Performance Improvement 2010. Strengthen Research and Evaluation Methods and Accountability


Survey instruments were developed to collect data from Loan Repayment Program applicants and recipients to determine how the program affected the recruitment and retention of health professionals in research careers.  The National Institutes of Health's Extramural Loan Repayment Programs were created to help recruit and retain doctoral-level health professionals in biomedical research by repaying qualified educational debt.  Surveys were designed to cover several key areas related to recruitment and retention, including program participation, mentorship, research career, professional activity, and debt reduction.  The study produced three annual surveys: the Post-Participation survey, the Submitted Application survey, and the Un-submitted Application survey. (9180)

Fundamentals of Evaluating Partnerships is an evaluation technical assistance tool that provides approaches to, and methods for, evaluating partnerships with a focus on using results to improve the partnership.  The tool is based on, and applies, a six step evaluation framework as well as current theory on partnerships.  A guide developed in the project discusses how to identify and engage stakeholders in partnership evaluation, identifies evaluation questions appropriate for the partnership's stage of development and expectations, gathering evidence for the evaluation, justifying conclusions, and using evaluation results.  The guide provides tools and examples to assist in the assessment process.  The guidance is relevant to multiple audiences involved in partnerships with a vested interest in optimizing these relationships. (9219)

Two studies of a Construction Research Program and a Health Hazard Program conducted by the National Academies examined the relevance of the work of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to the most important safety and health problems in the workplace. The studies also sought to determine what affect the programs have had in the workplace.  The evaluation studies made recommendations about leadership development, strategic planning, performance measurement and other management functions.  The studies focused recommendations on enhancing dissemination/transfer activities and enhancing extramural activities.  The studies have had a positive affect on both programs.  Improvements include better strategic planning, changes in research directions, and increased collaborations with external research partners. (9237 and 9238)

An evaluation of the Prevention Research Center program sought to demonstrate accountability and to improve program management.  Most research centers indicated that their institution supported Community-Based Participatory Research.  The population of program's core research communities exceeds 32 million.  Many of their populations are underserved, have low income, or have more health risks than the national average.  Lessons learned include following: 1) removing administrative tasks from faculty allows them to conduct research; 2) academics need to learn how to talk about research with their community; 3) interpersonal and cultural factors matter as does valuing a communities' experiences and perspectives when developing and implementing research, and 4) it takes time to facilitate trust between academics and their community partners. (9209)

A study of how to design future diabetes screening programs in high risk populations provided information regarding resources used with the current activities in the areas of diabetes awareness/screening in the Diabetes Detection Initiative clinics and the perceived economic benefit of diabetes screening to individuals targeted by the Initiative.  The study investigated the feasibility of widespread screening for diabetes.  Individuals were encouraged to determine their risk for undiagnosed diabetes using a customized paper risk assessment tool.  This assessment provided the individual with a clear message regarding the need for appropriate blood testing to confirm their risk.  A finger stick/capillary blood test took place at a health care site and this result, combined with other information, informed the health care provider of the need for further testing to diagnose diabetes.  Patients preferred to be screened for diabetes in a clinic setting.  Patients preferred tests which were accurate and did not take a long time.  The test that was regarded as most valuable was a finger stick test.  Information obtained from this study will help policymakers design future diabetes screening programs for low income populations.  (9224

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