developing health systems. Lessons learned from this Lean project will aid future introduction of advanced operations management techniques in low to middle income countries.
Millions of dollars are invested annually under the umbrella of national health systems strengthening. Global health initiatives provide funding for low- and middle-income countries through disease-oriented programmes while maintaining that the interventions simultaneously strengthen systems. However, it is as yet unclear which, and to what extent, system-level interventions are being funded by these initiatives, nor is it clear how much funding they allocate to disease-specific activities – through conventional ‘vertical-programming’ approach. Such funding can be channelled to one or more of the health system building blocks while targeting disease(s) or explicitly to system-wide activities.
We operationalized the World Health Organization health system framework of the six building blocks to conduct a detailed assessment of Global Fund health system investments. Our application of this framework framework provides a comprehensive quantification of system-level interventions. We applied this systematically to a random subset of 52 of the 139 grants funded in Round 8 of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (totalling approximately US$1 billion).
According to the analysis, 37% (US$ 362 million) of the Global Fund Round 8 funding was allocated to health systems strengthening. Of that, 38% (US$ 139 million) was for generic system-level interventions, rather than disease-specific system support. Around 82% of health systems strengthening funding (US$ 296 million) was allocated to service delivery, human resources, and medicines & technology, and within each of these to two to three interventions. Governance, financing, and information building blocks received relatively low funding.
This study shows that a substantial portion of Global Fund’s Round 8 funds was devoted to health systems strengthening. Dramatic skewing among the health system building blocks suggests opportunities for more balanced investments with regard to governance, financing, and information system related interventions. There is also a need for agreement, by researchers, recipients, and donors, on keystone interventions that have the greatest system-level impacts for the cost-effective use of funds. Effective health system strengthening depends on inter-agency collaboration and country commitment along with concerted partnership among all the stakeholders working in the health system.
During the last decade, donor governments and international agencies have increasingly emphasized the importance of building the capacity of indigenous health care organizations as part of strengthening health systems and ensuring sustainability. In 2009, the U.S. Global Health Initiative made country ownership and capacity building keystones of U.S. health development assistance, and yet there is still a lack of consensus on how to define either of these terms, or how to implement “country owned capacity building”.
Concepts around capacity building have been well developed in the for-profit business sector, but remain less well defined in the non-profit and social sectors in low and middle-income countries. Historically, capacity building in developing countries has been externally driven, related to project implementation, and often resulted in disempowerment of local organizations rather than local ownership. Despite the expenditure of millions of dollars, there is no consensus on how to conduct capacity building, nor have there been rigorous evaluations of capacity building efforts. To shift to a new paradigm of country owned capacity building, donor assistance needs to be inclusive in the planning process and create true partnerships to conduct organizational assessments, analyze challenges to organizational success, prioritize addressing challenges, and implement appropriate activities to build new capacity in overcoming challenges. Before further investments are made, a solid evidence base should be established concerning what works and what doesn’t work to build capacity.
Country-owned capacity building is a relatively new concept that requires further theoretical exploration. Documents such as The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness detail the principles of country ownership to which partner and donor countries should commit, but do not identify the specific mechanisms to carry out these principles. More evidence as to how country-owned capacity building plays out in practice is needed to guide future interventions. The Global Health Initiative funding that is currently underway is an opportunity to collect evaluative data and establish a centralized and comprehensive evidence base that could be made available to guide future country-owned capacity building efforts.
Country ownership; Capacity building; Organizational development; Global health initiative; Paris declaration on aid effectiveness
Weaknesses in health systems contribute to a failure to improve health outcomes in developing countries, despite increased official development assistance. Changes in the demands on health systems, as well as their scope to respond, mean that the situation is likely to become more problematic in the future. Diverse global initiatives seek to strengthen health systems, but progress will require better coordination between them, use of strategies based on the best available evidence obtained especially from evaluation of large scale programs, and improved global aid architecture that supports these processes. This paper sets out the case for global leadership to support health systems investments and help ensure the synergies between vertical and horizontal programs that are essential for effective functioning of health systems. At national level, it is essential to increase capacity to manage and deliver services, situate interventions firmly within national strategies, ensure effective implementation, and co-ordinate external support with local resources. Health systems performance should be monitored, with clear lines of accountability, and reforms should build on evidence of what works in what circumstances.
