Bulletin BIREME n° 7

Teamwork for organizational innovation and strengthening

The Latin American and the Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME) has an organizational structure of governance, management and operation aligned with the effective implementation of its biannual working plan within the scope of its technical cooperation for access and management of health information. Thus, it has been improving its internal climate to encourage continuous learning and the development of competencies at different levels.

treinobir1BIREME is constantly promoting social activities to exchange knowledge, experiences and information.   Both managerial and operational staff participate in these activities with the aim of dealing with the changes in the institutional setting and with the activities of its technical cooperation program.

Café com Ideias is an example of this kind of activities. It is a monthly meeting of BIREME team and an opportunity to discuss relevant topics of each Department, presented by members of the staff. Birthdays of the month are also celebrated during these meetings. In addition to the topics discussed, the Director of BIREME presents a summary of the main events and developments that took place on the operation of the Center. Another knowledge sharing practice is the program BIREME Sabe o que sabe, with presentations and seminars organized with the coordination of one member of staff or an invited expert from partner institutions. The topic discussed can be a relevant subject on the PAHO/WHO calendar, a project proposal or outcome, methodologies, technologies, a report on participation in events, among others.

On this regard and also as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of BIREME, a training workshop for the development of the effectiveness of teamwork was held on April 13th, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the attendance of all the staff members from BIREME. The event had the support of the Human Resource Area of PAHO/WHO and it took place in a different venue from the Center facilities in order to allow a greater involvement of everyone on the relevant activities.


The basic structure of the training session took into account the conceptual and behavioral alignment of five main themes that characterize cohesive teams, such as (1) trust; (2) relationship and conflict; (3) commitment ; (4) responsibility; and (5) focus and attention on result. The following sentences guided the activities:

  • trust is the basis of teamwork, and it requires honesty and transparency by team members;
  • with trust, team members get involved in debates contributing with proposals and building ideas;
  • participation in a debate of ideas generates commitment with effective decisions;
  • when everyone is committed with a clear action plan, there is room for accountability with high levels of dedication and quality; and
  • more trust, fewer conflicts, more commitment and more responsibility generate results.

The experience-based approach focused on integration, alignment and allowing people to reach their full potential for building and keeping cohesive teams that artreinobir2-300x137e aware of their purpose and mission in relation to the vision, mission, goals, objectives and challenges of BIREME were the main focuses. The program was prepared to provide energy and to generate motivation and mobilization inputs, creating understanding and a shared vision, as well as to generate cohesion behavior and movements, according to specific priorities and demands.

At the end of each activity, there was a self-assessment for the team considering the five main topics and at the end of the training workshop, once the team was  aware of its potential to transform and improve, the members agreed on some commitments that should be assessed and updated periodically with the expectation of providing feedback for the whole team to grow.

This line of action mobilizes the commitment of members of staff with the mission and with the objectives of PAHO/WHO and BIREME, especially through teamwork and innovation.



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