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USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Global
URC is the lead implementer for the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) cooperative agreement of the Office of Health Systems in USAID’s Global Health Bureau.
In September 2017, URC was awarded a two-year extension to the USAID ASSIST Project. Under the terms of the extension, the USAID ASSIST Project will operate until September 29, 2019, complete all previously core- and Mission-funded activities, and focus on strengthening maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) and family planning/reproductive health services in Zika-affected countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
ASSIST’s mission is to improve healthcare, strengthen health systems, and advance the frontier of improvement science in USAID-assisted countries. To achieve these aims, URC and its partners are:
- Fostering improvements in a range of healthcare processes through the application of modern improvement methods by host-country providers and managers
- Building the capacity of host-country systems to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, client-centeredness, safety, accessibility, and equity of the healthcare services provided
- Generating new knowledge to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of applying improvement methods in low- and middle-income countries
During the extension period, ASSIST is applying quality improvement methods to health systems strengthening efforts in Zika-affected countries, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru. Additionally in 2018, ASSIST is wrapping up country-level assistance in Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Uganda.
About Improvement Science
The science underlying modern improvement is grounded in a “systems understanding,” drawing on psychology, organizational behavior, adult learning principles, and the statistical analysis of variation. The fundamental concept underlying all improvement is that “every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it achieves” (Paul Batalden, MD). To achieve better health outcomes, we must change the underlying processes that lead to those outcomes.
Improvement requires changes in the way we work, but not every change results in improvement. To ensure that changes improve the system’s performance, testing is required, as is measurement of results.
USAID ASSIST builds on the work of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project. From 2013 to 2017, ASSIST operated in 38 countries, supporting quality improvement efforts for HIV and AIDS, MNCH, malaria, tuberculosis, orphans and vulnerable children, and non-communicable disease services at both facility and community levels. During the extension period, ASSIST will continue to carry out functions related to research and evaluation, knowledge management, and global technical leadership not only as related to previous ASSIST work, but also for new Zika activities, to institutionalize the use of improvement methods for stronger health systems.
2012 to present
US Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Global Health, Office of Health Systems
Harvard T.F. Chan School of Public Health
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
World Health Organization (WHO)