The vast majority of health system capacity-building efforts have focused on enhancing medical and public health skills; less attention has been directed at developing hospital managers despite their central role in improving the functioning and quality of health-care systems.
Initial assessment and choice of intervention
Initial assessment of hospital management systems demonstrated weak functioning in several management areas. In response, we developed with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) a novel Master of Hospital Administration (MHA) program, reflecting a collaborative effort of the MoH, the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, Jimma University and Yale University. The MHA is a 2-year executive style educational program to develop a new cadre of hospital leaders, comprising 5% classroom learning and 85% executive practice.
The MHA has been implemented with 55 hospital leaders in the position of chief executive officer within the MoH, with courses taught in collaboration by faculty of the North and the South universities.
Evaluation and lessons learned
The program has enrolled two cohorts of hospital leaders and is working in more than half of the government hospitals in Ethiopia. Lessons learned include the need to: (i) balance education in applied, technical skills with more abstract thinking and problem solving, (ii) recognize the interplay between management education and policy reform, (iii) remain flexible as policy changes have direct impact on the project, (iv) be realistic about resource constraints in low-income settings, particularly information technology limitations, and (v) manage the transfer of knowledge for longer term sustainability.
Ethiopia; hospital management; Africa
While the mental health situation for most people in low and middle-income countries is unsatisfactory, there is a renewed commitment to focus attention on the mental health of populations and on the scaling up of mental health services that have the capacity to respond to mental health service needs. There is general agreement that scaling up activities must be evidence-based and that the effectiveness of such activities must be evaluated. If these requirements are to be realised it will be essential to strengthen capacity in countries to conduct rigorous monitoring and evaluation of system development projects and to demonstrate sustained benefit to populations.
The International Observatory on Mental Health Systems (IOMHS) will build capacity to measure and to track mental health system performance in participating countries at national and sub-national (provincial and district) levels. The work of IOMHS will depend on the establishment of robust partnerships among the key stakeholder groups. The Observatory will build the capability of partner organisations and networks to provide evidence-based advice to policy makers, service planners and implementers, and will monitor the progress of mental health service scaling up activities.
The International Observatory on Mental Health Systems will be a mental health research and development network that will monitor and evaluate mental health system performance in low and middle-income countries.
The numbers and proportions of elderly are increasing rapidly in developing countries, where prevalence of dementia is often high. Providing cost-effective services for dementia sufferers and their caregivers in these resource-poor regions poses numerous challenges; developing resources for diagnosis must be the first step. Capacity building for diagnosis involves training and education of healthcare providers, as well as the general public, development of infrastructure, and resolution of economic and ethical issues. Recent progress in some low-to-middle-income countries (LMICs) provides evidence that partnerships between wealthy and resource-poor countries, and between developing countries, can improve diagnostic capabilities. Without the involvement of the mental health community of developed countries in such capacity-building programs, dementia in the developing world is a disaster waiting to happen.
Developing countries; Low-to-middle-income countries; Resource-poor; Population demography; Elderly; Dementia; Prevalence; Diagnosis; Capacity building; Challenges; Obstacles; International partnerships; Cost–benefit analysis; Economics; Ethics
Musculoskeletal injuries are a major public health problem globally, contributing a large burden of disability and suffering. This burden could be considerably lowered by implementation of affordable and sustainable strategies to strengthen orthopaedic trauma care, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This article summarizes the global burden of musculoskeletal injuries and provides several examples of successful programs that have improved care of injuries in health facilities in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, it discusses WHO efforts to build on the country experiences and to make progress in lowering the burden of musculoskeletal injuries globally.
Health systems research is being increasingly called upon to support scaling up of disease control interventions and to support rapid health sector change. Yet research capacity building and pay-back take years or even decades to be demonstrated, while leadership and institution building are critical for their success. The case of Mexico can be illustrative for middle income countries and emerging economies striving to build health research systems.
Historical reflection suggests the relationship between health sector reforms and economic crisis, on the one hand, and research capacity building and payback, on the other. Mexico's post-revolutionary background and its three health sector reforms are analyzed to identify the emphases given to health systems research.
