CIET is a group of non-profit foundations, charities, non-governmental organisations and institutes dedicated to building the community voice into planning.
Professor Neil Andersson started CIET, Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales (Tropical Disease Research Centre), in Mexico in 1985 to promote wider participation in health planning. In Canada, the name became "Community Information and Epidemiological Technologies," reflecting the broader application of epidemiological methods to research areas beyond the health field.
CIET does epidemiological research and training – with a special purpose.
Our aim is to move epidemiology’s centre of gravity from universities in rich countries toward places and situations where it is needed most: in developing countries, in emergencies and among marginalised populations. We want to see epidemiology used to make public services work better, reach more who need them, and be more accountable. And in addition to medical epidemics, we want to see epidemiology used against social epidemics like gender violence and corruption.
Achieving this has much to do with where the epidemiology skills reside. CIET builds research capacity in communities, among local and regional health workers and in centres of emerging national research capacity.
To build effective research skills, we ourselves have to do quality research. We focus on evidence that can be used to achieve an impact, using a particular mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. A core CIET capacity is large scale randomised controlled trials. But it is not enough to identify solutions. The CIET strategy for moving from research to decisions is to communicate evidence effectively. As researchers and research trainers, we build partnerships in a process we call SEPA: socializing evidence for participatory action.
CIET has offices in Botswana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
CIET research interests shift with the needs of its partner communities, from health to education, from agriculture to micro-regional development, from the impact of land mines to monitoring child rights, from public transport to the justice system. By involving community members in information gathering and analysis, CIET helps them participate, in an increasingly informed way, in decisions that affect their lives.
The acronym CIET comes from the name of the research centre in Mexico where the organization began in 1985: Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales(Tropical Disease Research Centre). When CIET registered in February 1994 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in New York, the name became “Community Information and Epidemiological Technologies,” reflecting the broader application of epidemiological methods to research areas beyond the health field. More recently, in South Africa and Europe, CIET has come to stand for “Community Information, Empowerment and Transparency.”