Faculty Member: Freida Chavez

Director of Global Affairs Leads Inaugural Health Care Policy Workshop in Acre, Brazil

3 July 2013

Tackling primary health care delivery at a policy level, Bloomberg Nursing expanded its successful collaboration with the Health Secretariat in Acre, Brazil this past April.  At the request of the Health Secretary of State of Acre, Suely Melo, Bloomberg Nursing’s Director of Global Affairs, Freida Chavez, designed and facilitated a two-day workshop on implementing and evaluating primary health care policy to 22 mayors and 22 health secretaries from the municipalities that make up the state of Acre.

“Brazil’s Secretary of State has a vision of engaging mayors and health secretaries to implement primary health care effectively in their municipalities and integrate the culture of evaluation,” said Chavez.  “When I was teaching at the Universidade do Acre in January, I was approached about the workshop initiative based on the successful collaborative relationship Bloomberg Nursing has with Acre.”

The Bloomberg Faculty’s Leadership in Primary Health program, conducted in partnership with the Federal University in Acre, has to date produced close to 100 specialists in primary health care.  Building on this great resource of primary care expertise in the state, the workshop aimed to link health care professionals to government and policy makers.

Brazil’s Secretary of Health made a commitment to support the mayors and health secretaries in the municipalities to implement primary health care that the graduates have been trained to provide.  The main goal for the workshop is to support mayors and health secretaries to successfully implement Primary Health Care Policy.  Topics covered included enhancing knowledge of primary health care, conveying the role municipalities play in this implementation, illustrating effective program planning and evaluation, examining and applying collaborative leadership, and exploring strategies for community participation.  This program helped mayor and secretaries to create a template to track and evaluate the progress of health outcomes.

“At the evaluation dinner each mayor and health secretary was asked for feedback by the Secretary of State,” said Chavez. “One comment that stayed with me was hearing that ‘this was so great because I thought program planning and evaluation is a complex thing to do and it is, but we learned how to simplify it and actually make it happen.’”

The Association of Health Secretaries has invited Chavez to present the workshop at a national conference for all municipalities in Brazil to share with other states their approach to strengthen their health care capacity building.

“It’s so exciting to see that the nurses and other health professionals we’ve taught over the years taking up leadership roles in the municipalities,” said Chavez.  “It’s been a really successful project and we are proud they want to share it with the whole country.”