Looking under the hood: What will implementation science have to fix?


Much attention has been given to the need to strengthen health systems. Frenk has argued that health systems should not be viewed as either a black boxes or black holes: in other words, too complex or too expensive to really fix. Resource-limited countries, however, have much documentation about the severe limitations of their health systems with respect to all or some of the WHO Health System Strengthening Building Blocks such as funding, health work force, facilities, and availability of drugs. Despite these well-known limitations, the majority of attention and funding does not go to strengthening these systems, and the systems remain weak.  

Working with colleagues at UW, Ministries of Health, donors, and Makerere University, Scott Barnhart has had the opportunity to look more closely at the state of hospital standards in Uganda, the effect of PEPFAR on the health system in Uganda, and at the inner workings, limitations, and improvement strategies for two district hospitals in Haiti. Each of these activities raise important implementation science questions. Dr. Barnhart will review the findings and identify specific areas where implementation science will need to succeed before care can actually improve.  



Scott Barnhart, MD, MPH is currently part of I-TECH's global management team as Director of Global Health Programs. He oversees the field work of I-TECH, which is currently working in 14 countries and has 10 country offices and over 650 employees. I-TECH is celebrating its 10th birthday and has rapidly expanded the program’s initial focus on work force training to many additional aspects of health system strengthening, including informatics, leadership and governance, program and  health facility assessments, and strengthening and HIV prevention. With all of these activities the development of local capacity and transition of programs to ministries or local organizations has been a priority for I-TECH. Dr. Barnhart works closely with I-TECH Country Directors and the Seattle- and San Francisco-based teams on the implementation of the technical programs. He also provides management advice and global leadership across the I-TECH network.
Dr. Barnhart, a Professor of Medicine at UW, holds medical and public health degrees from George Washington University and the UW. He served for over eight years as the Medical Director of Seattle’s 400-bed teaching hospital, Harborview Medical Center, five years as the Chief of Harborview’s Chest Clinic, and 10 years as the Chief of the Occupational Medicine Clinic. He continues to teach and supervise medical students, residents, and fellows at Harborview. Additionally, Dr. Barnhart played leadership roles on projects in Uganda, Vietnam, and Thailand before joining I-TECH.
May 9, 2012
4:00 p.m. coffee reception; 4:15 p.m. lecture
Event Type:
IHME seminar

Scott Barnhart

Scott Barnhart
Professor of Medicine and Global Health, Director, Division of Global Programs, I-TECH, Department of Global Health, University of Washington
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
2301 Fifth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
Tel: +1.206.897.2800 Fax: +1.206.897.2899
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