Perspectives of a Center Evaluator

  • Myers, John

The Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention is funded by NIOSH and began operations in September, 1992. The Southeast Center implemented a regional scope of operations in eight states. The five-year goal of the Center is to develop an innovative program of research, education and prevention that will reduce work-related injuries and illness among agricultural workers and their families.

The three broad areas of activity are: (1) health and safety among minority agricultural workers; (2) capacity building within public and private agencies to strengthen infrastructure relating to agricultural health and injury prevention; and (3) engineering and ergonomic activities.

The Southeast Center is multidisciplinary and operates in more than one state.

When the program was designed, a part-time evaluator was identified to examine and evaluate the development of the Southeast Center. Evaluation of individual Center projects were integrated within those projects and the responsibility of the principal investigators of the individual projects. The evaluation of the Southeaster Center overall was addressed separately. The Southeast Center, like other such centers in the U.S., is dynamic, evolving, and multi-faceted. The designated evaluator brought an applied focus to the evaluation. To a large extent, the evaluation was designed to meet the needs of the Southeast Center. Process evaluation has been the major emphasis.

This report offers a frank discussion of some of the challenges and opportunities involved in evaluating a Center. The structure and environment of the Southeast Center is discussed with respect to its influence on the evaluation approach. Thoughts about design of an evaluation in the absence of definitive funding agency expectations are offered in the context of the evaluation opportunity this presents.

Evaluators and managers of other Centers are encouraged to attend. The intent of this presentation is to generate discussion about Center evaluation.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: University of Kentucky, Hazard, KY

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