By Moriah Ellen, HSG Board Candidate 2016
Health Systems Global (HSG) works to interact with health systems on disparate, yet overlapping levels, globally, regionally and locally. It appreciates that against the backdrop of perpetual change and challenges, implementing evidence-informed initiatives which progress global health systems is a complex yet critical matter, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). HSG is founded on a multiplicitous base of active members and stakeholders from all over the world with diverse backgrounds, and, because of this, is able to effectively promote global health systems research. Expanding the impact of HSG and growing the foundation of membership, therefore, becomes key in supporting HSG’s mission.
As HSG begins to shape its strategy for 2016-2020 and draws on its assets and its already existing diversity, the issue of expanding membership in underrepresented regions and stakeholder communities while maintaining the core values of HSG, still stands. Additionally, from a potential member’s perspective, joining HSG is more valuable when its worth has been proven, so to speak, issues around supply, demand, retention and communication have been determined, and the benefit of membership is tangible.
Efforts to have an impact need to occur, in my opinion, at the local level. Regional meetings that focus on burning health policy and systems issues at the regional level can have a huge impact. For example, based on my connections and work with international experts that focus on the unnecessary use of health services, I have been able to learn from other experiences, facilitate and generate interest in Israel to address this important issue. National initiatives are currently being pursued and developed in Israel. Linkages have been built between local decision makers and international experts. Similarly, already existing members of HSG can be utilized as content experts and advocates when engaging health system players, and even those in other sectors. The skills and knowledge that exists within the current HSG leadership and membership base is valuable in supporting the regional initiatives. Regional profiles, highlighting work being undertaken in various regions, position papers, and specific social media content that is relevant at the local level, are other avenues of potential broadcast, as well as a means to connect similar countries or regions to share experiences.
However, HSG should not act in a vacuum. Many other local, national and international organizations and associations address similar issues. The HSG board must ensure that it is not duplicating efforts already under way by different organizations, and should, in fact, connect with other initiatives to forge strategic alliances. HSG can increase visibility by disseminating information at already existing regional and national conferences, as well as presenting its own conferences, particularly in underrepresented areas.
If elected, I pledge to devote my enthusiasm and energy to advance HSG’s platform, and adhere to highest standards of ethics, integrity and fairness, as outlined by the HSG through the Duties of Loyalty, Care and Obedience. I plan on using my knowledge and skills in evidence informed policymaking to support HSG’s mission and vision.
I have a unique perspective and close engagement with two very different approaches and stages of development to support evidence informed decision making. Israel is a small country with a strong network of decision makers and researchers that work together and have established relationships. However, the approach to evidence informed policy is not systematic with limited supporting infrastructure and therefore it is more of a laissez faire approach. This is juxtaposed to my knowledge and experience that is gained from the Canadian context: a large country with a much more systematic infrastructure to support evidence informed policy. These two experiences and the lessons learned from both contexts can help inform future initiatives in high, low and middle income countries.