Establishing a regional network of academic centers to support decision making for new vaccine introduction in Latin America and the Caribbean: The ProVac experience

Toscano, CM; Jauregui, B; Janusz, CB; Sinha, A; Clark, AD; Sanderson, C; Resch, S; Matus, CR; Andrus, JK; Provac Network Ctr, Excellence; (2013) Establishing a regional network of academic centers to support decision making for new vaccine introduction in Latin America and the Caribbean: The ProVac experience. Vaccine, 31. C12-C18. ISSN 0264-410X DOI:

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Background: The Pan American Health Organization's ProVac Initiative, designed to strengthen national decision making regarding the introduction of new vaccines, was initiated in 2004. Central to realizing ProVac's vision of regional capacity building, the ProVac Network of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) was established in 2010 to provide research support to the ProVac Initiative, leveraging existing capacity at Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) universities. We describe the process of establishing the ProVac Network of CoEs and its initial outcomes and challenges. Methods: A survey was sent to academic, not-for-profit institutions in LAC that had recently published work in the areas of clinical decision sciences and health economic analysis. Centers invited to join the Network were selected by an international committee on the basis of the survey results. Selection criteria included academic productivity in immunization-related work, team size and expertise, successful collaboration with governmental agencies and international organizations, and experience in training and education. The Network currently includes five academic institutions across LAC. Results: Through open dialog and negotiation, specific projects were assigned to centers according to their areas of expertise. Collaboration among centers was highly encouraged. Faculty from ProVac's technical partners were assigned as focal points for each project. The resulting work led to the development and piloting of tools, methodological guides, and training materials that support countries in assessing existing evidence and generating new evidence on vaccine introduction. The evidence generated is shared with country-level decision makers and the scientific community. Conclusions: As the ProVac Initiative expands to other regions of the world with support from immunization and public health partners, the establishment of other regional and global networks of CoEs will be critical. The experience of LAC in creating the current network could benefit the formation of similar structures that support evidence-based decisions regarding new public health interventions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Health economics, Cost-effectiveness analysis, Child immunization, programs, Evidence-based decision making, Immunization policy, Center of, excellence, Adolescent immunization programs, capacity, policy
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 23777685
Web of Science ID: 321318200007


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