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CDC Science Clips: Volume 5, Issue 21, May 27, 2013


As the date approaches for the 13th Annual AEA Summer Evaluation Institute, sponsored this year by the American Evaluation Association, it is a good time to reflect on the evolution of CDC's program evaluation and the future of program evaluation at CDC.

Evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using data to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of programs. As importantly, evaluation can contribute to continuous program improvement. Although program monitoring and evaluation have always been a respected component of public health practice, the ability to conduct these meaningfully has been constrained by wide differences in expertise, resources of programs, and commitment to evaluation.

As the accountability environment has intensified at all levels of government, public health programs often find themselves unable to make a persuasive case for the efficacy and effectiveness of their programs. Likewise, in an environment of scarce resources, we need more and better information about which interventions and approaches are best suited to the problem. Strong program monitoring and evaluation can help us identify our best investments as well as determine how to establish and sustain them as optimal practice.

Starting with the 1999 publication of A Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health and a follow-up document applying the Framework to evaluation of surveillance systems, CDC has emphasized that evaluation designs and methods need to match the purpose, user, and use of the findings. The Framework provides a systematic approach that ensures evaluations are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate. As a result, monitoring and evaluation findings will be timely and relevant to planning and budgeting decisions.

Most recently, CDC's Office of the Director issued recommendations and guidelines for CDC programs and partners on conducting strong program monitoring and evaluation. The guidelines establish the approach to and organization of monitoring and evaluation within CDC's Centers, Divisions, and programs. The guidelines also outline the expectations CDC has set for monitoring and evaluation among our applicants and funded recipients. In addition, the guidelines describe the efforts that CDC's Office of the Director needs to take to support strong evaluation and evaluation capacity at CDC.

Related resources and documents in monitoring and evaluation are linked below.

Tom Chapel, Chief Evaluation Officer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Guest Editor, Science Clips

  1. CDC Authored Publications
    The names of CDC authors are indicated in bold text.
    Articles published in the past 6-8 weeks authored by CDC or ATSDR staff.
  2. Public Health Articles Noted in Media

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DISCLAIMER: Articles listed in the CDC Science Clips are selected by the Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library to provide current awareness of the public health literature. An article's inclusion does not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does it imply endorsement of the article's methods or findings. CDC and DHHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinion, findings and conclusions expressed by the original authors of items included in the Clips, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS.

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