Leveraging big data to improve global health care quality

Faculty Member: Margaret Kruk

The major goals of the research group in Quality and Responsiveness of Global Health Systems are to develop novel metrics of health system quality in low- and middle-income countries and to investigate the determinants and consequences of poor quality to inform quality improvement interventions. We work with publicly available secondary data, such as Service Provision Assessment (SPA) surveys, and are currently undertaking a major analysis to identify more efficient metrics for health facility quality in low-and middle-income countries. This analysis involves extracting as much standardized data as possible from SPA surveys and similar assessments as the basis for data reduction techniques such as machine learning and cross validation. The responsibilities of the research assistant would include coding and management of these datasets in preparation for analysis. In addition to building skills in management of complex observational data, the RA would have the opportunity to conduct basic descriptive analyses and/or to undertake a targeted synthesis of relevant literature in the fields of statistics, measurement, and global health. The RA would work with a small research group under the supervision of a postdoctoral fellow.

RA Duties: Identify indicators of health facility quality from existing global standards and map indicators across existing datasets. Assist in data cleaning and creation of standardized variables from multiple surveys of health facilities in low-and middle-income countries. Perform basic descriptive analyses using proposed metrics of health facility quality. Review relevant literature.


  • Attention to detail
  • Exposure to a statistical program (preferably Stata or R)
  • Interest in global health
  • Must be a Harvard College undergraduate

To apply, please send your C.V. and provide contact information for one reference to Postdoctoral Fellow Hannah Leslie at hleslie@hsph.harvard.edu

This position is part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URS) in the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. If hired, students will participate in the IQSS URS program. Scholars must be current Harvard College undergraduates.