CIDRZ is pleased to announce the launch of a new Directorate of Implementation Science. The U.S. National Institutes of Health defines implementation science (also referred to as implementation research) as “the study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence into healthcare policy and practice. …It seeks to understand the behaviour of healthcare professionals and other stakeholders as a key variable in the sustainable uptake, adoption, and implementation of evidence-based interventions, …and has the intent to investigate and address major bottlenecks that impede effective implementation, test new approaches to improve health programming, and determine a causal relationship between the intervention and its impact”.
Dr Michael Herce, MD, MPH, MSc (Clinical Research & Epidemiology) will lead this new Directorate. Dr Herce is a US-trained infectious disease specialist, with close to 10 years of experience in HIV and global health programming and clinical and implementation science. Dr Herce worked in Malawi with Partners in Health from 2009 to 2012 and has worked in Zambia with CIDRZ since 2014.
In Malawi, Dr Herce worked with the Ministry of Health to scale-up Option B+ in Lilongwe and surrounding districts and was instrumental in helping develop the National Tuberculosis Program’s national roll-out strategy for the Xpert MTB/Rif TB diagnostic tool. Embedding implementation science into these and other programs, he and his colleagues demonstrated that excellent clinical and public health outcomes could be achieved for HIV and other diseases even in the most challenging settings by leveraging existing HIV service delivery platforms, investing in health systems strengthening and using data to drive programmatic innovation.
While at CIDRZ, Dr Herce has worked closely with TB Director Dr Monde Muyoyeta and TB Senior Technical Advisor Dr Stewart Reid to grow implementation science HIV/TB activities in the Zambian Corrections Service system while serving as the Principal Investigator of the Continuum study, and Investigator of Record for the TasP study. He also leads the EmpiriX implementation science study examining the effects of the Xpert TB diagnostic tool on health outcomes for HIV-positive presumptive TB patients compared to standard-of-care TB diagnosis.
The new directorate will work closely with other technical directorates to coordinate the CIDRZ-wide implementation science agenda, build our implementation research capacity, and help CIDRZ to fulfil our mission of improving access to quality healthcare in Zambia through capacity development, exceptional implementation research, and impactful, sustainable public health programmes.
Photo from left: CEO Dr Izukanji Sikazwe, Director of Implementation Science Dr Michael Herce, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Roma Chilengi