The first wave of health reform in the 1940s emphasized clinical and epidemiological research. Health systems research was not encouraged in a context of rapid economic development and an authoritarian regime. In contrast, health systems research was given a privileged place with the second wave of health reforms in the 1980s, which addressed health system coordination, decentralization and the universal right to health in a context of a deep economic crisis. The third wave of health reforms between 2003 and 2006 was based on the health system models proposed through research in the 90s. The credibility gained by research institutions was critical to ensure government uptake. Research influence can be traced through the role it played in defining a problem, in designing innovative insurance mechanisms and in establishing evaluation frameworks. It is argued that the Ministry of Health's budget increase of 56% between 2003 and 2006 and the reductions in inequity are pay-back to research investments since the 1980s.
In 2001-2002, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) committed 10 years of funding for the creation and implementation of three Regional Training Centres to build capacity in health services and policy research in the Atlantic, Ontario and Western regions of Canada and one training centre in Quebec to focus on the development of nursing services researchers. Each RTC comprises several universities that collaborate to deliver the graduate training. The authors of this paper describe the consortium-related features of the RTCs, including approval processes, formal agreements, governance, communication, students, curriculum, administration and use of educational technology. The discussion outlines the benefits and challenges of university collaboration for participating students, faculty and universities and summarizes lessons learned.
One of the challenges to maintain an agenda for universal coverage and equitable health system is to develop effective structuring and management of health financing. Global experiences with different systems of health financing suggests that a strong public role in health financing is essential for health systems to protect the poor and health systems with the strongest state role are likely the more equitable and achieve better aggregate health outcomes. Using Malaysia as a case study, this paper seeks to evaluate the progress and capacity of a middle income country in terms of health financing for universal coverage, and also to highlight some of the key underlying health systems challenges.
The WHO Health Financing Strategy for the Asia Pacific Region (2010-2015) was used as the framework to evaluate the Malaysian healthcare financing system in terms of the provision of universal coverage for the population, and the Malaysian National Health Accounts (2008) provided the latest Malaysian data on health spending. Measuring against the four target indicators outlined, Malaysia fared credibly with total health expenditure close to 5% of its GDP (4.75%), out-of-pocket payment below 40% of total health expenditure (30.7%), comprehensive social safety nets for vulnerable populations, and a tax-based financing system that fundamentally poses as a national risk-pooled scheme for the population.
Nonetheless, within a holistic systems framework, the financing component interacts synergistically with other health system spheres. In Malaysia, outmigration of public health workers particularly specialist doctors remains an issue and financing strategies critically needs to incorporate a comprehensive workforce compensation strategy to improve the health workforce skill mix. Health expenditure information is systematically collated, but feedback from the private sector remains a challenge. Service delivery-wise, there is a need to enhance financing capacity to expand preventive care, in better managing escalating healthcare costs associated with the increasing trend of non-communicable diseases. In tandem, health financing policies need to infuse the element of cost-effectiveness to better manage the purchasing of new medical supplies and equipment. Ultimately, good governance and leadership are needed to ensure adequate public spending on health and maintain the focus on the attainment of universal coverage, as well as making healthcare financing more accountable to the public, particularly in regards to inefficiencies and better utilisation of public funds and resources.
In an era when health resources are increasingly constrained, international organisations are transitioning from directly managing health services to providing technical assistance (TA) to in-country owners of public health programmes. We define TA as: A dynamic, capacity-building process for designing or improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of specific programmes, research, services, products, or systems’. TA can build sustainable capacities, strengthen health systems and support country ownership. However, our assessment of published evaluations found limited evidence for its effectiveness. We summarise socio-behavioural theories relevant to TA, review published evaluations and describe skills required for TA providers. We explore challenges to providing TA including cost effectiveness, knowledge management and sustaining TA systems. Lastly, we outline recommendations for structuring global TA systems. Considering its important role in global health, more rigorous evaluations of TA efforts should be given high priority.
technical assistance; research utilisation; programme effectiveness; programme evaluation; research to practice
The USAID-funded Capacity Project established the Global Alliance for Pre-Service Education (GAPS) to provide an online forum to discuss issues related to teaching and acquiring competence in family planning, with a focus on developing countries' health related training institutions. The success of the Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery's ongoing web-based community of practice (CoP) provided a strong example of the successful use of this medium to reach many participants in a range of settings.
GAPS functioned as a moderated set of forums that were analyzed by a small group of experts in family planning and pre-service education from three organizations. The cost of the program included the effort provided by the moderators and the time to administer responses and conduct the analysis.
