Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Number Quit Smoking, MISRGO Office Evaluation & the Arkansas Evaluation Center - April 26, 2007

Evaluation Workshop in Little Rock - April 26, 2007

The April MISRGO Evaluation Workshop in Little Rock was very productive. Dr. Fetterman and Ms. Linda Delaney facilitated the workshop. The participants brought the session alive. They were completely engaged. (Click on picture above to display a brief video of our workshop.)

There were three key topics covered: the evaluation monitoring system (focusing on the number who quit smoking or quit using tobacco
); the evaluation of the MISRGO office; and the Arkansas Evaluation Center. (Click on Fetterman & Associates below to access the slide presentation during the workshop.)

Evaluation Monitoring System

The evaluation team was reminded of the importance of continuing to collect tobacco consumption (or in this case cessation) data. They agreed an ideal data collection effort would collect monthly figures. However, a realistic goals was to assist the grantees as they collect quarterly and bi-annual cumulative data. Evaluators plan on reminding grantees how important it is to continue to collect the data, even if they only record one person who stopped smoking, since that represents $150,000 in excess medical costs saved.

Dr. Christine Sheffer
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
Health Behavior and Health Education Department
SOSQuitline 1.866.NOW.QUIT
SOSWorks Fax 1.888.827.7057

Marian Evans, MISRGO Coordinator, stated she would follow up with Dr. Christine Sheffer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, concerning the SOS data referral plan, to help us track grantee referrals to smoke cessation programs.

MISRGO Office Evaluation

This was one of the most rewarding parts of the workshop. The focus was on plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the MISRGO office, in terms of supporting and facilitating grantee and evaluator activity.

MISRGO office staff members and MISRGO/grantee evaluators worked together to generate a list of useful questions to assess ourselves. Instead of the typical defensiveness associated with endeavor, the MISRGO office staff jumped in, posing difficult questions that they wanted the grantees and evaluators to ask about their performance. They did this because they want to know what they can do better, to better serve the entire community. It was a rewarding and fruitful exercise. An online survey will be developed in the next few weeks and grantees and evaluators will be asked to provide their views concerning the MISRGO office's efforts. This is in the true spirit of empowerment evaluation and self-assessment (to improve and enhance).

Sample Questions

Arkansas Evaluation Center

Dr. Fetterman and Ms. Delaney announced and described the new Arkansas Evaluation Center (and highlighted the new blog page about the Center). The bill (now an act) passed the House and Senate and was approved by the Governor.

Dr. Fetterman and Ms. Delaney took this time to solicit input from the workshop participants concerning the overall design of the Center, possible courses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the online distance learning component (using WebCT).

The participants were generative and productive. They recommended specific courses for a certificate program, such as research design, survey design, focus groups, interviews, and statistics (light). They also recommended a course about ethics, guidelines, and standards.

Based on a straw vote, everyone said they would be interested in participating in a evaluation certificate program. The next steps will include: the development of a needs assessment survey - to determine the level of interest in the program (above and beyond our group), a review of comparable programs (to identify the best features across programs that we might incorporate in our program), and course development (including WebCT distance learning programs).