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Together: 31 Years of Improving Global Health through Partnership

Partnerships are essential to the HVO model. Mutually beneficial relationships with hospitals, universities and health institutions in the countries where we work are fundamental to our organizational structure and enable us to carry out our mission to provide education, training and professional opportunities to health workers in resource-scarce settings. By partnering with more than 80 institutions around the world, we ensure that our work remains relevant to those we seek to serve. Through partnerships, HVO is able to meet health workers where they are and empower them to bring more and better care to their patients.

But what makes a successful partnership?

In a new article published as part of a special research topic of the Frontiers Journal in Public Health Education and Promotion, HVO Director of Program Design & Evaluation April Pinner, MSPH, RD and Executive Director Nancy Kelly, MHS outline the role of international partnership within the HVO structure, describe the processes used to select partners, and analyze lessons learned in 31 years of establishing and maintaining successful, mutually beneficial partnerships.

In Health Volunteers Overseas: 30 Years of Leveraging International Partnerships to Strengthen Health Worker Capacity, Pinner and Kelly identify key indicators of successful international partnerships in education and health worker capacity building:

  • Mutual goal setting
  • Honest and open communication
  • Equity
  • Mutual Benefit
  • Active partner engagement
  • Flexibility
  • Clearly defined leadership roles
  • Local champion

These indicators have been refined throughout HVO’s 31-year history, and have been integrated into our program model to best ensure the success of our training projects.

As Pinner and Kelly point out, each partnership is unique, and, “as the global health environment and priorities of our partners evolve, models of international partnership must adapt to stay relevant.” This point is particularly pertinent as HVO enters its 31st year. The ideas that percolated during our 30th Anniversary Symposium in April—lessons learned, analysis of current trends in global health, and proposed collaborations with key stakeholders—are still fresh in our minds. HVO is entering its third decade with a focus on the future and plans to expand our global reach.

As we look forward, partnerships will remain at the heart of our model. We will continue to collaborate with our partners and other stakeholders to adapt and refine our processes. We will build on current relationships and seek new opportunities for collaborations that will enable us to support and empower health workers and bring more and better care to patients around the world. Together with our partners, HVO will continue and expand our efforts to improve global health and transform lives.

Help build HVO’s future and ensure that more people around the world have access to skilled, safe and compassionate health care when they need it most. Make a contribution to HVO’s Grow 30 More Fund, created to recognize the 30+ years that HVO has worked to improve global health.

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