UNC Research Resources

MEASURE Evaluation is UNC’s largest single research award and is a major contributor to UNC’s thought leadership on global health, health systems, health informatics, data quality and data visualization, and systems thinking on infectious diseases.

Old Well at UNC-Chapel Hill
Photo by Whitney Proffitt

MEASURE Evaluation is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to contribute to better health for people living in low-resource settings. Its mission is to assist governments and health institutions to generate and use information to strengthen health programs and to scale up what is working to improve health.

The project is led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), with a consortium comprising five health system expert organizations (ICF, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, Palladium, and Tulane University).

MEASURE Evaluation is UNC’s largest single research award and is a major contributor to UNC’s thought leadership on global health, health systems, health informatics, data quality and data visualization, and systems thinking on infectious diseases. UNC, in turn, has a wealth of resources that MEASURE Evaluation draws upon to expand its capabilities and expertise. Among them are the following:

Centers

  • Carolina Population Center (CPC) manages funded projects addressing complex health and social issues, such as the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS), and MEASURE Evaluation. CPC designs, collects, and disseminates large public use datasets representing cohorts on an array of factors associated with patterns, trends, determinants, and consequences of forces at the macro/contextual, household/family, individual, and genetic levels as they interact to affect health and human development. The Center conducts longitudinal research exploring the potential impact of events, their timing, and their sequencing. CPC also conducts econometric analysis and develops materials on impact evaluation data analysis.

Institutes and Programs

  • Odum Institute supports the social science teaching and research mission at UNC and consults on quantitative and qualitative methods, geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis, survey research, and data management, all of which are also activities for MEASURE Evaluation. The Odum Institute also has expertise in data analysis and storage, including Dataverse, which is a compilation of searchable, customizable data collections curated by the Institute as well as collections owned by other institutions and scholars. MEASURE Evaluation makes its datasets available in Dataverse.

  • Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) for advanced technologies and health informatics and home to the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), a public-private partnership to address Big Data challenges and opportunities through new tools and methods to extract and use knowledge from these large data sets.

  • Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) is committed to improving human health through health informatics research, data sharing, development, and education with a focus on practical application of theory. CHIP has expertise in data visualization, interactive information analysis, and data warehousing, now used in the developing world, which help MEASURE Evaluation prepare systems that will be equipped for robust data use in the future. CHIP faculty come from UNC’s School of Information and Library Science and other UNC schools.

Departments

Faculty and graduate students from the following UNC departments in the Gillings School of Global Public Health have contributed to MEASURE Evaluation, collaborating on evaluation research, capacity building, health informatics, and more:

  • The Department of Biostatistics has assisted with the calculation of samples sizes and the analysis of data for large-scale evaluations.

  • The Department of Epidemiology is world-renowned for advanced quantitative research methods. Epidemiology faculty have introduced into MEASURE Evaluation activities various methods for estimating the size of key populations, targeting resources in key populations, network analysis of organizations engaged in disease control, and mixed quantitative and qualitative methods for program evaluation. Faculty research includes studies on sexual behavior, HIV prevention, HIV testing, and structural interventions among adolescents and young adults in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The Department of Health Behavior combines the social and behavioral sciences with health science, developing practical research and interventions to improve the health of individuals and communities. Health Behavior faculty conduct research in the United States and globally on community health, violence prevention, policy change, HIV/ AIDS prevention and control, the reduction of health disparities, health communication and mhealth, obesity and diabetes, tobacco control, and workplace health promotion.

  • The Department of Health Policy and Management has provided expertise in systems thinking and systems methods. We have used these approaches to articulate our project theories of change and to inform systems changes in several countries.

  • The Department of Maternal and Child Health thoroughly addresses evaluation methods, family planning, and programs and practices for women and children. Faculty have advanced evaluation to include complexity-aware methods, have increased the capacity of personnel and organizations in developing countries to conduct evaluations, and have conducted evaluations of programs to extend care to mothers and children.

  • The Department of Nutrition has helped clarify the role of nutrition and food security in the care of people infected with HIV. Faculty and students have collaborated to evaluate how integrating nutrition into routine healthcare at facility and community levels helps prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission and to strengthen the evidence base for the contribution of nutrition to the HIV care continuum.