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No. 3, 2011


Assessing TB Program Evaluation Capacity and Focal Point Training Needs

The TB Program Evaluation Network (TB PEN) Steering Committee is committed to assisting the Program Evaluation Focal Points (EFPs) in having their voices heard and communicating any issues and needs related to program evaluation (PE) to CDC. In January 2011, the Steering Committee, with input from the TB PEN Training and Tools Teams, determined that a needs assessment of the EFPs would be the most effective mechanism for eliciting feedback regarding evaluation issues. The Steering Committee’s goals were to 1) gain insight into the needs of focal points in their respective program areas; 2) assess current capacity for program evaluation; and 3) identify where tools, training, and technical assistance are needed.

The Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center (SNTC) provided the Steering Committee with technical support in the form of question development and use of their web-based survey technology. The SNTC worked with the Steering Committee through several iterations of the assessment and offered their expertise in the creation of the final 48-item assessment tool and transfer into the web-based survey platform.

Focus areas of the assessment included:

  • Demographics of focal points to better understand their current role in TB; length of time working in TB and as an EFP; barriers to fulfilling job duties; and time allotted to program evaluation;
  • Program evaluation activities conducted such as development of goals and objectives, action plan, timeline and evaluation focus areas;
  • Dissemination of evaluation findings;
  • Current level of training in evaluation and training needs; preferred training formats; and
  • Use of TB program evaluation resources.

The Steering Committee consulted with the National TB Controllers Association to identify viable survey launch dates to increase the response rate and minimize burden and overlap with other surveys being distributed to TB programs. An online URL for the needs assessment was distributed to the EFPs and the Steering Committee members.  The assessment was launched on April 21, 2011, and remained open for responses for 2 weeks until it closed on May 6, 2011. Completion time of the assessment was estimated as 15-20 minutes. Responses and comments provided by the focal points remained anonymous.

Preliminary results have been shared with the TB PEN Steering Committee. Completed responses were received from 50 of 88 (57%) people contacted. The survey gathered considerable useful information and helped express the needs of the focal points for more resources. A final report of the needs assessment will be provided to the TB PEN focal points through a future TB Notes article.

—Reported by Stephen E. Hughes, Ph.D.
TB PEN Co-Chair, NY State Department of Health

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