The Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD) of Columbia University and the Accountability Research Center (ARC) of American University seek applicants from within the Emerging Voices network for a short-term fellowship on accountability and community health worker policies and practices.  The candidate selected will attend a workshop on community health workers and accountability from June 12-14, 2017 in Washington DC, and will be given financial and technical support to undertake a small research study on accountability and community health workers in his/her country or research.

Community health workers (CHWs) are frequently put forward as a remedy for lack of health system capacity, including challenges associated with health service coverage and with low community engagement in the health system.  They are often explicitly mandated or implicitly expected to enhance or embody health system accountability to the populations they serve.  Yet, expectations regarding CHWs and accountability may fail to consider the power imbalances, inequities, and resource challenges that characterize CHWs’ working environment.   

To explore and problematize the ways that CHWs currently experience accountability and their potential role in advancing health system accountability to the populations they serve, AMDD and ARC are embarking on a “big think” on CHWs and accountability.  The workshop is part of this effort, and will take place at American University in Washington DC from June 12-15, 2017.  The approximately 35 person multi-stakeholder “think in” workshop will be comprised of policy-makers, researchers, advocates, and health care administrators.  Participants will explore the diverse facets of the accountability ecosystem in which CHWs operate, co-elaborate basic propositions about the potential for CHWs to foster health system accountability, and articulate a research and policy advocacy agenda related to CHWs and accountability.  Depending on the extent of shared priorities, the meeting participants may draft a joint comment to be submitted to a peer reviewed journal.  

AMDD and ARC have allocated one space at the conference for an Emerging Voices participant based in a low / middle income country. The Emerging Voices participant will receive support for travel from their home country to Washington DC and accommodation in Washington DC for the duration of the workshop.  The Emerging Voices participant will be granted approximately $3,000 to conduct a small research study on CHWs in their home country, following the workshop.  They will also be expected to write a blog about the meeting for Health Systems Global or a similar website.

Interested applicants based in a low / middle income country – with special preference for applicants working in India, South Africa, or Brazil – should submit a one-page CV and a cover letter (400 words maximum) outlining their interest in CHWs, their relevant background, and their ability to carry out a small research study on CHWs in their home country in 2017-2018.  

Applications are due April 15 to Marta Schaaf (mls2014@columbia.edu).

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