MEASURE Evaluation: Translating Data into Health Recommendations

Zambia-Visitors-Sept-2016-02_with-banner-768x485By Kathy Doherty, Senior Research Writer MEASURE Evaluation

Health data are essential to understanding what is working in a health system and what is not. Data alone, however, are just numbers, unless transformed into compelling information products that communicate and lead to action to improve health care.

For the past year MEASURE Evaluation—a $180 million program housed in the Carolina Population Center at UNC and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—has provided technical assistance to 14 health professionals from Zambia’s Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Council, the Ministry of Community Development, and the University of Zambia. They spent three weeks last fall in Chapel Hill working on data products, such as posters, data dashboards, and trend lines, and then flew home, certificates of achievement in their baggage and a vetted health communication product on their laptops.

Take, for instance, Boyd Kaliki, a provincial monitoring and evaluation (M&E) officer with the health ministry in Lusaka – Zambia’s capital. He supports programs to prevent HIV transmission and uses the country’s data software to generate visuals that illustrate what health data are saying. For this training, he focused on merging data sets to discover why only 37 percent of HIV-positive women of childbearing age are using modern contraceptives.

He compared women living with HIV, who do use contraceptives, with other data and discovered that HIV-positive women with more education were more likely to use contraceptives, and that rural women were less likely to use them. His analysis led to three conclusions:

  1. The government should offer HIV testing, counseling, and treatment along with family planning services and incentives in rural and urban areas.
  2. The government should improve health education so women living with HIV understand how to take precautions for their health during and after pregnancy.
  3. The government should help families keep their girls in school, because education correlates with contraceptive use and delayed childbearing.

To learn more, visit the IGHID blog here.

Dr. Eron Receives Red Ribbon Award

Bruce Curran, right, serves on the board of the NC Community AIDS Fund. He presented Joe Eron, MD, with the group’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

Dr. Joseph Eron is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC and the Director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Clinical Core. The North Carolina Community AIDS Fund bestowed its outstanding achievement award to him this spring in recognition of “outstanding individual effort and personal sacrifice” for serving “in a variety of roles helping individuals in NC who are HIV positive and living with AIDS.”

“The North Carolina Community AIDS Fund Red Ribbon Award was given to Dr. Eron in celebration of the 20th anniversary of his New England Journal of Medicine paper that was published on the first combination therapy study with AZT/3TC in treatment naive patients,” says Bruce Curran, member of the NCCAF Advisory Board. “That publication was one of the major turning points in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Read more here…

Healing with CAARE, Inc. Hosts Leadership Awards Gala

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UNC Graduate students celebrate at the Gala with Dr. Cheryl Giscombe (Mental Health Program Director and Academic Partner at CAARE) and Ms. Carolyn Hinton (Executive Director of CAARE, Inc.)

On Friday December 4, 2015, Healing with CAARE, Inc. hosted its inaugural Jeanne Hopkins Lucas Education and Wellness Center Leadership Awards Gala. The Gala was planned to celebrate CAARE’s 20th Year of Service in Healthcare Innovation for Durham, NC and surrounding, while recognizing and honoring outstanding community leaders and volunteers who have provided valuable services to CAARE’s overall mission, to eliminate health disparities and provide holistic care to underserved populations.

Keynote Speaker United States Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, spoke about how CAARE, Inc. serves as a model for community development and public health solutions that should be implemented across the country. As Deputy Surgeon General, RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams advises and supports the Surgeon General regarding operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps and in communicating the best available scientific information to advance the health of the nation. She has served as the Chief Nurse Officer of the Public Health Service since November 2013. In this role she advises the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of Corps nurse professionals. RADM Trent-Adams spoke of the importance of partnering with organizations like CAARE to serve the community and work to address health disparities and social determinants of health. The work of the USPHS is much like that of CAARE as it strives to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation.

Healing with CAARE, Inc. was founded in 1995 by sisters and Durham natives, Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum and the late Patricia Riley Amaechi as a result of their dedication to serving the needs of the Durham community. For twenty years, CAARE has provided free health care, public health education, and human services to thousands of uninsured and underserved individuals. Currently, the agency serves more than 1,100 individuals every month.

The CAARE Gala was organized to bring together a variety of community leaders, partners, volunteers and community constituents who support the mission and vision of Healing with CAARE, Inc. The special event was planned to accomplish three major goals: (1) Celebrate Healing with CAARE’s 20th Year of Service and Healthcare Innovation for Durham, NC and surrounding counties; (2) Recognize and honor outstanding community leaders and volunteers who have provided valuable service to Healing with CAARE, Inc. in support of the agency’s overall mission to eliminate health disparities and provide holistic care to underserved populations; and (3) Raise funds for Healing with CAARE’s campaign to support the health and human services provided by the Jeanne Hopkins Lucas Education and Wellness Center and other programs at CAARE.

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Deputy Surgeon General (Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams) and Captain Beverly Dandridge from the U.S. Public Health Service

The Education and Wellness Center at Healing with CAARE is named after the late Jeanne Hopkins Lucas, the first African American woman elected to serve in North Carolina’s State Senate. Senator Lucas was a retired educator and educational administrator in the Durham Public Schools prior to serving as a State Senator; she was re-elected six times. Senator Lucas was a fierce advocate for education and health access for underserved populations. Senator Lucas was also a mentor to CAARE’s founder Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum, and she supported the development of the Education and Wellness Center at Healing with CAARE. Proceeds from the Gala will support the Jeanne Hopkins Lucas Education and Wellness Center to further continue services and to expand the agency’s reach to improve health and human services to the Durham community and surrounding counties.

Dr. Carol Golin shared, “The Gala event was a wonderful way to honor and pay tribute to Dr. Sharon Elliot-Bynum. Several of us from the CFAR, including CFAR Director Ron Swanstrom and Code Office Executive Director, Caressa White attended the event to express our gratitude to Dr. Bynum and CAARE, Inc for their generosity in fostering partnerships between CAARE and CFAR researchers. It was inspiring to take stock of the many, many ways Dr. Bynum and Healing with CAARE, Inc. have contributed to the Durham community over the past 20 years. One of Dr. Bynum’s many leadership skills was her ability to inspire generosity in others to volunteer their talents and resources to CAARE and this was how she was able to grow such a vibrant organization. I felt very honored and grateful to be able to be at this lovely event.”

Visit this page to read a tribute to the life and work of Dr. Sharon Elliot-Bynum.

New book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement

Innovations in HIV ResearchUNC CFAR investigator Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine has edited a new book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement.

Leaders in the field who are working at various points along the community-engagement continuum, with diverse populations, and different types of HIV prevention interventions (e.g., individual, community, and structural) have contributed important chapters that outline both innovative interventions designed to reduce HIV risk among some of the most affected communities and authentic and meaningful approaches to engagement, partnership, and CBPR. Chapter authors include community members who may come from communities greatly affected by HIV in the United States; organization representatives who are providing services to members of these communities; business representatives; federal scientists and practitioners; and academic researchers who must negotiate the challenges of their institutions (e.g., tenure and funding) and federal and foundation funders who may not understand the challenges and potential successes associated with authentic engagement, partnership, and CBPR.

Information can be found at Springer and at Amazon.