MIE TIG Week: Andrea Guajardo on Culturally Responsive Evaluation in a Health Setting

I am Andrea Guajardo, Director of Community Health for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and a doctoral student at the University of the Incarnate Word seeking a PhD focused on Organizational Leadership and Program Evaluation.  My role at the hospital provides numerous opportunities for evaluation of community-based programs as well as community collaborations, but the concept of culturally competent evaluation is largely foreign to practitioners who are focused on day-to-day operations.

Lessons Learned: Program managers and coordinators of community-based programs recognize that evaluation is crucial for improved health outcomes and process improvement.  They also know how important cultural competence can be to the successful operation of a program, but unless these program managers take the proactive step of delving deeper, a more robust evaluation plan will not come to fruition.  Evaluators must build a bridge from the accepted notion of basic evaluation to that of culturally responsive evaluation by emphasizing the fact the same culture that shapes program operations might also significantly impact the evaluation process.  Making this leap for program managers is especially important in programs that serve diverse populations whose social determinants put them at risk of disparities in healthcare.

Managers, staff, and other stakeholders in community-based programs and interventions may not be fully aware of the implications for successful operations if evaluation is not conducted in a way that does not consider the culture in which the program exists.  Highlighting this and advocating for the continuous consideration of cultural competence during service provision as well as evaluation will facilitate program improvement and healthy communities.

Rad Resources:  Check out the Office of Minority Health’s page on cultural competence for their slant on the importance of this construct.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE 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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