My name is Cindy Crusto, and I am an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine and chair of the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. Today, I summarize and reflect on the Hindsight is 20/20: Reflecting on Missed Opportunities, Missteps, and Successes in Attending to Culture and Context in Evaluation Practice Think Tank, an Evaluation 2012 session organized by our working group.
Arthur Hernandez, Kari Greene, and HazelSymonette illustrated missed opportunities and successes in addressing and attending to culture/context in evaluations. This entry focuses on Kari Greene’s fictitious case study with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) health coalition conducting a needs assessment. The coalition quickly realized there was not one “LGBTQ community” but instead many different communities. The coalition needed to identify who they wanted to serve –identity-based communities only or include individuals not identifying as LGBTQ but might have LGBTQ health needs (e.g. a man born a woman but transitioned years ago and does not identify as transgender, however, has trans-related health needs)? Would the group address LGBTQ issues statewide, including rural issues and the “gay ghetto” of urban centers? Would they gather information across the lifespan? Finally, given the diversity of individual member’s gender identity, meetings began with individuals indicating their preferred gender pronouns.
Lessons Learned: The case study highlighted several lessons:
- We have to identify within group diversity
- cultural similarity of the evaluator and the evaluands does not guarantee awareness of within group diversity;
- diversity in self-definition/self-identification exists; evaluators may need to bridge generational, regional, and/or other gaps to develop within group understanding, tolerance, acceptance, and/or consensus;
- We should move away from a cultural competence “checklist mentality” and toward cultural humility, anongoing process of self-reflection and self-critique
- cultural competence checklists do not exist; each evaluation is different and requires attention to different cultural/contextual issues;
- yesterday’s culturally competent evaluator is tomorrow’s incompetent evaluator; we must remain organic, dynamic, and ever-morphing, open, responsive, and hold to a reflective beginner stance;
- We have to attend to issues of power and bias.
The Think Tank’s discussant, Donna Mertens, posed questions that can be used in your work:
- What dimensions of diversity are relevant in the communities in which you work?
- How do you identify relevant dimensions of diversity in your evaluations?
- What power issues might arise between subgroups within the evaluation context? How would you address them?
- Joe Heimlick’s Coffee Break Webinar on “Adding the LGBT Response Option to Questionnaires” (AEA members only)
- Greytak, Guterrez, and Greene’s Don’t Ask, Can’t Report – A Practical Guide to Collecting Data on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People in a Culturally Responsive Way
This week, we’re diving into issues of Cultural Competence in Evaluation with AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.