Improving the use of program evaluation for maximum health impact; guidelines and recommendations
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Improving the use of program evaluation for maximum health impact; guidelines and recommendations

Filetype[PDF-2.83 MB]


  • Description:
    Evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using data to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of programs and, as importantly, to contribute to continuous program improvement (see Appendix A for key definitions). CDC has a deep and long-standing commitment to the use of data for decision making, as well as the responsibility to describe the outcomes achieved with its public health dollars. When programs conduct strong, practical evaluations on a routine basis, the findings can both meet accountability mandates as well as improve program effectiveness. In an effort to bring greater consistency to the use of evaluation for these purposes, evaluation experts around the Agency developed a set of recommendations to inform evaluation planning and implementation. The goal is to increase the use of evaluation data for continuous program improvement Agency-wide. These are recommendations and not mandates because our programs vary so much in purpose, funding, and history. It is expected that the leadership of Centers, Divisions, and large programs will seriously and systematically consider which of these guidelines and recommendations are most important to improve evaluation capacity and the quality of program evaluations in their own organizations. Why are these guidelines and recommendations needed? Although program evaluation has always been a respected component of public health practice, the ability to conduct meaningful program evaluations has been constrained by wide differences in expertise, resources of programs, and commitment to evaluation. Unfortunately, as the accountability environment has intensified at all levels of government, public health programs often find themselves unable to make a persuasive case for the efficacy and effectiveness of their programs. Likewise, in an environment of scarce resources, we need more and better information about which interventions and approaches, of the many options open to us, are best suited to the problem. Strong program evaluation can help us identify our best investments as well as determine how to establish and sustain them as optimal practice. While the emphasis is on CDC practice, most of these recommendations, when implemented, will improve the ways in which partners, grantees, and community-based organizations evaluate and improve their program efforts as well.
  • Content Notes:
    November 2012.

    Available via the World Wide Web as an Acrobat .pdf file (137.37 KB, 4 p.).

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