Evaluation Research Forum
The Evaluation Research Forum brings together leaders of major childhood obesity evaluation efforts to consider shared measures and methods for evaluating community-based and state-based strategies. Because evaluations are often developed in isolation, thus minimizing the usefulness of these data, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) identified a need to determine common measures, complementing work across evaluations, and to learn of opportunities to leverage data and sources.
In 2011, researchers and evaluators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) convened and planned evaluations of approximately $75 million in childhood obesity prevention interventions. These evaluations emphasized policy and environmental changes with a focus on populations/communities at highest risk. They included:
- About $36 million for evaluating the $650 million in ARRA-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) demonstrations and similar childhood obesity demonstrations authorized under health reform
- Nearly $30 million for the Healthy Communities Study
- More than $2 million for evaluations of the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program, Bridging the Gap, and five state intervention evaluations
- Significant investments in new USDA research grants evaluating the community-based Healthy Food Financing Initiative
NCCOR continues to support researchers and evaluators in their efforts to communicate with one another and build the evidence base more rapidly. Working groups have been established to address four key issues.
- Common Measures: Use common measures; train investigators in them; share data; and clarify distinctions between needs of researchers versus those of community advocates.
- Community Capacity: Create a real-time, mutual learning facility to facilitate community work and the exchange of information.
- Performance Management: Identify alternative evaluation frameworks (i.e., an evaluation resource registry).
- Building Evidence: Prioritize recommendations for evidence frameworks and engage researchers and evaluators on recommendations for best practices with mixed methods health research.