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Applying the Lessons: Evaluating Community Impact

Posted on October 12, 2016
By Glenn Landers

In Tamarack’s Evaluating Community Impact Community of Practice, Mark Cabaj and Liz Weaver remind us that traditional evaluation tends to focus on evaluating the effects of discrete, programmatic interventions. This approach is not well suited to assist social innovators in addressing complex issues embedded in diverse and often fast moving contexts. The question becomes how do we complement the traditional focus of program evaluation with a broader focus on evaluating changes at the system level? And how do we, as evaluators, improve the probabilities that evaluation feedback is timely, relevant, and used?

The points Mark and Liz make have never been more relevant than now in the work of the Georgia Health Policy Center. We currently work on more than 70 projects nationwide. Working across a dynamic health system with multiple stakeholders and interests has always been a challenge. The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 has made the work that much more complex and, of course, more interesting.

The Georgia Health Policy Center’s entire evaluation staff recently participated in a tailored, onsite workshop delivered by Tamarack. As the center thinks about how we engage with our varied partners, we will draw on the frameworks and tools discussed in the workshop – the simple versus complex challenge rubric and the adaptive cycle, in particular.

We’re applying these tools in our work with the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI), which is working to improve health and the social determinants of health using a collective impact framework, and our work as the national coordinating center forBridging for Health: Improving Community Health Through Innovations in Financing, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Our partnership with Tamarack raised the level of our evaluation practice throughout the organization. We believe this is reflected in how we engage with partners and in the results we measure.

Learn More:

Evaluating Community Impact

Glenn Landers

By Glenn Landers

Glenn Landers is an associate project director at the Georgia Health Policy Center. His areas of expertise include long-term services and supports, health reform, and evaluation.

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