Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research:
Framing the Questions
Kabir Sheikh1*, Lucy Gilson 2,3, Irene Akua Agyepong 4, Kara Hanson 3, Freddie Ssengooba 5, Sara Bennett 6
1 Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India, 2 School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, 3 Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, 4 Ghana Health Service/University of Ghana School of Public Health, Accra, Ghana, 5 School of Public Health, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, 6 Health Systems Programme, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
PLoS Med 8(8): e1001073. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001073 - August 16, 2011
Available online at: bit.ly/pJvI6y
PLoS Medicine Series on HPSR
Following the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Montreux in November 2010, PLoS Medicine commissioned three articles on the state-of-the-art in Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR).
Three Policy Forum articles, authored by a diverse group of global health academics, critically examine the current challenges to the field and lay out what is needed to build capacity in HPSR and support local policy development and health systems strengthening, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Kabir Sheikh and colleagues. Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: Framing the Questions.
Lucy Gilson and colleagues. Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: Social Science Matters.
Sara Bennett and colleagues. Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: An Agenda for Action.
This is the first of a series of three papers addressing the current challenges and opportunities for the development of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR). HPSR is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field identified by the topics and scope of questions asked rather than by methodology. The focus of discussion is HPSR in low- and middle-income countries.
Topics of research in HPSR include international, national, and local health systems and their interconnectivities, and policies made and implemented at all levels of the health system. Research questions in HPSR vary by the level of analysis (macro, meso, and micro) and intent of the question (normative/evaluative or exploratory/explanatory).
• Current heightened attention on HPSR contains significant opportunities, but also threats in the form of certain focus areas and questions being privileged over others; “disciplinary capture” of the field by the dominant health research traditions; and premature and inappropriately narrow definitions.
• We call for greater attention to fundamental, exploratory, and explanatory types of HPSR; to the significance of the field for societal and national development, necessitating HPSR capacity building in low- and middle-income countries; and for greater literacy and application of a wide spectrum of methodologies.
* * *
This message from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO/WHO, is part of an effort to disseminate
information Related to: Equity; Health inequality; Socioeconomic inequality in health; Socioeconomic
health differentials; Gender; Violence; Poverty; Health Economics; Health Legislation; Ethnicity; Ethics;
Information Technology - Virtual libraries; Research & Science issues. [DD/ KMC Area]
“Materials provided in this electronic list are provided "as is". Unless expressly stated otherwise, the findings
and interpretations included in the Materials are those of the authors and not necessarily of The Pan American
Health Organization PAHO/WHO or its country members”.
Equity List - Archives - Join/remove: http://listserv.paho.org/Archives/equidad.html
IMPORTANT: This transmission is for use by the intended
recipient and it may contain privileged, proprietary or
confidential information. If you are not the intended
recipient or a person responsible for delivering this
transmission to the intended recipient, you may not
disclose, copy or distribute this transmission or take
any action in reliance on it. If you received this transmission
in error, please dispose of and delete this transmission.