From the ground up: building a participatory evaluation model. Academic Article uri icon


  • We engaged in a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project with the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) and its 32 county-based health councils.We report on the process of the collaborative development of an evaluation model that would identify and link council actions to intermediate system change.We used multiple data sources and interactive, iterative processes to systematically examine and document the health council system including document review, a statewide partnership survey, and multiple meetings with partners.We highlight lessons and challenges in our CBPR process, including the need for community partners to overcome the fear of evaluation, the use of multiple participatory mechanisms, the value of a linking agent, and understanding multiple data needs.The time and resources of this participatory evaluation process enabled successful navigation of two important issues: (1) increased attention to statewide accountability of collaborative public health initiatives, and (2) increased expectation by health councils or other community partnerships to have a recognized voice in defining measures for this accountability.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011