We Need More Doing

December 03, 2015
Mind the Gap
We need to close the know-do gap.

By Michelle Roberts, first-year MSc-GH student

As the end of the semester approaches (finally!), more and more of our classes talk about implementation.

So, our professors say, you have all these great things that we know workwhat do you do about it?

Well, we don’t know.

Science is hardly the easy part—yet, in dealing with people, we face the true obstacles of global health. 

How do we bridge the gap between the ivory tower of academia and the people who actually need help? 

Is science always the answer?

These questions can’t be answered in a laboratory, in a single study, perhaps not scientifically at allthey certainly can’t be answered in a blog post. 

This is because the know-do gap is a problem everywhere.

Paul Farmer said, “What I can argue is that no one should have to die of a disease that is treatable.” I think that’s a common sentiment among global health researchers and practitioners, yet we’re not always great at implementing the available treatments. As a discipline, we need to work on that.

In the last Global Health Challenge class of the semester, the guest lecturer, DGHI professor Gavin Yamey spoke about the transition from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals and the potential for both as a force for good. He said that universities could be the eyes and earsand sometimes the moral compassin doing this sort of work. 

As academics, we must be mindful of this in striving to actualize research and realize change—that is, bridging the gap between what we know and what we can do.