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Translating CommunitySpecified Indicators of Program Success Into Measurable Outcomes

Hausman, Alice J. PhD, MPH; Hohl, Bernadette MPH; Hanlon, Alexandra L. PhD; Becker, Julie PhD, MPH; Branas, Charles C. PhD; Hayden, U. Tara MHSA; Thomas, Nicole MBA; Fein, Joel A. MD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: November/December 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p E22–E30
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181af639c
Article

Background: Community participatory research encourages community involvement in early stages of program development and implementation, but sustainability is dependent on continued community interest and participation. While locally measured outcomes may not be generalizable, evaluations that demonstrate progress on community-specified markers of success can demonstrate a community's return on investment. The purpose of this study was to outline a process whereby community-identified indicators of successful violence prevention were translated into measurable variables.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted with key groups within identified neighborhoods experiencing high rates of violence in a large metropolitan area in the northeast United States.

Findings: From these groups, 40 indicators of successful violence prevention programs were expressed by the participants. Of these, 45 percent were matched to existing datasets with relevant variables. Datasets were then reviewed for accessibility. Feasibility of actually obtaining and analyzing data was tested by demonstrating the association between a “translated indicator” and a traditional indicator of violence. Greening data from Landsat satellite were correlated with shootings and mapped over target neighborhoods.

Conclusions: Results indicate that it is possible to develop measurable community-specific indicators for evaluation of youth violence prevention programs and that these indicators have the potential for being generalizable across communities.

This article outlines a process whereby it is possible to develop measurable community-identified indicators, which have the potential for being generalizable across communities, for evaluation of youth violence prevention programs.

Alice J. Hausman, PhD, MPH, is Professor, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bernadette Hohl, MPH, is Research Assistant, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Alexandra L. Hanlon, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Julie Becker, PhD, MPH, is with the Women's Health & Environmental Network, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Charles C. Branas, PhD, is Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

U. Tara Hayden, MHSA, is Deputy Director, Penn Minority Aging Research for Community Health (MARCH) Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is with Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition.

Nicole Thomas, MBA, is Community Outreach Worker, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and is with Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition.

Joel A. Fein, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Corresponding Author: Alice J. Hausman, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Ritter Annex, 9th Floor, 1301 Cecil B Moore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19122 (hausman@temple.edu).

Disclaimer: Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement 5U49CE001093-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors thank the efforts of Dana Bauer in the preparation of the map presented in Figure 2.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.