HRH Global Resource Center Reaches 3,000

Rebecca RhodesIn January, I added the 3,000th resource to the HRH Global Resource Center (GRC), CapacityPlus’s digital library for human resources for health (HRH) information. At such a milestone, I began reflecting on how the GRC got here and where it is going.

Over the past five years of working on the GRC, I have seen the growing emphasis on knowledge management as a tool to support evidence-based decision-making and share lessons learned to make the most cost-effective and sustainable decisions for health worker interventions. The advent of the World Health Organization’s Health Manager’s Website, the Global Health Workforce Alliance’s knowledge center, and the K4Health project demonstrate the growing interest for this information as part of the way global health development does business.

I’ve also seen similar sites come and go, even in this short period of time, so why has the GRC continued to grow? Although I have no empirical evidence to explain all the complex reasons why some sites fail and others survive, I attribute the success of the GRC to its user-driven development focus. New resources, features, and redesigns are made as a result of user feedback and use patterns. We focus on adding new resources in subject areas that are the most accessed but have relatively small numbers of resources (e.g., planning, conflict and natural disaster affected regions, gender), and create new categories for areas on which users search but are not yet represented in our taxonomy (e.g., mental health, leadership, workplace issues). Changes to the GRC’s navigation or additional features, such as the launch of our eLearning platform, are a direct result of user requests and surveys.

At some point in the evolution of the GRC, I stopped being the site designer and became an implementer of user needs. When I look back on what I thought the GRC would be—a library-centric repository of academic materials, versus what it has become—a dynamic site that fulfills real needs versus perceived ones, I can only be pleased at the difference this approach has made and wonder how this lesson could be applied to other areas of health development work.

January also marked a new record number of monthly users: more than 98,000 visitors accessed the GRC from more than 170 countries. This validates our hope as knowledge managers that there is a thirst for user-driven HRH websites, despite the challenges such as low bandwidth and cultural differences in information access. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few years will bring and how the GRC will look when we hit 4,000 resources.

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Photo by Jennifer Solomon.