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Reflections on the 2015 Annual Principal Investigators' Meeting

PMA2020 team gathers in Baltimore to reflect on progress, plan for the road ahead

PMA2020 team members from across the globe gathered in March to reflect on two years of successes and lessons learned while planning the project’s future. Principal investigators from all seven ongoing project countries came together with program staff and faculty in Baltimore for the second annual PMA2020 Principal Investigators' Meeting at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Teams shared experiences from data collection, analysis, and dissemination and worked together to identify common challenges and develop strategic plans and guidelines for the project’s continued growth.

Setting the tone for the week, a panel of colleagues from FP2020, Track20, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discussed the global context within which PMA2020 was conceived and continues to operate. Based on the ensuing discussion about how PMA2020 data is currently being used and opportunities for future growth, the team revised a formal business plan to guide expansion in line with PMA2020’s mission and vision.

Throughout the week, the project worked closely with colleagues from Advance Family Planning (AFP), who were on site for their annual partners' meeting. The two projects, both housed in the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, discussed opportunities for increased collaboration and explored how PMA2020 data can contribute to AFP’s local advocacy efforts. Both PMA2020 and AFP country-level staff received hands-on media engagement training – a key skill for disseminating program findings and sharing information at the local level about critical reproductive health issues.

Project staff explored new approaches to facilitate data collection and results dissemination, with a special focus on expanding use of survey data for decision-making. The team also revisited existing guidelines and templates to ensure that standardized practices for authorship, reporting, and survey revisions are established and agreed upon across the project. The value of the annual meeting was clear when team members shared their key takeaways on the last day of the meeting. As one principal investigator said, “We need more of these meetings!”