Discussion and evaluation
Family planning is still considered a minor topic in health related training institutions. Rather than focusing solely on family planning competencies, GAPS members suggested a focus on several professional competencies (e.g. communication, leadership, cultural sensitivity, teamwork and problem solving) that would enhance the resulting health care graduate's ability to operate in a complex health environment. Resources to support competency-based education in the academic setting must be sufficient and appropriately distributed. Where clinical competencies are incorporated into pre-service education, responsible faculty and preceptors must be clinically proficient. The interdisciplinary GAPS memberships allowed for a comparison and contrast of competencies, opportunities, promising practices, documents, lessons learned and key teaching strategies.
Online CoPs are a useful interface for connecting developing country experiences. From CoPs, we may uncover challenges and opportunities that are faced in the absorption of key public health competencies required for decreasing maternal mortality and morbidity. Use of the World Health Organization (WHO) Implementing Best Practices Knowledge Gateway, which requires only a low bandwidth connection, gave educators an opportunity to engage in the discussion even in the most Internet access-restricted places (e.g. Ethiopia). In order to sustain an online CoP, funds must come from an international organization (e.g. WHO regional office) or university that can program the costs long-term. Eventually, the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of GAPS rests on its transfer to the members themselves.
Public health educational pathways in Australia have traditionally been the province of Universities, with the Master of Public Health (MPH) recognised as the flagship professional entry program. Public health education also occurs within the fellowship training of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, but within Australia this remains confined to medical graduates. In recent years, however, we have seen a proliferation of undergraduate degrees as well as an increasing public health presence in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Following the 2007 Australian Federal election, the new Labour government brought with it a refreshing commitment to a more inclusive and strategic style of government. An important example of this was the 2020 visioning process that identified key issues of public health concern, including an acknowledgment that it was unacceptable to allocate less than 2% of the health budget towards disease prevention. This led to the recommendation for the establishment of a national preventive health agency (Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 National Preventative Health Strategy, Prepared by the Preventative Health Taskforce 2009).
The focus on disease prevention places a spotlight on the workforce that will be required to deliver the new investment in health prevention, and also on the role of public health education in developing and upskilling the workforce. It is therefore timely to reflect on trends, challenges and opportunities from a tertiary sector perspective. Is it more desirable to focus education efforts on selected lead issues such as the "obesity epidemic", climate change, Indigenous health and so on, or on the underlying theory and skills that build a flexible workforce capable of responding to a range of health challenges? Or should we aspire to both?
This paper presents some of the key discussion points from 2008 - 2009 of the Public Health Educational Pathways workshops and working group of the Australian Network of Public Health Institutions. We highlight some of the competing tensions in public health tertiary education, their impact on public health training programs, and the educational pathways that are needed to grow, shape and prepare the public health workforce for future challenges.
The public sectors of developing countries require strengthened capacity in health informatics. In Peru, where formal university graduate degrees in biomedical and health informatics were lacking until recently, the AMAUTA Global Informatics Research and Training Program has provided research and training for health professionals in the region since 1999. The Fogarty International Center supports the program as a collaborative partnership between Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru and the University of Washington in the United States of America. The program aims to train core professionals in health informatics and to strengthen the health information resource capabilities and accessibility in Peru. The program has achieved considerable success in the development and institutionalization of informatics research and training programs in Peru. Projects supported by this program are leading to the development of sustainable training opportunities for informatics and eight of ten Peruvian fellows trained at the University of Washington are now developing informatics programs and an information infrastructure in Peru. In 2007, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia started offering the first graduate diploma program in biomedical informatics in Peru.
For six years, Canadian paediatricians have worked in partnership with their Ugandan colleagues to promote improved child health in southwestern Uganda.
To describe a collaboration between the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Canadian partners that aims to build local capacity in child health through support of training at university, community and health centre levels.
Three low-cost initiatives are now implemented. At the university level, volunteer Canadian paediatricians support Ugandan faculty colleagues through teaching health care trainees at a busy tertiary referral and teaching hospital. In the community, the Healthy Child Project helps Ugandans train local health volunteers who educate mothers and caregivers about child health. At health centres in the Mbarara and Bushenyi Districts, Canadians support a locally initiated outreach program that provides paediatric consultation and continuing medical education for staff at rural health posts.
