Research and Evaluation

The USAID ASSIST Project supports country-led research and synthesizes learning across country programs on topics such as the validity of improvement-related data, sustainability and institutionalization, scale-up, and cost-effectiveness of improvement activities. The ASSIST Research and Evaluation unit provides technical support to these efforts and works to disseminate knowledge from these studies to encourage wider adoption of improvement methods.

ASSIST Brown Bag: "Cost-effective vs. cost saving, what's the difference?!"

GHFP Annex, 2nd Floor in the Africa Conference Room (1201 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste. 200, NW, Washington, DC)

Do you know the difference between a program that is cost-effective versus one that is cost saving? Do you know what makes a cost-effectiveness analysis good or otherwise? This one-hour session revealed the basic structure of economic analysis and how consumers of such studies can understand their results, assess their implications and judge their quality. 

During this session, Edward Broughton, Director of Research & Evaluation on the ASSIST Project, drew lessons learned from the USAID ASSIST Project.

Cost-Effectiveness of Improving Health Care to People with HIV in Nicaragua

A 2010 evaluation found generally poor outcomes among HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy in Nicaragua. Edward Brougton and team evaluated an intervention to improve HIV nursing services in hospital outpatient departments to improve...

Sex and gender: how data disaggregation is central to improvement

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


What is the best way to integrate gender effectively into an improvement program? Taking gender considerations into account in the program design, monitoring and evaluation aspects of a program is critical to integrating gender.

Gender Considerations in Monitoring and Evaluation

Why collect sex-disaggregated and gender-sensitive data? In many contexts, women, men, girls, and boys have different needs and face different social, economic, and cultural barriers that can affect their ability to access and benefit from...

Improving data visualization: No more excel data tables!

Simon Hiltebeitel

Improvement Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Excel data tables are awful. Still, we often use them when presenting time-series charts because they are a convenient way to display the denominator for percentage or rate indicators. Why do we need the denominator? Two reasons. First, the denominator communicates the scale either of the intervention or the sample. Second, variation in the denominator might explain some of the variation seen in the displayed indicator.

Excel Template for Presenting Denominators in Column Charts

Excel data tables can be hard to read when they contain more than a few data points. However, it is important to include the denominator when presenting time-series percentage or rate indicators . One alternative to the data table is to...

Freudian Slip

Edward Broughton

Director, Research and Evaluation, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

What do Sigmund Freud and some in the field of improvement have in common? No, this is not the beginning of a Woody Allen joke and I hope the answer is a simple “nothing”. But sometimes when I hear those immersed in improvement say that our work is too complex and nuanced for randomized trials or other rigorous research methodologies, it reminds me of the famous cigar-smoking psychoanalyst.

Cost-effectiveness and Quality Improvement Webinar


This webinar by Dr. Edward Broughton, Director of Research and Evaluation on the USAID ASSIST Project at URC, was presented to participants in the “Introduction to Quality and Quality Improvement” training course implemented by the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

A recording of the webinar is available at:

Research and Evaluation Report FY13

This report shall provide a summary of all SIS research and evaluation studies, whether limited to a specific country or not, for a period of approximately one year. The report shall distinguish activities that are completed, under way,...

Team-level Excel Database (updated 2011)

This Excel database was created by the USAID Health Care Improvement project for use at the site level. It provides a mechanism for data entry of monthly or weekly indicator data, with automatic calculation of percentages and automatic...