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Evaluating Effectiveness of Health Education Programs

Practical Experience

Everyday in my professional life I apply this competency.  Because of this program, I now know that an evaluation plan is a critical component for any project or program.  It is in every grant application that I have applied for- over 20 applications-since I started my journey towards an MPH.  It is a valuable way to begin a new project or replicate a tested project under new circumstances. It can inform the current fitness, need, efficacy, etc. of organizations, policies, trainings, interventions and more.  However, it is rarely funded as a project of it's own even though "program evaluation" is expected with each contract I have ever been awarded.  While the worth of an evaluation transcends monetary value, without adequate funding, programs struggle to implement them.  Moreover, evaluations that are mandated by groups of people far removed from the situation are sometimes more arduous than they are informative and thus not helpful in guiding an organization in taking positive steps to improve programs and services.  While I have been less successful at finding funders that support an evaluation as a project in and of itself, as a result of this program I have been able to advocate for evaluations that balance the needs and resources of the organization and that are beneficial to the community being evaluated.

"You must look within for value but must look beyond for perspective"  --Denis Waitley

Reflective Statement

Each time I begin writing a grant, I consider my time in the SFSU MPH program as a great gift.  During the last year of my program, I became the Executive Director of an organization I love.  I was working closely with a Development Director who was hired the same time I became ED.  After I graduated, she told me that during that first year we worked together, my skills as a grant writer accelerated at a pace that "was hard to keep up with."  Grant writing is only one of the many ways I have applied my training from the MPH program each day on the job-in real life.   Evaluation is one tool that is both fun and rewarding.  I get to think of new ways to examine and improve the work I am doing, I learn more and more everyday, and sometimes the project gets funded!  In "reflection" the only thing I would change if I could go back and do it over I would strive to learn even more than I did the first time. 
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