USAID’s Health Evaluation and Applied Research Development (HEARD) project brings the implementation and technical capacity of a strategic set of global partners together to generate, synthesize, and use evidence to improve the implementation of policies and programs related to USAID priority areas, and crucial for improving health and development in low and middle-income countries. HEARD was launched in 2016 and is part of a series of projects supporting USAID’s Health Research Program.
Why are there gaps in evidence to inform decision-making? One major reason is that priority-setting for investments in research is often determined without input from end point decision-makers, resulting in a disconnect between evidence needed and evidence produced. Answering implementation questions requires a shift in research mentality and capacities towards a different approach to evidence generation.
The HEARD Project seeks to effectively respond to major challenges by:
Actively engaging communities of implementers, policy-makers, investigators, and advocates interested in identifying evidence needs and priorities relevant to current implementation gaps and challenges to improve programs and policies;
Creating iterative processes of evaluation and improvement, linking those with specific skill sets and capacities to evaluate current work and those empowered to make necessary changes in support of health goals, emerging threats, and new opportunities; and
Developing issue-specific implementation science collaborations that bring together a diversely-skilled set of partners well-positioned to link evidence with the design and improvement of programs and policies;
Expanding and sustaining these activities through the development of a global health Implementation Science Collaborative (ISC).