Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Evaluation Learning Groups: Integrating Participant Voice and Building Capacity

Session Number: 2786
Track: Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Michelle Brodesky [Evaluation Supervisor - Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.]
Discussant: Beth Slater [Research Analyst - Corporation for National and Community Service]
Presenter 1: Michelle Brodesky [Evaluation Supervisor - Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.]
Presenter 2: Nitya Venkateswaran [Senior Research Associate - RTI International]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Lisa Wolff [Health Resources in Action]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Jay Feldman [Program Director, Research - Select...]
Time: Nov 11, 2017 (11:15 AM - 12:00 PM)
Room: Jackson

Abstract 1 Title: Implementing a Regional Evaluation Learning Collaborative for Community Health Organizations: Strategies, Successes, and Lessons Learned from the Si Texas Project
Presentation Abstract 1:

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.’s Si Texas evaluation learning collaborative supports eight grantees’ rigorous evaluations by building evaluation capacity and engagement. Grantees provide integrated behavioral health services in South Texas communities with high rates of poverty, diabetes, and depression. For some, the Si Texas evaluation is their first encounter with formal evaluation, yet with guidance from evaluator Health Resources in Action, all are implementing quasi- or experimental designs. The evaluation learning collaborative builds grantee capacity to engage in this level of evaluation and provides space for consensus-building on issues affecting shared evaluation design. Strategies include quarterly meetings for peer-to-peer networking, learning, and trouble-shooting; one-on-one technical assistance from evaluators; and group webinars that support evaluation progress. This presentation will provide three unique perspectives: the funder, the evaluator, and a grantee. Conference attendees will learn: how these strategies were implemented; lessons learned; and how a grantee experiences the strategy.

Presentation 1 Other Authors: Maria Marlen Ramirez, Tropical Texas Behavioral Health
Abstract 2 Title: Engaging stakeholders in a national evaluation: Processes and pitfalls
Presentation Abstract 2:

In this presentation, the external evaluators share their perspective on the collaborative evaluation processes used to engage multiple stakeholders in a national RCT and QED evaluation. The evaluation will assess the impact of diverse social enterprises that offer jobs and support to those with severe barriers to employment. Because these social enterprises serve diverse clients (i.e. formerly incarcerated or homeless youth) and are diverse programmatically and geographically, the evaluators collaborated with the funder to develop an open and transparent process to ensure that the group was representative of the diversity, including former beneficiaries of the social enterprise services.   In this presentation, we highlight the formation of the group, how the evaluators engage stakeholders virtually, and how evaluators ensure that those organizations not in the group are kept involved in evaluation activities. This presentation will provide three unique perspectives: the funder, the evaluator, and a grantee.

Theme: Learning About Evaluation Use and Users
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Collaborative learning groups are a powerful tool evaluators can use to empower evaluation participants and implementers to strengthen evaluation design and execution. They are also effective vehicles for building evaluation capacity among organizations new to research. Featuring case studies of two Social Innovation Fund programs, this session will share specific strategies for implementing collaborative learning into evaluations. Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., a faith-based, not-for-profit dedicated to creating access to health care for uninsured and low-income families, implemented a local learning collaborative for grantees conducting RCTs and QEDs for its Si Texas initiative. REDF, which funds a national group of social enterprises that offer jobs and support to those with severe barriers to employment, created a national learning committee with a subset of their grantees. Presenters will compare the local versus national approach, collaborative learning model selection, member/role selection, facilitation strategies, content planning and highlight successes and challenges.


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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 16, 2017. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 16, 2017 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2017, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for the international requests. The $50 fee will be waived for registrants who planned to travel into the US and experienced international travel issues.