Performance Improvement 2000. Chapter I. Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services


Evaluation plays an integral role in carrying out the HHS mission. Assessing various aspects of agency program performance allows staff to identify means of improving that performance. The HHS evaluation function has three goals: (1) to provide information on HHS programs that helps government officials and members of the Congress make decisions related to programs, policies, budgets, and strategic planning; (2) to help HHS managers improve program operations and performance; and (3) to disseminate evaluation results and methodological tools useful to the larger health and human services community of State and local officials, researchers, advocates, and practitioners for improving the performance of their programs.

This chapter describes the organization and operation of evaluation at HHS. It first provides a working definition of evaluation and the various types of studies or projects supported by HHS agencies. Following is a description of the resources and funding mechanisms used to support evaluations. The remaining chapter sections provide details on various aspects of the management of HHS evaluation activities, such as the role played in departmental planning initiatives, how evaluation projects are managed; how HHS agencies ensure technical quality of evaluation projects, and promote effective dissemination and use of evaluation results.