New Resource Authored by Alumna Nicole Grable Aims to Change Provider Behavior to Improve Health Outcomes

Behavior change strategies play a critical role in advancing global public health as countries around the world continue to work towards eradicating the issues set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals. For Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) alumna Nicole Grable, MPH ’15, it’s not only changing behaviors, but removing barriers for providers so they are able to provide the best care to their patients. In a new resource, “Strategies for Changing the Behavior of Private Providers,” Grable and her co-author Samantha Lint provide a framework for successfully reaching and influencing provider decision-making and behaviors with real-world case studies that reinforce the framework.  

The primer was produced through the USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project led by Abt Associates. The SHOPS project is USAID’s flagship initiative in private sector health. Grable began working on the primer with Abt while still a Milken Institute SPH student during the summer of 2015.

Nicole in Bangladesh while working for PSI

Grable came to the George Washington University with nearly 15 years of professional experience working in various roles in the private sector, including healthcare, as well as roles in international development. She was able to use her professional and academic experience in combination with market research on how to reach U.S. providers and their decision making process to develop a framework that can be applied to the global health community. This primer is not only a resource for field staff implementing private provider behavior change programs, but also to help donors understand provider behavior and what is required to improve care.

Grable was moved to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) after spending two years living and volunteering in Africa and India. She became connected to the communities in which she worked, and saw first-hand the challenges they face and the health conditions they suffer from. “It got so deep in my soul that I couldn’t not do something to make a difference,” she said.

Returning home to California, she thought she needed to pursue a Master of Business Administration, but a conversation with a doctor with whom she worked showed her that she could combine her business expertise with her passion for public health through an MPH in global health communication. She knew I wanted to focus on changing behaviors to improve health outcomes, Grable said. “She told me, ‘you’ve been changing my behavior for years,’” Grable said. “She pegged it –I had been changing her behavior for years.” It was only when looking back that I could so clearly connect the dots, she says.

Grable is currently working in the private sector in DC on international business development. Her goal is to use her professional experience, and technical experience gained through the MPH program along with her field experience to better integrate successful private sector strategies into global health programs to make them more successful.