Applying Research for a Healthy Liberia

The University of Liberia College of Health Sciences is the leading educational institution for developing Liberia’s clinicians, researchers, health policymakers and innovators. As one of only two public universities in the country, it is poised to become a globally recognized leader in research utilization, meaningfully connecting academics with policymaking, innovation, and clinical practice. Devastated by civil war, the Ebola epidemic, and now COVID-19, Liberia’s health system has dealt with severe resource constraints, shortages in healthcare workers, and other systemic challenges including gaps in evidence-based medical training and practices. 

The Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health (VIGH) partnered with Yale University and the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (ULCHS) to establish a public-private-academic hub for research utilization in the Liberian health sector and an academic network to strengthen Liberia’s education and health sectors.

Funding for the Applying Research for a Healthy Liberia project comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bringing Research to Impact for Development, Global Engagement, and Utilization (BRIDGE-U) program. It will allow the three institutions to build on a longstanding partnership to create the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation (CTLI) in Liberia.

This program builds off the successful implementation of capacity-building activities by the three institutions, including the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER Liberia) USAID grant designed to strengthen medical training, build subspecialty medical capacity, and enhance research training in Liberia.

The BRIDGE-U program will enhance ULCHS’s role as a national hub for research and interprofessional training by getting a Center for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation fully operational and connecting ULCHS faculty and students directly with policymakers, clinicians, and private-sector innovators to translate research outputs.

As an academic hub, CTLI will comprise an experiential learning and assessment lab, a health start-up incubator as well as initiatives to translate and implement existing research findings, and programming to impart research utilization competencies.

The BRIDGE-U program is part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network. This network provides a platform for USAID to partner with higher education institutions from around the world to address critical development challenges, build local capacity and cultivate innovation.

Program objectives include:

  • Advancing research utilization in health and health sciences education for improved health outcomes and equitable economic growth in Liberia.
  • Building research utilization skills among Liberia’s current and future health sciences students, faculty, clinicians, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.
  • Generating new knowledge about how to translate and utilize research findings more effectively to achieve development goals.

Funding for the project comes from award number 7200AA21CA00010.