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KBR homeThe World Health Organization (WHO) has defined Knowledge Translation (KT) as "the synthesis, exchange, and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation in strengthening health systems and improving people's health."

PAHO's Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research Department (KBR) is responsible for developing strategies, policies, methodologies, standards and services to enable knowledge management and translation functions throughout PAHO/WHO and the countries of the Americas Region (see PAHO's Knowledge Management and Communication Strategy).  

In that context, decision-making processes at all levels of the health system must be integrated with scientific evidence and health information in order to achieve evidence-based health care and evidence-informed policy making.  PAHO/WHO has a major role to play in bridging the know-do gap and supporting countries through better knowledge management and translation. PAHO/WHO envisions a world in which policy-makers, health professionals and other stakeholders use the best available scientific evidence to inform practice, public health and policy-making.

Main Lines of Action

Evidence informed policy-making

The program aims to ensure that decision making is well-informed by the best available research evidence

Health Policy and Systems Research

The program promotes the generation and use of health policy and systems research as a means to improve the health systems and moving towards Universal health.

Main area of work:

IPIER (Improving Program Implementation through Embedded Research)

Countries of the Region of the Americas have been steadily progressing on making their health systems more efficient, effective, accessible, and inclusive. In the Regional Strategy of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Resolution CD53.R14, PAHO Directing Council, 2014) approved by member States in 2014, countries committed to defining an action plan around four simultaneous, interdependent strategic lines that guide the transformation and/or strengthening of health systems toward universal access to health and universal health coverage (Universal Health):

  1. expansion of equitable access to comprehensive, quality, people, and community-centered health services;
  2. strengthening governance and stewardship;
  3. adequacy of financing with efficiency and equity; and
  4. action on the social determinants.

Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) has been widely recognized as an important field contributing to attain Universal Health. According to the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, health policy and systems research (HPSR) "seeks to understand and improve how societies organize themselves in achieving collective health goals, and how different actors interact in the policy and implementation processes to contribute to policy outcomes".

The Pan American Health Organization vigorously supports the process of producing and translating evidence into policy through the use of HPSR. In 2012, the World Health Organization published a strategy on health policy and systems research aiming at changing "the way HPSR is managed as a research endeavor, embedding it much more effectively in the domains of policy-making and implementation."

HPSR is a multidisciplinary field, involving people from different disciplines that together "draw a comprehensive picture of how health systems respond and adapt to health policies, and how health policies can shape - and be shaped by - health systems and the broader determinants of health" (Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research). 


Priority Setting and Standards to Generate Evidence

The program provides technical cooperation to set and support national health research priorities and establishing research and evidence standards and procedures.

Main components:

Strengthening National Guideline Programs

The program provides technical cooperation for strengthening national guideline programs, facilitates the implementation of standards and procedures for guideline development within the Organization and provides regional support to the WHO Guideline Review Committee . More information...