Health Information and Publications Network (HIPNET) October 8, 2003

USAID’s vision of what HIPNET might accomplish
Sustainable Communicators’ Network
HIPNET’s Role in Knowledge Management
Brainstorming HIPNET Mission Statement
USAID Knowledge Fair
USAID Web Policies update
“Increasing Access to the IUD” meeting
Global Health Bureau’s presence at APHA
Voice of America HIV/AIDS broadcasts
Telecenter Community of Practice
INFO Knowledge Management Meeting
Publications on infertility
HIPNET Conference Wrapup
Community of Practice on Needs Assessment/M&E;/Dissemination
New Materials and Works in Progress
Next Meeting Date – Feb. 11, 2004

USAID’s vision of what HIPNET might accomplish

Ellen Starbird of the Global Health Bureau at USAID shared her thoughts for the future of HIPNET and what we might accomplish. She said the group’s involvement in moving away from duplication of effort to collaboration had resulted in more effective budgeting; more appropriate audience segmentation; and positive behavior change in various field sites.

She suggested HIPNET members look to the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) as an example of a formidable and effective group moving priority public health issues in a positive direction. She enthusiastically cited the recent IGWG’s “Men and RH” meeting as an example of high quality and purposeful work, bringing many different groups together to spearhead a plan for addressing a key public health need. The IGWG’s ever-evolving role as a mission-driven partnership has become critical for USAID. As a reliable and technically astute advisory group to USAID, they bring challenging issues to the forefront for debate.

Starbird feels that the presence and participation of non-USAID partners in IGWG is a key to its success. These non-USAID members can influence the agenda in ways that USAID CA’s cannot. In this kind of set up, USAID can take its “funder” hat off and just be a participant. The non-USAID members can also be spokespeople for sensitive issues that USAID-funded partners cannot address without scrutiny. She also suggested that for a model of successful collaboration efforts, FHI’s recent meeting on “Increasing Access to the IUD” could be adopted and adapted for future collaborative work.

She emphasized again that the participation of non-USAID CA’s in such a partnership is very valuable, because they can bring a different perspective, have different connections, and can exert different types of pressure on funders, etc.

There was also some discussion that the American public also needs information, and that groups working in the US could help advance the global agenda locally. The Sustainable Communications Network (SCN) is a working group comprising PAI, ZPG, PPFA, and other USAID and non-USAID CA’s working towards building domestic support.

PRB has done some research on how people want to receive information on maternal health that might be useful for group members to look at. They asked a group of people questions about their own materials and tried to find out if there was any impact. They interviewed both regular users and people who were not regular users. Suggestions for improvement were very diverse. For more information contact Lori Ashford,

There is currently a Results Review happening at USAID where the offices are producing their workplans and budgets. Since the Office of Population staff is not necessarily communication experts, they would like to hear from HIPNET about what we consider priorities.

Sustainable Communicators’ Network

There was also some discussion about how American public also needs information, and that groups working in the US could help advance the global agenda locally. The Sustainable Communications Network (SCN) works in this area. It includes representatives of PAI, ZPG, PPFA, and other USAID and non-USAID CAs working towards building domestic support. For more information on where/when it meets, contact Steve Goldstein,

HIPNET’s Role in Knowledge Management

HIPNET could help generate indicators for knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, and information dissemination. If gaps in dissemination are identified, they can be filled, and moving information to the field can be done in reinforcing ways.

Brainstorm on HIPNET’s Mission Statement

Meeting participants’ responses to:

What have we done? What should we be doing?

  1. Explore and offer opportunities for others to explore new technologies, especially as we move from print to electronic technology.
  2. How best to disseminate the information/how should we fashion the message?
  3. Nuts and bolts of dissemination: to share or not to share mailing lists?
  4. Using new approaches: questionnaire/mailing strategies/research strategies/evaluation strategies etc.
  5. Looking for opportunities for collaboration
  6. There should be more dialogue and integrated messaging
  7. There should be collaboration on needs assessment results on what the South is looking for. The assessment process can also be done collaboratively. This would improve the common understanding of knowledge utilization/information on knowledge flows in the South.
  8. Alert others about collaboration opportunities on publications early in the process
  9. Leveraging of publications: alert others for potential reuse of existing publications
  10. Linking with other groups with similar missions

How can we address these needs?

  1. Meeting in loosely structured smaller groups
    • Should this be electronic or face-to-face?
  2. Planning of dissemination should be better co-planned. There should be better coordination to address specific issues that need pushing for example the IUD meeting.
  3. There should be pre-work plan coordination
  4. Creating and maintaining a organizational directory as a first step in facilitating coordination
  5. Creating a resource center where we can find information on everything from finding translators to having policy questions answered
  6. Standardizing terminology
    • Creating a list of preferred terms (FHI’s site has a list)
    • Avoid buzzwords
  7. How can we include non-attending participants in collaborative efforts?
  8. Should we have more meetings?

What is the role of the Web site?

  1. Collaboration
  2. Meeting information
  3. Program information

What principles/beliefs guide us?

  1. Sharing
  2. Collaboration
  3. Audience-focused approach to communication
  4. Ensuring effective information
  5. Increasing individual efficacy
  6. Increasing impact through collaboration
  7. Effective utilization of information
  8. Linking to other groups with similar missions

How do we know we are effective?

