By David Lee on October 19, 2009 · tagged as , , ,

Community Measures of Success

A new article in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice discusses finding measurable outcomes based on indicators that the community itself has identified as signs of a successful youth violence prevention program. As we look to find ways to evaluate our prevention efforts, we should consider how to engage the community to determine if the prevention program was successful.

For example, I just recently talked with Project ENVISION in New York City about their most recent community participatory action research where they asked community members their perceptions of the potential ways to prevent sexual violence.  (This will be released as a Prevention Connection podcast soon.) Next we need to ask what does successful sexual violence prevention look like?

The full citation and abstract from SafetyLit appears after the jump.

Translating community-specified indicators of program success into measurable outcomes.

Hausman AJ, Hohl B, Hanlon AL, Becker J, Branas CC, Hayden UT, Thomas N, Fein JA. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 2009; 15(6): E22-30.

Click here for the article or find the article through DOI

(Copyright © 2009, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)

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.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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