PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center at UNC Gillings School Redesignated for Four More Years
January 13, 2021
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health. (Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
The Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has been the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health since 2008.
In fall 2020, it was redesignated as such for the third time, recognizing again the valuable work of director Dr. Herbert Peterson — William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in both the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gilling School and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC’s School of Medicine — and the full Collaborating Center team.
The Collaborating Center supports the mission of the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health — achieving the health and well-being of every woman, every child and every adolescent. Its members contribute to this mission primarily by developing and applying the scientific and technical support needed for implementing life-saving and life-enhancing innovations, especially in low-resource settings.
“Women, children and adolescents are dying around the world from conditions that we can prevent and treat,” said Peterson. “We have many, if not most, of the innovations that we need to save them, and these innovations must be delivered successfully, sustainably, and at scale. We need to address this implementation challenge worldwide, especially in the low- and middle-income countries where 99% of maternal and newborn deaths now occur.”
In its first decade, the Collaborating Center focused primarily on the development and implementation of WHO evidence-based guidelines — contributing to WHO’s efforts to assure that its recommendations, and its approaches to implementing them, were based on the best available science.
More recently, the team has developed and launched a program to build in-country capacity for implementation practice and implementation research. Designed to be highly practical, the goal of the one-year program is to add value to the training of, and technical assistance to, a diverse group of global health stakeholders, using implementation science frameworks and methodologies.
The first cohort of three country teams, launched in 2018, includes the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ain Shams University in Egypt; the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in the West Bank; and the Health Services Academy at the Ministry of Health in Pakistan.
“It’s a real honor to continue our important collaboration with WHO for building and applying research evidence,” Peterson said. “For the next four years, our top priority will be generating and using evidence to address our most pressing implementation challenges in global women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. Our focus on this front will be building the science and the in-country capacity needed to improve implementation research and implementation practice and, ultimately, assuring that our most promising innovations reach those they are intended to serve.”
The designation is effective until October 27, 2024.