Major Areas of Research

IHSP’s research contributes to health system improvements worldwide by emphasizing six interrelated areas of focus.  The combination of operations and academically-oriented research allow the findings and methodologies of Program members’ research to reach a wide audience and inform policymaking.  A listing of peer-reviewed journal articles, project-related technical analyses and reports, and other material emanating from IHSP member research activities can be found on the publications page.

The six areas of IHSP research include the most relevant issues for low- and middle-income countries. These areas include:

      • Institutional reforms and capacity building.  Many challenges faced by governments around the world center around the management, organization and effectiveness of their health systems.  IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes decentralization,organizational reform of ministries of health, human resource strategic planning, and case method management training.
      • Politics and governance. Technical solutions to health systems deficiencies must take the political and governmental contexts into account to be effective and sustainable.  IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes political strategies, advocacy and approaches to working in fragile states.
      • Sustainability and Implementation Science. Pioneers in the study of sustainability and leaders in the new field of implementation science, IHSP faculty are involved in several projects to assess the sustainability of projects funded by donors and to provide effective recommendations to strengthen sustainability as well as develop useful evaluation research on the implementation of scale up and replication of innovations
      • Health system financing: Strengthening the financial resources and reducing the financial risks of illness that drive many into poverty requires innovative approaches in different country contexts. IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes social health insurance, community financing and national health accounts.
      • Public/Private partnerships: Involving and working with the private sector is crucial to long-term improvements in health systems quality and efficiency. IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes assessments of private markets and public/private partnerships.
      • Building community capacities.  Community involvement in delivery of health services is a key to promoting healthy behaviors and utilization of the health system.  IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes the role of social capital in improving health systems delivery and innovative ways to make community health workers more effective.
  • Reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects.  The Sustainable Development Goals and worldwide efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS have put a continuing concern on improving reproductive health services.  IHSP’s research in this area emphasizes strengthening health system support for maternal and neonatal health, shifting family planning preferences from abortion to contraception and addressing economic and political aspects of HIV/AIDS programs. Recent studies of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS and PEPFAR make recommendations to further health system strengthening by these funders.

Current Research
Human Resources Strategic Planning
Politics of the Policy Process
Health Sector Reform

Sustainability and Implementation Science

Additional Research Topics
Making Health Care Work Better through Reforms to Health Care Public and Private Provision
Assessing the Impact of Aging Populations in Developing Countries on Health Expenditures
Health Expenditures and the Elderly: A Survey of Issues in Forecasting, Methods Used, and Relevance for Developing Countries
Developing National Health Accounts in Turkey
The Role of Private Health Care Providers in Priority Public Health Programs
Health Systems Resource Center
Health System Reform Strategy for Andhra Pradesh State, India
Executive Summary of India Andhra Pradesh Report Phase I
HIV/AIDS and Health Expenditures in Nigeria
Nigeria HIV/AIDS Accounts Report
Out-of-pocket Payments and Informal Payments for Health in Middle Income European Countries

University Wide Publications through D.A.S.H.
(Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard)

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