Evaluation and Tracking

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Lead: Tabia Henry Akintobi

This unit serves and supports the component areas of the R-CENTER by addressing the timely performance and successful accomplishment of all of the specific aims for each of the program areas. Tracking and Evaluation is a resource to all of the cores with a specific focus on the design, implementation and assessment of performance measures as the cores accomplish their specific aims.

 

Evaluation and Tracking Goals

The long-term goal for the R-CENTER is to strengthen MSM's research capacity. Therefore, we designed the evaluation function and activities to reinforce the strategies and the implementation of core activities to achieve our goal.

The evaluation framework adopted by MSM's R-CENTER initiates a process of including evaluation from the proposal planning, submission stage to the implementation and performance stage across institutional and center components housed within a vibrant research enterprise. This inclusive practice is a seminal step in proposal and center planning with evaluation implementation that reinforces the importance of a proactive evaluation process. This evaluation perspective supports the process as ongoing and integrated into center operations from initiation as opposed to conducting summative evaluation as an end product. The processes we are adopting allows all of the key stakeholders to share a common language, approach and perspective that will support continuous monitoring and quality improvement of the center's projects, activities, outputs and ultimately improve the probability of the successful translation of scientific findings to those in our surrounding communities. The evaluation model is integrative, dynamic and reflective of common aims given that the evaluation model we are using is a CDC based model that includes the evaluation standards of the logic model framework of utility, feasibility, propriety and accuracy.

The R-CENTER has adopted an evaluation approach that builds upon the evaluation component outlined in the original proposal. This approach supports individual input by each director as they plan their strategies to implement the activities developed in their cores. In using this approach, evaluation becomes an initial focus of the design of the activities, as they are planned and implemented. Therefore, we consider evaluation at the beginning of the planning process and through implementation of each core's activities; in order to achieve the ultimate impact of the core's activities and to document the process and product outcomes which become part of the ongoing evaluation strategy as well. In addition, the key administrators and key personnel are all in agreement and understand the significance of the evaluation component and related activities.

The MSM model for evaluation draws substantially on the resources generated and/or produced by the CDC Evaluation Working Group. Through this lens, we see our MSM R-CENTER model for evaluation as an integrated, systematic approach that allows for monitoring and continuous quality improvement over time which supports all of the cores as they focus on a common approach using a common language. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health. MMWR 1999; 48(No. RR-11).Our Prevention Research Center funded by CDC is currently at the forefront of utilizing evaluation as a key function and the ACTSI initiative with Emory University also embraces the evaluation function and its subsequent importance in achieving the expected outcomes of that project. Therefore, this initial phase of the development of the evaluation component for the R-CENTER relies heavily on ongoing evaluation processes already in place and will consist of specifically identifying and collecting descriptive information and plans for each core based on the original proposal and personal interviews with each of the component directors to fill in the specific details of activities, performance measures, anticipated outcomes and the projected impact of the cumulative effect of these activities.

The outcome of collecting time lines and building logic models for each core has allowed each director to provide input into the development of their specifically tailored performance model. We have tailored each logic model by adopting this collaborative approach, in order to design each logic model to reflect accurately the center's four specific aims, developed and adapted to fit the individual core's objectives and activities, as perceived and projected by the unit director.