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Health Evaluation and Applied Research Development (HEARD)
The HEARD Project is the latest in URC’s more than 30 years of global Implementation Science (IS) and research work across the globe. Using an IS approach, HEARD works through a partnership of more than 35 diverse global organizations to improve the implementation of evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies.
Why are there gaps in evidence to inform decision-making? One major reason is that priority-setting for research investments is often determined without input from end point decision-makers, resulting in a disconnect between the evidence needed and evidence produced. Answering implementation questions requires a shift in research mentality and capacities towards a different approach to evidence generation that relies on:
- Diverse research designs and tools;
- Diverse stakeholder engagement in the prioritization of research; and
- Diverse implementation challenges, such as acceptability, adaptability, scalability, and sustainability of interventions.
To accelerate evidence to policy and practice, we engage local and global communities of practice, regional policy platforms, and advocacy groups to connect project-based learning and partners with sustainable learning processes and knowledge hubs that will last beyond the project.
Our research activities include:
- Rapid scoping and landscape reviews;
- Analysis of existing data and policies;
- Program evaluation development and implementation;
- Case study development; and
- Large-scale studies of promising approaches.
HEARD supports partnership activities across six thematic areas, including:
- Assistive technologies;
- Evaluation development and implementation;
- Mental health and psychosocial support;
- Urban health;
- Violence against children; and
- Woman-centered care.
HEARD has partnerships with 21 active sub-awardees who collaborate with global and local stakeholders. The work spans Southeast Asia, East Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central America. Our consultative process for priority development identifies and designs research and activities in each of our thematic areas. This process harvests existing evidence and data where possible and is responsive and relevant to the information needs of decisionmakers.
HEARD has completed five implementation science evaluations, including evaluation scoping services, in alignment with our approach. One example of this work is the Midterm Evaluation of USAID Jordan’s Health Service Delivery (HSD) Activity. This evaluation explored the quality, management, sustainability, and USAID alignment of HSD and its activities to expand the access to and availability of integrated health services to quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services in Jordan.
Additionally, our dual engagement of technical and policy communities has led to the passage of regional ministerial resolutions, changes in national policy and practice, and influenced future priority development. These efforts have been particularly successful in the areas of urban health and respectful maternity care.
The Accelerating Evidence to Use in Policy and Programs Webinar Series: HEARD Project partners – with leadership from The East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) secretariat, member states, and the University of San Francisco – have launched an ongoing webinar series: “Accelerating Evidence to Use in Policy and Programs.” These webinars support the acceleration of evidence to strengthen and sustain global policy and program implementation.
The webinar series first is focused on reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The series aligns with the ECSA-HC strategic plan and objectives, including the need to:
- Implement strategies that strengthen RMNCAH programs in member states in line with global and regional commitments; and
- Facilitate the development of member states capacity for the implementation of RMNCAH strategies.
Future webinar series will examine mental health and psychosocial support and violence against children.
The HEARD Project website has thematic area pages for study-specific publications, toolkits, and commentaries.
2016 to 2021
US Agency for International Development (USAID)