DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY-BASED EVALUATION NETWORKS TARGETING THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES (CENTERED)

FUNDING SOURCE: CDC PRC Special Interest Project, U48/ccu4499664 SIP 25-99, 1999 – 2003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Delores Pluto, PhD and Donald Goodwin, MS, DrPH

CENTERED (Community-Based Evaluation Networks Targeting Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Disparities) was first funded in 1999 as a joint project between the University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The project's goal was to develop tools and strategies for evaluating community-based efforts for eliminating health disparities.  In addition, the Project developed technical support networks to provide assistance to community groups in implementing program evaluations.

CENTERED convened a twenty-five member national Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) to design a set of methods for evaluating community-based health programs that target the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities.  The BRP members come from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds (13 African American, 3 White, 4 Hispanic or Latino, 3 Asian and Pacific Islander, and 2 Native Americans) and bring a wide array of experiences and expertise to the project (10 are academics, 4 work with government agencies, 8 work with community-based organizations, 1 works with a major health maintenance organization, 1 works for a major philanthropic organization, and 1 works in radio and mass media).

The following three major products were developed by the CENTERED project.

An Evaluation Framework for Community Health Programs
An Evaluation Framework for Community Health Programs was produced in June 2000 by the Center for the Advancement of Community Based Public Health in North Carolina through CENTERED supplemental funds.  It was developed out of the Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health (published in the September 17, 1999 issues of MMWR Recommendations and Reports, 48(RR-11)) developed by the CDC Evaluation Working Group.

Pathways to Evaluation
The second product, Pathways to Evaluation, was developed out of a project membership consensus that traditional evaluation applications were in many cases neither appropriate nor relevant to the needs of community-based organizations serving racial and ethnic communities.  Pathways to Evaluation recognizes multiple perspectives and approaches to evaluation.  It reflects discussions and perspectives on why evaluation of community-based interventions addressing health disparities must be changed. It sets out some principles for community-based interventions and some alternative starting points or pathways for evaluation in this context.

The CENTERED Evaluation Guide
Finally, the CENTERED Evaluation Guide was developed to address aspects of the evaluation process felt to be most important for those community-based organizations that are working to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.  This includes taking steps to assure that evaluation planning and implementation processes are participatory in nature and effectively empowering in the process those most impacted by health disparities.  The document also includes consideration of racism as a probable contributor to local health disparities; and, the use of "racial equity indicators" as a method for monitoring efforts to eliminate racial inequities, including health disparities.  The intent is for the Guide is to complement the excellent evaluation resources already available to community-based organizations.