How are we working to achieve our goals

Our work towards achieving our five key goals (see right) involves initiating, running and reporting on a host of projects across the Society via joint initiatives, working groups and committees. (Further details of how we’ve broken down the goals into smaller projects and prioritised them can be found on page 18 of our Strategic Plan).

Responsibilities to drive these activities are currently allocated to the Secretariat and SISN’s Board, but ultimately many activities will be designated to an evolving portfolio of experts and ambassadors drawn from the Society’s diverse membership and beyond. We post such opportunities in the Get Involved section of this site and via our newsletter.

Goals, highlights and teams for our current initiatives can be found below (click on the + signs below to reveal the full details).

Details of our past initiatives can be found here.

Joint Initiatives

The Implementation Science Initiative (ISI) to improve the implementation of Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (IFAS) programs for women in Kenya and Uganda

SISN has partnered with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) under a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) grant to improve the implementation of Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (IFAS) programs for women in Kenya and Uganda.

The Implementation Science Initiative seeks to apply an implementation science (IS) approach and create a galvanized coalition of policymakers, program actors, and researchers in each country in order to strengthen IFAS programs during implementation. The initiative will provide the opportunity to learn how to build the capacity for and practice of IS through a facilitated process of learning-by-doing.  The goal is to strengthen program implementation by:

  1. Closing a knowledge utilization gap by integrate existing evidence into policy and programmatic decisions through technical assistance, mentoring and knowledge brokering
  2. When necessary, conducting practical implementation research (IR) in the form of rapid assessments, operations research, process evaluation or other exercises, as appropriate to address the critical challenges facing implementers and policymakers.

3ie and SISN have partnered with URC in Uganda and FHI360 in Kenya to provide the implementation arena for the initiative. In each country, a core team was created and include at least a senior nutrition expert from an NGO, a senior Ministry of Health nutrition official, researcher(s) and a project manager/knowledge broker. More specifically, the core team members are working together to:

  1. Identify implementation bottlenecks in IFAS program
  2. Facilitate access to and utilization of existing knowledge to address them, when possible
  3. Conduct IR and facilitate the use of findings, when necessary
  4. Facilitate capacity building for IS/IR, through learning-by-doing
  5. Cultivate interest in IS/IR within the larger nutrition community in the country.

In 2018, the initiative was launched in June through an inception workshop in Uganda in which the country core teams from Kenya and Uganda worked to develop and strengthen their proposals to undertake the IS approach in their country. The workshop aimed to foster partnership among the national core team members and provide guidance on IS principles and approach. By the end of the year, each core team had carried out a bottleneck assessment workshop of their IFAS programs; it consisted of a comprehensive systemic and systematic tool used with participants working at various levels in the national system.

In 2019, the work to operationalize the six components of the initiative in country intensified:

  1. National core team to apply an IS approach
  2. Creation and continuous updating of a bottleneck inventory
  3. IR
  4. Knowledge brokering strategy
  5. IS network to build national interest and capacity for IS/IR
  6. Ongoing documentation of the experiences.

The documentation of the experiences allows sharing lessons learned among countries during the implementation of the initiative. The core teams are currently working towards the undertaking of their IR studies.

In 2020, during the final year of the initiative, the analysis to articulate the insights gained throughout the initiative have intensified. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several adaptations to planned activities were necessary. However, due to the flexibility of the approach to reach its four intended results, the teams and SISN have intensified efforts to adapt to the continually evolving contexts.

Milestones and Achievements
  • Webinar on the focused ethnographic study (FES) approach (February 2020)
  • Joint development of a manual to carry out a FES on antenatal care (ANC) attendance and iron and folic acid supplementation (IFAS) adherence (May-June 2020)
  • Undertaking of a process evaluation of the implementation of an intervention (enhanced support for quality improvement) in Uganda
  • Intensification of the analysis of the documentation of the experiences to draw diverse types of learnings over the course of the whole initiative

Project Leader

David Pelletier (SISN Past President)

Project Team

Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau (SISN Sr Technical Expert)

David de Ferranti (3ie)

Carolyn Huang (3ie)

Marie-Eve Augier (3ie)

SISN Committees and Working Groups

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee support the President by participating in strategic planning. They are responsible for overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan and board policies, and making sure that the board and working groups are establishing and maintaining good governance practices. The Executive Committee also replaced the Finance Committee in providing oversight on the Society’s finances. The Executive Committee addresses pressing issues, prioritizes items for the full board to address, and reports their activities to the board.

Committee Chair

Peggy Bentley (SISN President)


Gretel Pelto (SISN Vice President)

David Pelletier (SISN Past President)

Megan Bourassa (SISN Treasurer)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Chief of Operations)

Finance Team

The Finance Team is responsible for the day to day financial management, and hold regular meetings to discuss the Society’s financial matters.

