In partnership with American Indian and Alaska Native people, to raise their physical, mental, social, and spiritual health to the highest level.
The goal of the Indian Health Service (IHS) is to assure that comprehensive, culturally acceptable, personal and public health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people. The importance of evaluation in supporting this goal has increased significantly in recent years and includes American Indians and Alaska Natives as the primary stakeholders in defining the purpose, design, and execution of evaluations. The stakeholders use the end product of the evaluations, and are the population or groups most likely to be affected by the findings. The IHS has formally adopted the principle of a responsive evaluation practice to address the needs and concerns of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Each year IHS selects high-priority health care and management studies for funding through the submission of proposals to headquarters and Area Offices. These proposals are reviewed and rated by a panel of subject-matter experts, evaluation experts, and IHS staff for concurrence with IHS strategic goals, objectives, and priority areas. The proposals are then prioritized and forwarded to the IHS Director, who reviews the projects that are recommended for funding and determines the respective funding levels.
The evaluation needs of the IHS service components are coordinated using two major types of short-term studies: policy assessments and program evaluations. Policy assessments contribute to decision making about budget, legislation, and program modifications including information to support the Agency’s initiatives. Evaluations are focused at the program level, or Area Offices, and focus on specific needs.
The evaluation program of the IHS is managed by the Office of Public Health Support, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Research, which provides national leadership and consultation for IHS and Area Offices on strategic and tactical planning, program evaluation and assessment, public health and medical services, research agendas, and special public health initiatives for the Agency.