Global Health Initiatives

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WHO Policy and Coordination Committee invited presentation

During an invited presentation to the Policy and Coordination Committee’s June meeting, Center Director Herbert Peterson discussed implementation science and how WHO may use it more effectively. Among the committees final recommendations are that HRP continue to build its work, partnerships and capacity in the area of implenetation research, explore strategies to prioritize, develop and conduct implementation research activities and that HRP organize a consultation to identify priorities and mechanisms for work on implementation science.


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Global health great moments topic of FIGO Howard Taylor Lecture

The Howard Taylor keynote lecture, presented by Herbert Peterson, at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) XXI World Congress in Vancouver, British Columbia, addressed great moments in the history of global health, the remarkable progress in improving the health of women and children globally and the potential for even greater triumphs with the new Sustainable Development Goals.

During his lecture entitled, “Great Moments in Global Health and Why We’re in One Now”, Peterson spoke of the opportunity to be part of the greatest global health triumph in human history through UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) – an initiative to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents, to improve their overall health and well-being, and to bring about the transformative change needed to shape a more prosperous and sustainable future. Citing great moments from the past, such as smallpox eradication, Peterson noted success depended on multiple factors, including political will and priority, scientific and technologic progress, and strong partnerships.

“We have the political will. We have the science and technology – including the developing fields of implementation science, improvement science and systems science – to assure that effective interventions are effectively implemented in contexts that support that implementation,” he said. “And we have partnerships being forged that will provide the real collaborations needed to realize the full potential of this wonderful moment.”

Peterson is the UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of maternal and child health in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and obstetrics and gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine. He is also Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health.


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WHO Collaborating Center at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health to partner in global effort to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents by 2030. Read story


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WHO-CC hosts symposium during Global Implementation Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

WHO-CC convenes implementation science and improvement science leaders for symposium

The WHO Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health will host a symposium, “Implementation Science and Improvement Science: Ready to Converge in Support of Global Health?” May 28 in conjunction with the Global Implementation Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

Under the leadership of center director, Herbert Peterson, the symposium will bring together key thought leaders from these fields to present their views on how best to use the overlap and complementary work between implementation science and improvement science to greatest advantage in service of global health. There will be presentations, a panel discussion, and a time for audience interaction.


WHO Collaborating Center goal to improve global sexual and reproductive health

The Department of Maternal and Child Health is the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health and is directed by Dr. Herbert Peterson. Originally designated in 2008 and redesignated in 2012, the center’s mission is to support the United Nations agencies’ effort to improve global sexual and reproductive health based on the strongest possible science. This, in turn, supports WHO’s mission in the creation and implementation of its evidence-based guidance for reproductive health polices, programs and practices. On-going work with WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have resulted in the following key contributions to women’s health. WHO publications have been translated into numerous languages and have been incorporated into national family planning guidelines in over 50 countries. mch_ccmmwr_2014

  • 2009 4th edition of WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use – guidance on who is medically eligible for what method of contraception
  • 2008 update of WHO Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use – guidance on how best to use contraceptive methods safely and effectively
  • 2010 U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use – CDC adaptation of WHO guidelines
  • 2013 U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use – CDC adaptation of WHO guidelines
  • 2014 updating of WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use and WHO Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use
  • 2015 Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use, WHO publishes fifth edition

Dr. Peterson served as co-chair for the expert working group that supported the development of the U.S. adaptation and was first author of an editorial that accompanied the publication of key systematic reviews prepared as evidence for the guideline process. (Peterson HB, Cates W Jr. Evidence-based medicine in action: The United States selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Contraception 2013;87(5):509-10.)

The Collaborating Center gives UNC-Chapel Hill the opportunity to play a leadership role in translating maternal and child health research into global practice. Increasingly, the focus for this effort is implementation science and will become an increasingly important priority for the Department over time. The Center’s current efforts on implementation science are focused on support of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.