Avenir Health staff are pioneers in the field of demographic and projection modeling and have produced many of the models currently being used by reproductive health and HIV/AIDS experts around the world. These models are developed in response to direct needs expressed by donors, international development organizations, and national governments and are designed to use available data to produce outputs that are relevant to program policy and planning. Avenir Health takes a uniquely collaborative approach to model development and routinely works with groups of experts such as the UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Models and Projections and the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG). The model development process also includes country applications in order to test the models in real-life uses and generate feedback from intended users. This process results in models that are informed by a variety of experts and establishes a rigorous vetting process.
Avenir Health also specializes in making these complex models user-friendly and accessible to a variety of audiences. This has led to the development of the Spectrum modeling system, which has a simple framework and an easy to navigate layout. Completed models are well documented and generally include manuals, training materials, and default databases. Systematic review keep the models update with a continuous process of use, feedback, review, and update.
Avenir Health performs modeling activities for a variety of clients and includes the application of well established models, such as those included in Spectrum, as well as the development of use specific models that assist organizations and governments to answer critical health related questions. Such as, what is the impact of contraceptive stock-outs on overall contraceptive prevalence and what would be the estimated impact of focusing health interventions on specific population subgroups. Starting in the late 1970s, Avenir Health's president John Stover was involved in the development and implementation of the RAPID tool to engage policy makers in dialogue about the impacts of rapid population growth and high fertility. Similar models have been developed and used to improve the policy environment and planning for HIV/AIDS, adolescent reproductive health, maternal health, child health and TB. Most recently, these tools have been combined into a comprehensive tool that helps health planners develop comprehensive medium range health plans and budgets from both a programmatic and health systems point of view.
The data and information produced by Avenir Health’s models improve data driven health-related decision making processes, through the use of a variety of mechanisms. These include:
- The development and use of models for evidence-based advocacy, policy and planning. Avenir Health has been involved in developing and implementing advocacy models, such as RAPID and AIDS Impact Model (AIM), which use an array of scientific and programmatic data to help policy makers understand the consequences of current health trends and potential solutions. Planning models such as Goals and the Resource Needs Model use available data to estimate the resources and effort required to achieve national goals.
- Facilitation of dialogue. Often, there is a disconnect in the policy planning process, whereby those with access to data sources may not know how to utilize them for in-depth analysis or present them in an efficient manner to policy makers. The Avenir Health works as a conduit to create opportunities for all of stakeholders, (e.g., researchers, analysts, policy makers and community and grass roots leaders) to come together to discuss what the data show, and how they effect key policy questions.