  1. Degrees of information sharing
    • Is there sharing going on?
    • What is the impact of the sharing?
  2. Self-reporting of collaborative efforts
  3. Evaluating the impact of how information is used in the field

A smaller group will work on the HIPNET mission statement and bring a revised mission statement to the next HIPNET meeting for discussion. This group includes: Karen Landovitz (EngenderHealth), Gretl Cox (FHI), Peggy D’Adamo (JHU), Willow Gerber (PATH), and Laura Lorenz (MSH). If you want to participate, let one of us know.

USAID Knowledge Fair

Matt Sattah of USAID spoke briefly about USAID’s Knowledge Management Strategy and Knowledge fair to be held on Oct 20-22, 2003. Visit for more information. There was also some discussion on what happens to a knowledge base when projects come to an end.

USAID web policies
Sandra Jordan from USAID and Erin Broekhuysen from the PHNI Project spoke about the latest updates on USAID’s web content policies.
The new office focus is on research and innovation. There are three critical functions of the “central pillar bureaus:”

  1. Technical Leadership in global health
  2. Research and Innovation (including tools, methodology, and participation in the Global Fund)
  3. Support to the field (direct partnering of country programs and the Office of Population)

The new Results Package includes advance and support of voluntary RH practices, with three interim results:

  1. Global Leadership
  2. Knowledge generated, disseminated, and organized (our materials fall here)
  3. Support to the field; available mechanisms and TA

Are the kinds of technical leadership USAID is providing being picked up in the field? How does it come back to the North to feed the next step and to help exert a global strategy? Knowledge Management is key–the middle pillar.

There’s a joint State Dept./USAID plan with a goal that will help revise USAID’s strategic plan. They have 9-12 months to define indicators USAID wants the working groups to help with this. They want a coherent and consistent message. The gaps are in the process of moving the information to the field.

Public Affairs gets information from Sandra or the Global Health Bureau staff, the LPA converts it to what is said on line.

When sending publications, if you are linked to the DEC, send the title, a short description, and a link to the DEC. LPA will not post links to the Pop. page.

Technically, anything with USAID funding must go through LPA.

USAID prefers that CAs use the term RH programs rather than RH services.

Be VERY clear with your messaging. When you talk about “services,” define exactly what you mean. Do not leave any room for speculation.

If you have questions contact Lee White

“Increasing Access to the IUD” meeting
Beth Robinson (FHI) talked about their recent “Increasing Access to the IUD” meeting. HIPNET could serve as a forum for a pilot planning exercise on coordination of a publication on the IUD, where we could work on how to complement and reinforce each others work on IUDs and have complete coverage of information/audiences without duplicating efforts. The priority would be coordinating activities. The issue of creating centrally-driven publications in relation to field needs was brought up. There was also a comment about service-delivery staff not being represented at these meetings.

Frontiers, FHI, the INFO project and ORC MACRO DHS are working on a collection of blurbs on FGM publications different groups were interested in. It may serve as a model of collaboration to shop around for donors. Other agencies that may want to participate should be contacted.

It was also suggested that perhaps we could take the model and try to coordinate publications on a topic that would be broader and represent more organizations – Integration of Family Planning and HIV/AIDS was suggested as a possibility.


Marsha MacNeil talked about the Global Health Bureau’s presence at the upcoming APHA conference. She said that at the conference signs with “Partners in Health with USAID” on them would be given to CA’s to be displayed in their booths. Contact Marsha for more information.

Voice of America HIV/AIDS broadcasts

Joyce Kramer from Voice of America spoke briefly about HIV/AIDS broadcasts VOA is planning. She encouraged CAs to provide material to them for stories.

Telecenters Community of Practice

Siobhan Green (AED) spoke of the DOT.COM Alliance, and the use of IT for development. The Dot.Com Alliance is funded through EGAT/IT. Theresa Norton, Shibhan and Mark Storey proposed setting up a community of practice around the issues involved in building telecenters with practical/feasible Internet access, expanding access to information through IT, and then sustaining these centers. All agreed that this COP and others should be identified as such on the HIPNET Web site. For more info contact Siobhan, Theresa or Mark.

INFO Knowledge Management Meeting
Laura Raney asked CCP folks to discuss the two-day meeting about “Challenges for Knowledge Management in Health and International Development.”

COPs should be identified on the HIPNET Web site.

This meeting is an example of collaboration. We need to get formal feedback on HIPNET from users about products they get, and share questions of field testing and results. We need a COP of needs assessment.

Upcoming Publications on Infertility
If anyone has any information or is in the nascent stage of producing work on preventing infertility, please contact Beth Robinson (FHI) right away.

Steve Goldstein shared the evaluation of the HIPNET conference with the group. Evaluation results are on the HIPNET website at> We agreed that before another conference is planned HIPNET should look into the options for holding it in a developing country, or should hold smaller conferences organized in individual regions. We also agreed that HIPNET needs to better document the secondary effects and spinoffs from the conferences.

We agreed that many of us are interested in participating in an ongoing = discussion about information needs assessments, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination of information products. We might revive our scope of work for the information needs assessment and go to another donor for funding for it. We agreed to form a group of people interested in exploring these ideas. If you want to be included, let Peggy D’Adamo know.