Susan Sloan on CDC’s Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health

Hi, my name is Susan Sloan. I’m a program evaluator with about 20 years of experience—first as an evaluation team leader for Duerr Evaluation Resources in California and now as in internal program evaluator for Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) in the Pacific Northwest.

As a small local health department, we are always looking for ways to increase internal evaluation capacity without adding additional staff. If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ll know that local public health resources are decreasing at an alarming rate. This makes it even more important that the programs we run are effective and that our remaining staff is trained to understand evaluation and to participate as part of an evaluation team when needed.

In order to improve organizational evaluation capacity, I’ve used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health as a teaching tool (MMWR 1999; 48 (No. RR-11):

When I first discovered CDC’s Framework, I was amazed at how well it mimicked the evaluation process I had used for years to evaluate school intervention programs. The best feature of the framework is that it is an easy-to-understand, easy-to-teach six-step process for evaluation. Here at WCHD, we used our Community Health staff meetings to teach the framework over a six-month period. In order to make the training come alive, we used examples from an in process evaluation of our Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program along with a staff-created evaluation of a mythical public health trails infrastructure campaign. The culminating activity resulted in a short report that was written by staff.

Hot Tip: The first AEA Coffee Break focused on DoView®, a modeling software developed by Dr. Paul Duignan: We have purchased several copies of this software as a wonderful augment to our use of the CDC Six-Step Framework. We are now able to create evaluation models that work us through the framework. Our DoView® models include: (1) a program overview, including  overall goals and major program components, (2) a comprehensive listing of all internal and external stakeholders, (3) a flow chart of each major program component, (4) a logic model, (5) an evaluation design (including the evaluation mission, major questions, methods, assignments, and timelines), and (6) reporting of evaluation findings. All of this can be easily shared with team members or partners either through DoView files, pdf’s, or HTML documents.

The CDC Framework combined with the DoView® software has allowed us to create an evaluation toolkit that meets the ever-challenging needs for local health department evaluation capacity building.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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