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Meet Dr Tara Tancred

News article 4 Jan 2018
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Meet Dr Tara Tancred, Senior Research Associate at CMNH.

Who are you?
I am a Canadian with British parents married to a Zimbabwean anthropologist. We have an ten-month-old daughter who still doesn’t let us sleep much. I’m quick to laugh and love a good chat, so please feel free to approach me at any time!

Where were you before LSTM?
I came to the UK in 2012 to do a PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). For my research, I led a process evaluation of the community-based component of a multi-level (community-, health facility- and district-level) quality improvement (QI) initiative. I stayed on there as staff after I finished in 2015. At LSHTM I led a realist evaluation of a QI initiative in southern Tanzania, which has the aim of operationalising QI within existing health and management infrastructure to be scaled up and sustained independent of external facilitation. Finally, I led the qualitative component of a theory of change-based evaluation of an electronic immunization data initiative in northern Tanzania and southern Zambia.

Other projects I was a part of include a global mapping study of health policy and systems research training. I also recently completed a large systematic literature review in which I was responsible for the synthesis of process and theoretical data.

Why have you moved to LSTM?
I was impressed by the fact that there is a whole centre established with the aim of improving the health of mothers and newborns. That was a big draw. Further, that there was a dedicated QI team, which really resonates with my research interests.

What do you hope to do in LSTM?
Support the many ongoing QI initiatives run out of CMNH. Hopefully I’ll be able to pursue some of my own research that can support the centre’s aims. Primarily, I’m interested in the (robust!) evaluation, scalability, and sustainability of QI. I’m particularly interested in the contextual factors that facilitate or inhibit this, and the myriad of human behaviours that underlie any successes or failures.

Obviously, I’m keen to befriend everyone here too—you seem like a good lot.