UNC receives record $181 million grant to evaluate health, poverty and gender programs worldwide

September 08, 2008
Dr. Sian Curtis

Dr. Sian Curtis

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill up to $181 million to continue its MEASURE Evaluation project. Dr. Sian Curtis and Dr. Gustavo Angeles, faculty in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, will serve as program leaders.

The award is the largest ever received by UNC.

The award funds the monitoring and evaluation of family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition and HIV/AIDS programs around the world. The project also monitors and evaluates malaria, tuberculosis and avian influenza programs, and will expand to include programs addressing poverty and gender equity.

Going into its third phase, MEASURE Evaluation builds on the previous two phases of the project and the earlier EVALUATION project which began in 1991. The project already has a presence in nearly 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and will expand to more. Besides the $181 million of project funding in this grant, the award includes the potential for countries to request evaluation activities valued at up to an additional $125 million over the five years.

“The size of this award is unprecedented,” said Barbara Entwisle, PhD, director of the Carolina Population Center (CPC) and Kenan Professor of Sociology in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. “Faculty at UNC, specifically those at the Carolina Population Center who are part of the MEASURE Evaluation team, have achieved an international reputation for excellence in evaluation research. The funding of this latest stage of the project acknowledges the great success of the MEASURE Evaluation team in its earlier phases.”

Dr. Gustavo Angeles

Dr. Gustavo Angeles

Sian Curtis, PhD, research associate professor of maternal and child health in the School of Public Health and a CPC fellow, is principal investigator and project director. Gustavo Angeles, PhD, assistant professor of maternal and child health in the School of Public Health and CPC fellow, is co-principal investigator and deputy director.

“Good information is essential to improve the health of the world’s population,” Curtis said. “This award provides a fabulous opportunity to strengthen our understanding of global health programs and improve the collection, analysis and use of population and health information.”

The project’s partners include John Snow Inc., Macro International, Tulane University, The Futures Group International and Management Sciences for Health.

The MEASURE (Monitoring and Evaluation to Assess and Use Results) Evaluation project uses different strategies to collect and use data about health issues. For example, a tool for assessing and modifying HIV/AIDS prevention programs locally or nationally – called the Priorities for Local AIDS Efforts (PLACE) method – can identify geographic areas that contain key HIV transmission networks. The PLACE method was developed by Sharon Weir, PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and a CPC fellow.

The project will focus on developing the expertise of health workers and officials in host countries to collect, analyze and use data that are gathered. Building on its existing monitoring and evaluation training courses, researchers will launch a distance learning component to increase the number of people who are trained to monitor and evaluate health programs. Communities of practice also will be created so people from different countries who work on the same health issue can share information and learn from each other.

For more about the MEASURE Evaluation Project, see https://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure.

UNC Tomorrow: For more information about how the MEASURE Evaluation project addresses the global competitiveness recommendations of the UNC Tomorrow Commission, see http://www.unc.edu/pse/files/CarolinaUNCTResponse.pdf.

NOTE: Sian Curtis can be reached at (919) 966-1737 or sian_curtis@unc.edu.

Barbara Entwisle can be reached at (919) 966-1710 or entwisle@unc.edu.

 

School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.