Ugandans and Canadians have benefited from this collaboration. Hundreds of Ugandan undergraduate and graduate health care trainees, more than 100 community volunteers and numerous local health practitioners have received child health training through one of these three Canadian-supported paediatric initiatives. More than 25 Canadian paediatricians have benefited greatly from their overseas teaching and clinical experience.
The strength of this collaboration is a shared interest in improving child health in southwestern Uganda. A strong Ugandan-Canadian partnership has built significant child health capacity with great benefit to both partners. These initiatives may serve as a model for other child health providers wishing to support capacity-building initiatives in less developed countries to improve global health.
Capacity building; Child health; Community-based health care; Education; International health; Less developed countries; Model; Volunteers
Competency-based education (CBE) provides a useful alternative to time-based models for preparing health professionals and constructing educational programs. We describe the concept of ‘competence’ and ‘competencies’ as well as the critical curricular implications that derive from a focus on ‘competence’ rather than ‘time’. These implications include: defining educational outcomes, developing individualized learning pathways, setting standards, and the centrality of valid assessment so as to reflect stakeholder priorities. We also highlight four challenges to implementing CBE: identifying the health needs of the community, defining competencies, developing self-regulated and flexible learning options, and assessing learners for competence. While CBE has been a prominent focus of educational reform in resource-rich countries, we believe it has even more potential to align educational programs with health system priorities in more resource-limited settings. Because CBE begins with a careful consideration of the competencies desired in the health professional workforce to address health care priorities, it provides a vehicle for integrating the health needs of the country with the values of the profession.
To discuss the literature regarding educational program ranking and to provide insights concerning undergraduate and graduate athletic training education ranking systems.
The demand for accountability and the need to evaluate the quality of educational programs have led to program ranking in many academic disciplines. As athletic training becomes more recognized within the medical community, determining a program's quality will become increasingly important.
We describe program rankings used in other disciplines for determining quality and providing measures of accountability. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both subjective and objective ranking systems, as well as the arguments for using program rankings in athletic training. Future directions for program ranking and potential research questions are suggested.
Ranking systems on the basis of levels of perceived quality and academic productivity of programs that prepare future professionals will help potential undergraduate and graduate students make informed decisions when selecting an educational program.
graduate program ranking; undergraduate program ranking; prestige ranking; productivity ranking
As a result of the Leadership Conference on Biomedical Research and the Environment, the Facilities Committee focused its work on the development of best environmental practices at biomedical research facilities at the university and independent research facility level as well as consideration of potential involvement of for-profit companies and government agencies. The designation "facilities" includes all related buildings and grounds, "green auditing" of buildings and programs, purchasing of furnishings and sources, energy efficiency, and engineering services (lighting, heating, air conditioning), among other activities. The committee made a number of recommendations, including development of a national council for environmental stewardship in biomedical research, development of a system of green auditing of such research facilities, and creation of programs for sustainable building and use. In addition, the committee recommended extension of education and training programs for environmental stewardship, in cooperation with facilities managers, for all research administrators and researchers. These programs would focus especially on graduate fellows and other students, as well as on science labs at levels K--12.
Integrated into the work in health systems strengthening (HSS) is a growing focus on the importance of ensuring quality of the services delivered and systems which support them. Understanding how to define and measure quality in the different key World Health Organization building blocks is critical to providing the information needed to address gaps and identify models for replication.
Description of approaches
We describe the approaches to defining and improving quality across the five country programs funded through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation African Health Initiative. While each program has independently developed and implemented country-specific approaches to strengthening health systems, they all included quality of services and systems as a core principle. We describe the differences and similarities across the programs in defining and improving quality as an embedded process essential for HSS to achieve the goal of improved population health. The programs measured quality across most or all of the six WHO building blocks, with specific areas of overlap in improving quality falling into four main categories: 1) defining and measuring quality; 2) ensuring data quality, and building capacity for data use for decision making and response to quality measurements; 3) strengthened supportive supervision and/or mentoring; and 4) operational research to understand the factors associated with observed variation in quality.
Learning the value and challenges of these approaches to measuring and improving quality across the key components of HSS as the projects continue their work will help inform similar efforts both now and in the future to ensure quality across the critical components of a health system and the impact on population health.