Team Chair

Megan Bourassa (SISN Treasurer)

Project Team

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Chief of Operations)

Altruic Advisors (SISN CPA/Bookkeepers)

Communications Working Group

The role of the Communications Working Group of SISN is to formalize and diversely disseminate messages that succinctly capture the mission, vision and strategic plan of the Society and add value to it’s audiences. Specifically to:

  • Provide direction on the communications strategy and planning
  • Enhance the visibility and image of the Society and support the drive for membership and the delivery of value to the Society’s different audiences
  • Ensure that the Society is at the forefront of the IS/IR nutrition agenda and collects and disseminates up to date, high-quality and relevant information in an appropriate and timely fashion
  • Oversee the delivery of the communications activities with the development of relevant content for the Society’s communication channels.
Milestones and Achievements
  1. Published 10 blogs
  2. Hosted 4 webinars
  3. Launched the IS Knowledge Hub searchable online database
  4. Achieved over 16,000 clicks to the SISN website
  5. Grew SISN’s social media following to 517 on Twitter and 350 on LinkedIn
  6. Reached more than 750 people with the SISN quarterly newsletter
  1. Develop and implement a communications strategy and content plan
  2. Maintain and update the SISN website
  3. Host an interactive webinar series
  4. Disseminate a quarterly newsletter including recent SISN news and resource round-up section
  5. Have an active presence at live events e.g. ASN
  6. Engage with SISN members through surveys, webinar attendance, guest blogs, etc

WG Chair

Naomi Cahill (SISN Communications)

Project Team

Mduduzi Mbuya (SISN Chief Information Officer)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Chief of Operations)

Gilles Bergeron (SISN Councilor)

Implementation Science Initiative (ISI) Working Group

The ISI Working Group was convened to help oversee the appropriate management of ISI grant funds, ensuring that the deliverables are completed in line with contractual obligations. Its mandate is to:

  • Receive periodic updates on the initiative to monitor progress, help identify emergent lessons and insights and provide guidance and problem-solving as may be required
  • Provide technical backup to the SISN senior technical advisor as may be required
  • Provide guidance on which aspects of the experience might be highest priority as topics for the broader nutrition scientific and practitioner community via SISN global webinars.
Milestones and Achievements
  • Working group formed

WG Chair

David Pelletier (SISN Past President)

Project Team

Gilles Bergeron (SISN Councilor)

Gretel Pelto (SISN Vice President)

Alison Tumilowicz (BMGF, Program Officer)

Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau (SISN Sr Tech Advisor)

Membership Working Group

The Membership Working Group’s mandate is to:

  • Provide initiatives, advice and recommendations to the Board on matters related to membership, recruitment and engagement and ensure implementation upon receiving approval from the Board
  • To provide a platform for the creation, development and evaluation of membership engagement initiatives and activities to enhance the image and credibility of the Society.
  • Oversee the delivery of SISN’s membership-related activities
  • To provide members with excellent resources, value-added resources and opportunities for engagement
  • To review and sign off any membership related material in consultation with the appropriate Councilor.
Milestones and Achievements
  1. Membership criteria and application process reviewed and streamlined
  1. Membership survey disseminated and analysed
  1. Membership criteria and application process agreed
  2. Online application process and payment system implemented

WG Chair

Kenda Cunningham  (SISN Councilor)

Project Team

Eva Monterrosa (SISN Member Volunteer)

Laura Hackl (SISN Member Volunteer)

Caroline Skirrow (SISN Chief of Operations)

Andrea Warren (SISN Councilor)

Naomi Cahill (SISN Communications)

Methods Working Group
The Methods Working Group’s mandate is to:
  • Contribute to advancing the theory, methods and conduct of implementation science (IS) in nutrition by strengthening the methods for implementation research (IR)
  • To lead and cultivate the Society’s discussion and activities around the sound development and practice of methods of IS/IR in nutrition
  • To enable a place for members to share their knowledge, understanding and experience in methods and types of methods for IR in nutrition, by enquiring, learning and reporting and curating information collected through surveys, questionnaires and other means as appropriate
  • To enable a platform for the sharing and learning on methods used in IS and IR in nutrition among SISN’s members and to guide that process
  • To provide members with excellent resources, tools, knowledge on the methods for IR in nutrition, and further provide opportunities for engagement to strengthen methods for IR
  • To make the information on methods for IR available, usable and workable for purposes including but not limited to: reports, funding proposals, training, webinars, resource materials, etc
  • To oversee the delivery of SISN’s methods-related activities
Milestones and achievements:
  1. Methods survey developed, disseminated and analysed

WG Chair

Edward Frongillo (SISN Councilor)

Project Team

Gretel Pelto (SISN Vice President)

Stephanie Martin (SISN Member Volunteer)

Sorrel Namaste (SISN Member Volunteer)

Barbara Reed (SISN Member Volunteer)

Roseanne Shuster (SISN Member Volunteer)

SISN Events

  • At the American Society of Nutrition’s annual meeting, Nutrition2019, in Baltimore, June 8-11, SISN facilitated a workshop on Implementation Science.
  • At the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week in Hyderabad, India 24 – 28 June, SISN facilitated a Learning Lab on Implementation Science in Nutrition

N.B. This information will be periodically updated to keep you posted on our achievements and mark our progress towards our goals. Last updated on May 29th, 2020.