CP TIG Week: About Evaluating Health Promotion Efforts by LaShaune P. Johnson

Howdy, 365ers!   My name is LaShaune P. Johnson, I am faculty at Creighton University and the founder of Estella Lucia Evaluation, LLC.  I have a passion for health promotion, particularly among families of color.  I have been a researcher and evaluator for projects on African American breast cancer, childhood obesity, adolescent sexual health, and Muslim maternal/child health.    

Lessons Learned: In my work, I have found that solutions for families’ health inequities can be found in the domains that community psychology emphasizes: social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental.  Evaluating health promotion efforts requires trusting, ongoing, and widespread partnerships with diverse stakeholders up, middle, and downstream.

Hot Tip: Consistent with the empowerment and action-oriented values of community psychology, I use community-based research and evaluation methods (like Photovoice and arts-based evaluation) to understand the structural violence families are experiencing.

The details of evaluations will vary, in order to adapt to the needs of the target populations, however I have found that there are three bits of advice that have served me well.  They align with the 2019 AEA conference themes.

  • Renewal: Community psychology is breathing new life info health promotion.  Community psychology offers tools that facilitate the co-creation (with community members) of culturally-responsive tools and methods that reflect the lived experiences of your target community.  Before the evaluation begins, aim to create a team that can provide ongoing insight into the cultural, economic, social, ability, and linguistic needs of the community.

            Rad resource: The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families has an excellent guide to cultural responsiveness.

  • Leadership:   The details of the causes and treatments of medical conditions can often be difficult to comprehend for the average community member, but they often are very aware of the impact of their disparate healthcare access and their lack of access to health-promoting environments.  Community psychology looks for community strengths—there are wonderful storytellers in every community!  By hearing the stories of how they navigate the healthcare landscape, you will learn about the impact of policy, patient-provider communication, transportation, and much more.

            Rad resource:  Omaha Community Foundation has an excellent resource that details how they obtained powerful community stories about journeys to wellness: http://www.thelandscapeomaha.org/About-Us/Stories.

  • Contribution:  Finally, community psychology’s values and principles allow us to think across systems and to reflect upon how we can help co-create health equity across the life course.  Because community psychologists are involved in ongoing formal and informal equity work, we are given opportunities to make and remake our roles in the community.  In order to be most effective, evaluators should consider adopting an over-arching framework.  This framework should allow for collaborative conversations with community members, policy makers, and providers on issues of data collection, data reporting, and advocacy.

            Rad resource:  Healthy Places By Design outlines a 3P action cycle that provides an excellent roadmap for evaluators who will be making and remaking their roles in equity efforts.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating CP TIG Week with our colleagues in the Community Psychology Topical Interest Group. The contributions all week come from CP TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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