SCEA Week: Leslie Fierro & Deanna Rossi on Evaluating State Asthma Programs

We are Leslie Fierro, former CDC ETA and Deanna Rossi, California Breathing asthma program evaluator, and we’d like to share some of the issues that make California’s asthma program unique and some of the resources we’ve used to facilitate evaluation in this context.

California is one of 36 states receiving funds from CDC to implement a comprehensive state asthma program and to develop a five-year strategic evaluation plan.  CDC has put together a team of Evaluation Technical Advisors (ETA) to assist state evaluators in their evaluation activities.

Did You Know?: CDC has created an excellent resource titled, Learning and Growing through Evaluation to guide state asthma programs in their evaluation planning. It builds on the CDC framework for public health evaluation and considers the breadth of activities state asthma programs are engaged in—disease surveillance, partnership building, and public health interventions. Since non-asthma programs also engage in these core public health functions, Learning and Growing through Evaluation would be valuable for a number of chronic disease and environmental health programs.

Rad Resource: You can download Learning and Growing through Evaluation at:

Did You Know?: The state asthma programs engage a number of stakeholders in designing their evaluations, collecting data, and disseminating evaluation findings. Since asthma is so heavily impacted by environmental factors, non-traditional public health partners are often involved in evaluation activities. In a state as large as California, it is difficult to train and engage partners through in-person meetings. For this reason, California relies heavily on online meeting tools, like GoToMeeting (

Hot Tip: We have used GoToMeeting to share documents, to build logic models in real time, and to brainstorm evaluation questions. It even allows the facilitator to give another participant control of their desktop so that note taking duties can be shared during a meeting. In addition, it allows meetings to be recorded, so a facilitator can be less focused on writing everything down and more focused on facilitating the discussion. GoToMeeting has allowed us to bring together stakeholders more than 500 miles away. As an added bonus, GoToMeeting reduces meeting costs and our carbon footprint. Being “green” is important to many Californians, especially those of us working in environmental public health.

Rad Resource:  To make the most of your experience at AEA this year, we would suggest trying to flag down an Evaluation Technical Advisor from CDC’s National Asthma Control Program to pick her/his brain about the work they have done to build evaluation capacity in their program.

Hot Tip: To fully enjoy your stay in beautiful Southern California, we would definitely suggest getting away from the hotel and venturing out to the beach (perhaps exploring the sites at Venice Beach ( ~40 miles from the Hilton Anaheim), the home of the famous Muscle Beach, or the Getty Center ( ~45 miles from the Hilton Anaheim).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating this week with our colleagues at the Southern California Evaluation Association (SCEA), an AEA affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from SCEA 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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