URC to Lead Global Effort to Strengthen and Improve Health Systems

Bethesda-based University Research Co., LLC (URC) has been awarded the Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project with a ceiling of up to $184,984,030 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This five-year cooperative agreement will assist countries in improving health care and strengthening their health systems and advance the frontier of the science of improvement globally. 

Despite the availability of simple, high-impact interventions capable of saving lives and alleviating suffering, many patients and clients in low- and middle-income countries are not benefiting from such interventions. Much of this gap is related to weak health systems and inefficient processes of care delivery. Such weakness manifests itself in various aspects of care quality, including effectiveness, efficiency, patient/client-centeredness, equity, safety, accessibility, timeliness, community involvement, and inability to achieve Millennium Development Goal targets.

USAID ASSIST will support country institutions such as ministries of health and private health service providers to design programs that meet their goals, drawing on state-of-the-art methods and building in strategies to enable the health system to continuously improve. URC’s key strategy is to enable the flexible application of evidence-based improvement approaches within a given context to increase the likelihood of achieving the best possible outcomes while building the capacity of host-country partners.

The USAID ASSIST Agreement Officer Representative Dr. James Heiby said, “The ASSIST team brings an unprecedented level of expertise to the challenge of making improvement a permanent, integral part of delivering health services. ASSIST will also integrate knowledge management, evaluation, and research into its activities, focused on further advancing the state-of-the art. With existing resources, health systems in USAID-assisted countries could provide substantially better care than they do now, if leaders are committed to these modern improvement strategies.”    

USAID ASSIST will align evidence-based interventions in technical content areas – such as maternal, newborn, and child health, HIV/AIDS, and health workforce – with evidence-based approaches to strengthen and improve systems. 

ASSIST Director and URC Senior Vice President Dr. M. Rashad Massoud said, “ASSIST will enable us to contribute to the global health agenda using evidence-based scientific approaches to strengthen and improve the health systems of the countries we serve.” 

ASSIST will engage country leaders first in designing programs, which will align the U.S. Government’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), USAID Forward, Universal Health Coverage, and other global initiatives.

URC, the prime awardee for this project, will work with: Broad Branch Associates; EnCompass LLC; FHI 360; Harvard School of Public Health; HealthQual International; Initiatives Inc.; Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs; Risk and Strategic Management Consulting, LLC; Travel Leaders; WI-HER; and the World Health Organization Patient Safety Programme. URC’s regional and in-country partners for USAID ASSIST include the Regional Center for Quality in Health Care in Uganda, the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative in South Africa, the Center for Family Welfare at the University of Indonesia, and the Georgian Family Medical Association. 

About USAID 
The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program, providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

About URC 
Established in 1965, URC is a global company dedicated to improving the quality of health care, social services, and health education worldwide through programs in over 40 countries. Its work includes the global USAID Health Care Improvement Project. With its non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services, URC is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and has more than 850 employees worldwide.



October 09, 2012
Regions/ Countries