The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Palix Foundation’s Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, is leading the three-year initiative Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities. The initiative aims to help service providers infuse research on adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress, and brain development into their organizations’ programs, practices, and policies, and work with others to support systems and policy change, impacting child and family outcomes across the life course. Fifteen nonprofit organizations will lead these efforts across communities in the U.S. and Alberta, Canada.
Community Science is leading the evaluation team for the Change in Mind initiative. The evaluation team is joined by Mark Cabaj, President, Here to There Consulting, and Aimee White, Owner and Principal Evaluator, Custom Evaluation Services. Using a developmental evaluation approach, the evaluation team will support the cohort in developing and testing its site-specific theories of change, and measuring its outcomes at the organizational, community, and systems levels. Rapid-cycle evaluation methods will be incorporated to assess the implementation and results of the sites’ change strategies, and to help the sites respond to emerging issues efficiently and effectively.
Most recently, the evaluation team traveled to Chicago, Illinois, and Calgary, Alberta, to support the cohort during its first two in-person convenings. In Chicago, the cohort furthered its understanding of foundational brain science and learned about emerging research in the field. During this convening, the cohort also began to establish priorities it will advance throughout the initiative. In Calgary, sites shared their theories of change, discussed evaluation methods and measures, and developed a better understanding of how their organizations can drive systems change.