Organizations striving to support the health, wellness, and quality of life of their communities must understand their program results in order to improve. Evaluation can help organizations reduce uncertainties, improve the effectiveness of strategies, and make decisions about resource allocation (University of Texas, 1998). Strong measurement and improvement systems enable programs to show success and identify areas for growth. This attracts clients as well as funders and provides critical information to key stakeholders.
However, our systems in North Carolina are stretched thin, and many health and social service providers and promoters need assistance with evaluation, implementation and improvement. Often when consultants assist with evaluations, their support ends with project contracts, leaving an ongoing void. Further, evaluations and planning efforts too often fail to include the input of community members receiving or in need of services.
Culture of Results Description
What if providers could clearly articulate how their work makes an impact and contributes to the health and wellbeing of the population overall? Through the Culture of Results Initiative, the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW) works with local, regional and state partners to assess impact, strengthen coordination, and improve programs and systems statewide. NCCHW's Culture of Results is a training and technical assistance program that supports state-wide initiatives, as well as local public health departments, hospitals, clinics, universities and community providers to measure impact and improve results. Culture of Results applies key aspects of empowerment evaluation— providing evaluation as part of an ongoing planning process to support client self-determination and empowerment and organizational capacity building. Culture of Results team members engage partner organizations in learning and using a framework known as Results-based Accountability (RBA) and its evidence-based, common sense tools to plan and evaluate their projects and services. RBA has been recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other governmental agencies as an effective practice for evaluation and planning. Clients are participants who quickly develop the skills and capacity to evaluate their own services to adapt, improve and expand.
Culture of Results Initiative Impact
- Culture of Results provides training in exercises that can easily be used again and again to strengthen the capacity of programs, giving clients the ability to sustain their own efforts.
- Culture of Results workshops teach participants simple, clear language and processes that all stakeholders can understand and participate in, making planning more inclusive.
- Culture of Results applies Results-based Accountability (RBA), an evidence-based, action-oriented, and data-driven framework to improve population health and wellbeing and program performance. RBA enables programs and organizations to focus on action, critical collaborations, and quality data for transparency and accountability of success, making it well suited to cross-sector collective impact work.
- Technical assistance helps clients co-create tailored evaluations to meet grant, government, or internal reporting requirements.
- Culture of Results is an initiative of the North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness at University of North Carolina Asheville. Culture of Results leverages the strength of the University’s community engagement efforts and academic programs, including in some cases faculty and student research.
The North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville
The Culture of Results Initiative of the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness strives to impact policies, build capacity, and ignite community initiatives in order to support the health and productivity of North Carolinians across the state. Center staff support community-based programs that address critical health issues, promote replication of best practice approaches, and coordinate and support applied interdisciplinary faculty and undergraduate research. Through technical assistance, program development, evaluation and leadership, the Culture of Results program bolsters health systems and service providing programs to help improve health resources across the state.
The NCCHW Culture of Results initiative has helped programs measure and expand impact; community-wide initiatives with visioning, action planning and evaluation; hospitals and health departments throughout WNC strengthen their community health improvement efforts; and regional policy makers collaborate to share best practices for collective action across the state.
“This kind of evaluation is great because it lets us show HOW the program works. If we can explain the dynamics of the project, it is so much better than just listing the outcomes. This allows you to look at many variables at the same time, to see the complexities of those health problems and other issues around the same topic.” - Nilda Cosco, North Carolina State University
“The methodology of RBA gives us a common language and a common-sense thinking process to build the common ground needed to inspire our community. It is a perfect fit for the essential elements found in successful collective impact efforts—common agenda, common progress measures, mutually reinforcing activities and continuous communication.” –Heather Murphy, The Health Foundation