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Community Science projects

Health Promotion and Equity

Evaluation of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA)

The federal Office of Minority Health (OMH) supports the NPA’s mission to end health disparities by leveraging private and public partnerships and integrating federal, state, tribal, and local community strategies and actions. The NPA was launched by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius, in April 2011. As part of Community Science’s role, we have:

  1. worked closely with OMH’s leaders to revise the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity, a key component of the NPA that documents the rationale for the NPA;
  2. led and facilitated discussions with OMH’s leadership and other contractors to develop and refine the strategies for communicating, implementing, and evaluating the NPA;
  3. shared lessons learned from the field about partnerships and coalitions as a strategy for mobilizing and sustaining systems change;
  4. conducted interviews with federal representatives to gather initial feedback regarding the role and responsibilities of the federal sector in advancing the NPA; and
  5. helped identify and refer key partners in philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to OMH.

To evaluate the NPA, Community Science is using a cross-case study approach which combines qualitative and quantitative methods to determine the effectiveness of the NPA in aligning (and influencing) federal, regional, state and local policies and activities in order to support NPA’s goals. We are conducting interviews and surveys and reviewing and analyzing archival data to weave together the multiple types of data needed to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the NPA’s implementation and effectiveness. We are also working with OMH’s key partners to extract data about how legislators, businesses, and state health officials have integrated the NPA’s values and strategies into their institutions and efforts. (2009 - ongoing)

Grantwriting to Build Capacity for Interdisciplinary Training in Global Health

Community Science worked with the University of Colorado’s Center for Global Health to build its capacity for interdisciplinary graduate training through the development of a fund that will more fully integrate the School of Medicine’s Global Health Track with the Colorado School of Public Health’s Certificate Program in Global Health programs. The development of a cross-school integrated capacity in Global Health will provide students with a broad understanding of global health issues, needs and solutions, practical skills for working on interdisciplinary teams, and competency in appreciating and responding to cultural diversity in health-related settings. Community Science researched suitable funders, developed a budget framework, and wrote a proposal to help accelerate program development efforts. (2010)

Evaluation of a Childhood Obesity Prevention Program in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8

The Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE) asked Community Science to design and conduct an evaluation that documents the program’s implementation and assesses the extent to which the project’s objectives were achieved. Community Science surveyed collaboration partners and conducted focus groups with Ward 8 residents, and submitted an annual report to inform the program’s ongoing improvement. (2009)

Assessment for the National Partnership for Women and Families’ Technical Assistance on Consumer Engagement

In 2006, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched Aligning Forces for Quality, a $300 million national health care quality initiative designed to build the capacity of 14 local communities to collaborate and influence health care quality outcomes. The primary goals of the program are to improve 1) the quality of chronic care in inpatient and outpatients settings, 2) public reporting of performance measures, and 3) consumer engagement. Community Science was contracted to conduct an assessment of the consumer engagement technical assistance provided by the National Partnership for Women and Families. We conducted interviews with grantees, project stakeholders, and local consumer advocates; made site visits to selected grantee communities; and developed an assessment report that helped the foundation improve its approach and strategy for achieving the goals of the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative . (2008-2009)

Evaluation of the Connecticut Health Foundation’s Ten-Year Objective to Improve Patient-Provider Relations and Reduce Health Disparities

Community Science was engaged by the foundation in 2007 to evaluate this particular ten-year objective. As part of the initial support, we helped the foundation convene and facilitate an advisory committee to develop a framework for improving patient-provider relations as a means to reducing health disparities. (2007-2008).

At around the same time, the foundation contracted with Community Science to evaluate its Health Literacy in Adult Education Settings initiative. This initiative aimed to infuse health literacy into the curricula of six adult education centers. Community Science conducted interviews center directors; conducted pre- and post-tests of students’ self-efficacy in health and health literacy knowledge; and surveyed the teachers. (2008–2009)

Guided by the framework mentioned above, we also conducted a retrospective and secondary analysis of the foundation’s discretionary grants related to patient-provider interactions. This report is a “live” document; we will update it every year to include new grants made by the foundation.

In 2008, the Connecticut Health Foundation, guided by the framework mentioned above, designed EQual, a two-year effort to assist private physician practices make quality improvements that will eventually lead to better patient-provider interactions. The first of its kind in Connecticut, this initiative is modeled after components of the Improvement Performance in Practice (IPIP) effort in Colorado. Community Science is evaluating EQual as part of our overall role to assess the degree to which the foundation achieves its ten-year objective. (2008-2011).

Evaluation of the Colorado Trust’s Equalities in Health Initiative

In 2006, The Colorado Trust funded 14 organizations to improve their cultural competency in order to strengthen their capacity to reduce health disparities. Community Science was engaged to evaluate the initiative, specifically assessing: 1) changes in cultural competency among grantees, 2) the influence of cultural competency changes on grantee interventions and short-term outcomes, 3) factors and conditions needed to bring about positive changes in organizational cultural competency, and 4) grantee progress and accomplishments over time.  Community Science continues to evaluate the efforts in the 14 organizations. You can view the final report under Publications/Evaluations/Additional Programs at www.coloradotrust.org.

Community Action Grant Program Phase I Evaluation

Community Science evaluated phase I of the Community Action Grant Program, funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The evaluation assessed the extent to which phase 1 grantees were able to 1) identify an exemplary practice in mental health service delivery or administration and 2) conduct a consensus-building process to build support and commitment among key stakeholders in the community to implement the identified practice. The evaluation, which focused on 80 grants funded between 1997 and 2000 that had completed phase I projects, determined consensus-building outcomes, as well as factors that promoted or impeded consensus building. (2002)

Facilitation of A Strategic Planning Process to Eliminate Health Disparities

The National Health Services Corps (NHSC) has been bringing health services to underserved communities for more than 25 years. Community Science assisted NHSC and its parent agency, the Bureau of Primary Health Care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to use NHSC's 25th anniversary celebration as an opportunity to increase the organization's role in eliminating disparities in access to health care and to focus public attention on the issue. Community Science facilitated a participatory strategic planning process and provided technical assistance for this effort. (1998)

ASSIST Evaluation Plan and Management

The American Stop Smoking Intervention Study Trial (ASSIST), funded by the National Cancer Institute, is the largest public health tobacco-control effort in U.S. history. This initiative supported state and local coalitions in 23 states to control tobacco use through policy and other systemic changes. Community Science facilitated the design of the evaluation, including the development of a logic model, conceptual development and operationalization of systems change measures, and development of preliminary statistical models. We facilitated workgroups of leading scientists, National Cancer Institute staff, and practitioners. We also designed the final evaluation plan and developed an evaluation management plan. (1997)

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