by Carolyn Barnes
Pictured: Shubha Kumar, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of global health and director of USC’s MPH Online Program.
A global health professor is determining the best ways to evaluate the impact of global health initiatives.
This post is part of our National Public Health Week series! We’re putting the spotlight a different area of public health each day. We hope you are as inspired as we are by the featured change-makers in this series.
Monitoring and evaluation is critical to public health program funding, and can determine if and how future efforts should be implemented. Shubha Kumar, PhD, MPH, has made it her mission to discover the efficacy of and improve upon tools and best practices used to monitor and evaluate global health programs.
What is your work focused on?
My work and research is in the field of global health, with an emphasis on monitoring and evaluation of programs.
What inspired you to get involved in global health?
There is a lack of information and transparency around evidence based decision-making in global health, and I felt this was something I could have an impact on.
What are your goals in the field of global health?
I work to identify both the tools and best practices involved in the approaches we take to monitor and evaluate global health programs. By understanding and implementing these tools and approaches, we hope to prove and improve the value of public health interventions.
What types of activities does your work entail?
My research entails mixed methods approaches to programming, including quantitative and qualitative analysis. This work is often conducted in teams and with organizations working to serve public health and development. It often involves traveling and meeting with various stakeholders including the communities being served.
Why is it so critical to use the proper tools in evaluating global health programs?
In a world of limited resources, we need to be allocating them most effectively. We also need to make sure resources and programs are effective in serving those whom they are intended to serve. Best practices in monitoring and evaluation in global health is relatively limited as far as research is concerned, and it is important that we work to provide actionable approaches that agencies can easily implement in their work routinely.
Who should be concerned about best practices and evaluation tools in global health?
Many different types of public health workers, leaders and members of the public are effected by the efficacy of tools used to monitor and evaluate global health programs. This includes program planners, evaluators, managers, policy-makers and communities.
What are the biggest challenges when determining best practices and tools in global health?
The biggest challenges are getting timely and accurate data and resources. There is also a need for more trained workers inside and outside of communities participating in programs.