Planting the Seeds
for Health Equity
around the World

Mission

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More than 400 million people never see a health worker and how health workers are educated is part of the problem.

The Training for Health Equity Network (THEnet) works to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality care by transforming the way health workers are trained to be in line with community needs and fostering a new generation of caregivers who choose to work in underserved areas.

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Our Approach

Learning from and partnering with others is at the core of everything we do. It underpins the principles of social accountability and community engagement which guide our efforts to increase health equity.

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Community Engagement

All activities and programs of socially accountable schools are designed, conducted and evaluated in genuine partnership with the communities they serve.

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Social Accountability

Institutions that train health workers design their education, research and service activities to meet health needs of the communities they serve—with priorities jointly defined by government, services providers and others including the populations in greatest need.

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Health Equity

Everyone has a fair opportunity to live a long, healthy life, with access to high quality health services.

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Our Work

THEnet and its partners work to reform health workforce education and increase access to health services through:

Capacity
Development

Improving the ability of leaders, faculty, and institutions to implement effective strategies

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Services and Expertise

Applying our extensive expertise and innovative strategies to improve and evaluate education programs

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Research

Investigating the effectiveness of social accountability strategies and measuring their impact

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Advocacy and
Policy

Advocating for health equity oriented, community-engaged and socially accountable health workforce education

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Our Tools

THEnet creates tools that help schools, governments, and practitioners assess needs, adjust strategies and policies, and measure the impact of their programs. THEnet’s Community of Practice is a forum for peers around the world to share knowledge, collaborate and access the Resource Center and the Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education.

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Emerging evidence suggests that social accountability strategies – for example, schools partnering with communities to develop curricula in line with local needs; selecting students most likely to stay in underserved communities and training them in settings where they are expected to serve, increase access to health services.

  • What is the impact of social accountability on health services and ultimately the health of individuals and communities?
  • Can these strategies be replicated in both high and low income settings?
  • Are graduates from socially accountable schools staying in underserved communities?
  • Are recruitment policies a key to health worker retention practices?

These are the kinds of questions that THEnet’s global research teams aim to answer. We collaborate with institutions, policy makers and partners to develop a strong evidence base of successful strategies that will educate a fit-for-purpose health workforce.

THEnet’s Current Research Projects:

  • The Graduate Outcomes Study (GOS): This ongoing study explores to what extent health workforce education institutions with a social accountability mandate are likely to form graduates that meet local workforce and health system needs, and factors that contribute to them doing so. It includes a longitudinal study examining changes in students’ values and intentions throughout training and tracking graduates up to 10 years into practice.
  • Philippines Impact Study:This soon to be published study examines how socially accountable health workforce education has impacted specific health care practices and health outcomes in rural and remote communities in the Philippines.
  • Innovation Collaborative on Learning through Community Engagement:THEnet chairs an initiative of the Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Department to build a global database and policy guidance for those looking to improve health outcomes through community engaged education.
  • Accounting for Learners’ Perceptions of Social Accountability in THEnet Schools:This study explores how learners understand the concept of social accountability at their schools. It assesses how learners perceive their institution’s goals and policies related to social accountability, and relate this to their learning and development as a health professional.
  • Return on Investment (RoI) study:This study aims to determine the health, economic and social impacts on selected rural communities arising from the community-based clinical placement programs of four of THEnet’s socially accountable medical schools. It includes engaging with the community members themselves to understand what they see as the value of this approach.

THEnet strengthens the capacity of professional associations, health leaders, health workforce education institutions and their graduates to increase their positive impact on health and health equity. We do this through a community of practice of peers, providing access to resources, tools, and online learning modules and by providing tailored technical assistance and policy guidance.

Social Accountability Framework:

THEnet and its partners developed The Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education, a powerful, practical, and comprehensive tool to help schools align the training of health workers with community needs. The Framework helps schools design, modify, and evaluate their programs so that they can realize true health equity in an inequitable world. It has been adopted and used extensively around the world. An interactive online version is available on THEnet’s Community of Practice and includes tools such as generic ethics applications, project management tools and focus groups questions. The Framework will soon include online learning modules on how to implement social accountability strategies and evaluate impact.

The Community of Practice:  THEnet operates an online Community of Practice with access to its Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education, Resource Center and working groups.

Through our advocacy efforts the principles of social accountability, health equity and community engagement in education, championed by THEnet, are gaining traction. Examples of impact at a global level include: 

  • The World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030, approved by the World Health Assembly in May, 2016, includes recommendations on social accountability strategies and community engagement in health workforce education. THEnet staff and partners jointly developed recommendations.
  • The 2016 The United Nations High Commission on Health Employment and Economic Development report recommended social accountability in education and highlighted two THEnet partner schools. THEnet partner schools provided research evidence and THEnet staff lead the development of a policy brief on education for the Commission.
  • THEnet has three members on the World Health Organization’s Technical Working Group on Health Workforce Education Assessment Tools, which is mandated by the World Health Assembly to support health workforce education reform. THEnet’s Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education was used as a foundation for the tools developed.
  • THEnet has influenced discussion and contributed to publications as an active member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Department’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. Its influence led to the creation of an Innovation Collaborative on community engagement in health workforce education, chaired by THEnet.

THEnet is a trusted provider of technical assistance in designing socially accountable and community engaged health workforce education programs, evaluating education initiatives and their impact, and offering policy guidance to governments, schools and international partners.

For example, as an international expert in the evaluation of health workforce education, we were chosen by the US Government to conduct an external midterm evaluation of its $130 million-dollar Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in Africa. Upon completion of the evaluation, the U.S. Government contracted us to conduct the midterm evaluation of its $30 million-dollar Global Nurse Capacity Building Program (GNCBP) that includes nursing and midwifery education.

THEnet offers technical assistance and consultancy services in the following areas:

  • Guiding health workforce education institutions using the Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education.
  • Supporting governments in carrying out the Framework for Socially Accountable Health Workforce Education on a national level.
  • Conducting baseline and needs assessments for health-system strengthening related to human resources for health.
  • Assessing the outcomes and impact of health workforce education institutions and programs and facilitating strategic and operational planning.
  • Advancing the implementation of social accountability strategies and accountability mechanisms at the institutional and national levels, including strategies and tools for:
  • Community engagement
  • Needs assessments
  • Curriculum revision
  • Faculty and student recruitment
  • Quality assurance at clinical training sites
  • Graduate tracking
  • Outcome and impact evaluation
  • Inter-professional collaboration
  • Policy, Regulation and Accreditation
  • Leadership development for social accountability

Please contact info@thenetcommunity.org if you are interested in accessing THEnet’s services and expertise.