Online Program

An Innovative Evaluation Approach to Assessing Community and Organizational Capacity and Community Level Change in Youth Violence Indicators

Monday, November 2, 2015

Allison Dymnicki, PhD, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC

Mary Thorngren, Certified Health Education Specialist, Health and Social Development, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC
Xan Young, MPH, Health and Social Development Program, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC


Many challenges exist to developing rigorous evaluations of place-based efforts to prevent injuries. The American Institutes for Research (AIR), with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, is evaluating an effort to support communities in the development of infrastructure and organizational capacity to prevent youth violence (YV) and to increase the visibility of YV as a public health concern. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the evaluation approach and short-term results of that effort.


AIR has developed a mixed-methods evaluation approach to determine the effectiveness of the supports being provided (evaluation of training and technical assistance [TTA]), each community’s progress in implementing comprehensive plans to prevent YV (process evaluation), and the association of supports being provided to community-level YV indicators (outcome evaluation).


The TTA evaluation describes what supports are being provided, how these supports help sites develop YV capacities, and the effectiveness of these supports from the TTA recipients’ perspectives. The process evaluation provides site-level data regarding progress in achieving short-and long-term objectives for the initiative. The outcome evaluation describes change in YV indicators from four communities by establishing trends several years before and after the initiative began.


We will describe preliminary findings and lessons learned from the first several years of this evaluation. In addition, we intend to increase audience members’ understanding of how to develop evaluation approaches for similar efforts, the value of mixed-methods approaches, and novel techniques to establishing trends over time.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate an understanding of mixed-methods evaluation approaches that include both process and outcome evaluations and Formulate appropriate statements describing changes in community-wide outcomes that can be attributed to community-wide efforts.

Keyword(s): Youth Violence, Methodology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the evaluation manager and project director of multiple federally funded grants focused on injury prevention and the prevention of risky behaviors. Among my scientific interests is engaging public health departments in conversations about the best ways to prevent youth violence and evaluate these approaches.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.