The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) was founded in 2002 at the University of Washington (UW). I-TECH supports the development of a skilled health care workforce and well-organized national health delivery systems to provide effective prevention, care, and treatment of infectious diseases in resource-limited settings. I-TECH has more than 2,000 staff around the world who work in partnership with local ministries of health (MOH), universities, non-governmental organizations, medical facilities, laboratories, private sector groups, and funding agencies to build long-term capacity for health systems and the delivery of quality care.
I-TECH’s work reflects the evolution of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to a longer-term investment in health systems strengthening. While initially focused on health care worker pre-service and in-service training, I-TECH rapidly began to address broader capacity development efforts and interventions. I-TECH now supports both the continuum of response for infectious diseases in various countries, as well as other critical elements of strong health systems, such as health information systems and laboratory strengthening; health policy; and global security strategies such as immunization registries, accreditation, continuing professional development, and leadership and management.
I-TECH’s Technical Assistance Framework outlines how these areas work together to create the necessary workforce capacity and enabling environment for strong health systems and, ultimately, improved patient-centered care.
I-TECH has supported activities in 31 countries and has 13 I-TECH-established local offices in the Caribbean, Sub Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Most of these offices were established as legal nonprofit extensions of the UW under a mechanism called UWorld. UWorld was created with the approval of the university president and provosts as a gesture of commitment and support for the I-TECH network and to reflect the university’s commitment to global health. I-TECH is now, in addition, helping to create parallel, locally-owned offices in many countries. This expands the reach of I-TECH as well as acting on its ultimate goal of human and institutional capacity development.
Each I-TECH office has a strategic plan in place that addresses the issue of sustainability. These plans acknowledge the goal of capacity development and intent to transfer responsibility for disease prevention, treatment, care, and support to host countries over time. They also highlight the need for indigenous organizations to be established and to flourish by developing policies and systems that ensure sustainability. I-TECH capacity development activities include:
- Development and adoption of national-level policies and guidelines to support scale-up of successful interventions
- Technical assistance on grant writing and grants management
- Establishing strategic information capacity through application of tools such as TrainSMART and electronic medical record and lab information systems
- Addressing leadership and management skills development at national and regional levels
- Strengthening workforce development by support of on-site and distance-based training, technical assistance, instructional design, advocacy, and policy development
- Revising pre-service education through transition of curricula from knowledge-based to competency-based education and faculty development
- Supporting national/regional clinical mentoring and supportive supervision standards
- Seconding time-limited technical advisers to Ministries of Health
I-TECH works in close partnership with host country governments, universities, non-governmental organizations, and funders across an array of technical areas. As an organization grounded in teaching and learning, I-TECH strives to educate and mentor with intentionality and in partnership with stakeholders.
I-TECH follows a Partnership Model that guides the provision of technical services and technical assistance toward local ownership and sustainability, creating projects and programs that can be integrated into national systems.
This dedication to partnership allows I-TECH to draw upon a strong global network of public health professionals. I-TECH customizes the approach in each country to respond to local needs and priorities. In addition, each I-TECH country ofﬁce team aligns the model with the unique Partnership Framework Implementation Plans of the partner host government.