Data Collection, Analysis, and Program Evaluation, for Lancaster General Health’s Community Transformation Grant
We are pleased to be Lancaster General Health’s research and evaluation partner for a five-year Community Transformation Grant, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in October 2011. These prestigious grants assist organizations in designing and implementing community-level programs to prevent chronic disease, especially diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Center, working with LG Health’s leadership team and the CDC, is directing two major components of the program: data collection and analysis and program evaluation.
LG Health is concentrating on three priority areas for Lancaster County: tobacco-free living; active living and healthy eating; and evidence-based clinical and preventive services. To accomplish this, LG Health is working with organizations that represent the entire community, including healthcare, education, transportation, business, government, and faith-based groups. Together, this coalition is focused on building the county’s capacity to implement programs and policies that will improve health outcomes among all community members. The Center’s work is vital to this capacity building, providing the foundational information necessary to understand health disparities and barriers to treatment and prevention, identify opportunities for new initiatives, and design effective new programs and policies. In 2012, the Center accomplished the following research and evaluation projects:
Community Health Needs Assessment. The Center collected and analyzed data from multiple sources to identify health issues of consequence to the community; these sources included the Healthy Communities Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our analysis examined a number of demographic and health indicators, including access to health care, health-related behavioral risks, prevention behaviors, health conditions, and vital statistics related to cancer, communicable disease, maternal health, mental health, mortality, and hospitalizations. Selected economic, education, environment, public safety, and transportation data were also evaluated. Results were presented at the May 2012 Lancaster Health Summit, and results are available to the public through an online web portal, lghealth.org/countyhealthdata.
Community Health Policy Scan. This web survey of 110 local organizations—governments, healthcare providers, school districts, and businesses or nonprofits with 125 or more employees—focused on assessing their policies related to smoking, exercise, diet, health benefits, and related topics. The goal of the research was to identify gaps in existing policies, environments, programs, and infrastructure, and reveal opportunities to address these gaps.
Grant Evaluation. For year one of the grant, the Center worked with LG Health’s project management team to develop a core evaluation plan for submission to the CDC. Additionally, we are helping LG Health monitor the Community Transformation Grant Program on an ongoing basis. The Center’s evaluation plan monitors milestone activities and progress toward program goals, provides feedback for improving the program, and ensures that the CDC knows that the grant money is being well spent.