Students of the University of Washington Department of Global Health's PhD in Metrics and Implementation Science are the first class of global health practitioners to combine the study of effective programming with the science of proper implementation.
During a time of enormous changes in economic, social, and health contexts across the world, the field of global health must be able to harness the necessary knowledge and tools to address complex problems, and to raise the bar of success for global health programs in the future. Bridging the ‘know-do gap’ is an enormous challenge for global health practitioners; they must be able to understand local health dynamics within the operational and social contexts that engender them, test and adjust approaches to implementation in collaboration with communities and stakeholders, interpret data to inform policy decisions, and design adaptive and resilient health systems at scale. These skills and methods have been formalized within the nascent field of Implementation Science (IS).
Students in the world's first PhD program dedicated explicitly to IS share their unique perspective on the training, knowledge, and skills essential to bridging the ‘know-do gap’. In this article, IS graduates describe the philosophy and curricula at the core of the program, outline the methods vital to IS in a global health context, and detail the role that IS will increasingly play in global health practice.