UCSF, Berkeley Researchers Named Technical Anchors for Maternal Child Health Project

Researchers at UCSF Global Health Sciences and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health have been awarded a $1.5 million grant as partners on a US Agency for International Development (USAID) project to advance maternal newborn and child health and nutrition programs worldwide.

Dilys Walker, MD, director of the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Research Cooperative at UCSF Global Health Sciences, and Lia Fernald, PhD, MBA, professor in community health sciences at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, are co-principal investigators, serving as technical anchors for the Health Evaluation, Applied Research and Development (HEARD) Project.

The HEARD Project addresses the “know–do gap,” the delay between the discovery of effective ways to combat the causes of mortality and morbidity and the application of these proven interventions on a wide scale. It aims to accelerate progress toward ending preventable child and maternal death by conducting multidisciplinary applied and implementation research and related activities to accelerate the research-to-use process related to high priority interventions, technologies, policies and products that show promise or are ready for scale-up.

The project will also conduct evaluative research and post-marketing surveillance of pilot programs and at-scale tools, technologies, interventions and policies around the main causes of maternal, child and neonatal deaths and morbidity.

“The multi-disciplinary academic team at UC Berkeley and UCSF is perfectly suited to serve as the technical partner for this project offering a breadth of expertise in maternal and neonatal health, health policy and economics, public health nutrition, and HIV/AIDS as well as epidemiology, data science, impact evaluation, and implementation science,” said Dr. Fernald.

“HEARD’s focus on closing the “know-do gap” offers the global community an opportunity to rigorously evaluate what we have been doing so that we can make better decisions and have greater, sustainable impact with limited resources,” Dr. Walker added.  “We are excited to be a partner in this collaboration and bring UC’s strengths to bear.”

The HEARD project, managed by University Research Company, involves more than 30 academic institutions, regional health bodies, research organizations, and policy advocates that already work to advance global health goals. The UC Berkeley/UCSF Institute for Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy brought together the maternal and newborn health and nutrition expertise of the two institutions to participate in the project.