Performance Improvement 2000. Chapter II. Highlights of Outstanding Evaluations Completed During Fiscal Year 1999


In this chapter, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlights evaluations of general interest to the public health, health care services, and human services community, and illustrates the diversity of HHS evaluations completed in fiscal year (FY) 1999. Included are summaries of six evaluation projects selected by the HHS Evaluation Review Panel, a group of outside evaluation experts. The Panel reviewed 26 reports nominated by HHS agencies and selected the reports to be highlighted in this chapter on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Is the report important? Does it address a significant issue or problem for which evaluation would confirm or change program direction, or measure program impact? Are the findings likely to be useful and generalizable?
  • Is the report methodologically sound? Are its concepts, designs, data collection, and analyses conducted and reported in a competent manner?
  • Is the report faithful to the data? Do the conclusions and recommendations logically follow from the data and analyses, and are they relevant to the questions asked?

These criteria are more fully described in the Appendix.

The six studies are organized under two headings: program effectiveness evaluations and environmental assessments. These headings represent two common uses of HHS evaluation resources. Program effectiveness evaluation provides a way to determine the impact of the Departments programs on achieving intended goals and objectives. Environmental assessment is the way we understand the forces of change in the health and human services environment that will influence the success of our programs and the achievement of our goals and objectives.