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Post-Eval Action Plan Week: Promoting the Use of Action Plans Through Technical Assistance to Grantees by Robin Kuwahara and Maureen Wilce

Hello, I am Robin Kuwahara and I am Maureen Wilce, and we are evaluation technical advisors with the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Our role is to provide technical assistance to help our partners at state or territorial asthma programs conduct evaluations and use their findings.   

Since 2009, NACP has mandated that asthma grantees develop strategic evaluation plans for their programs. This involves planning and prioritizing evaluations that will answer their most pressing and important questions.  Part of our planning template explicitly requires that the intended users plan for and document how they intend to use the evaluation findings. Requiring grantees to articulate what actions they intend to take also helps to highlight the importance of ensuring that the evaluation findings are used, and that actions are taken as a result of what has been learned. We have found that providing technical assistance through multiple strategies, such as one-on-one coaching and the provision of written guidance documents is essential.     

Hot Tips: When providing technical assistance to grantees, consider the following tips:

  • Follow an evaluation framework that specifically supports using evaluation findings, such as Centers for Disease Control’s Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health.  Step 6 of this framework is “Ensure use and share lessons learned.”
  • Promote stakeholder engagement to create a demand for useful and actionable evaluations.   Ask, “How are you going to use that information?” all the time!  
  • Provide tools to help in developing action plans (see Rad Resource below).
  • Hold people accountable for use at the program level.  For example, reporting actions taken based on evaluation findings is one of NACP’s required annual performance measures.
  • Share ideas for using evaluation information!  NACP has a community of practice – where our grantee evaluators meet via conference calls and ad hoc workgroups –  that enables asthma program evaluators to share uses and actions taken to learn from and inspire each other.

Rad Resource:   Implementing Evaluations, Module 2 in the Learning and Growing through Evaluation series, contains step-by-step instructions and an action plan template.  

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Post Evaluation Action Planning Week. All posts this week are contributed by evaluators who came together to write about a simple, but rarely-used tool for encouraging the use of evaluation findings by decision-makers – the action plan. 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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