Building Evaluation Capacity, Improving Community-Based HIV and Hepatitis C Services

PAN Research and Evaluation programs are made possible through PAN’s partnership with the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS, and the CIHR CBR Collaborative (A Program of REACH). The following post is part of a collection of Regional Accomplishment and Change Stories that were originally published on the REACH site to reflect on work during the REACH 2.0 funding period.

Importance of this Work: Two of the five primary objectives of REACH 2.0 were: (2) provide support
and expertise for front-line organizations and services providers in participatory evaluation and (4)
actively engage in rigorous Applied Program Science. Thanks to REACH resources and support in British Columbia (BC), the Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) was able to internally develop evaluation capacity, knowledge and skills. The creation of the necessary foundational structures and human resource expertise within PAN’s CBR and Evaluation Department in turn, allowed us to support other organizations’ evaluation needs. Extensive evaluation work has taken place with and on behalf of a number of BC health authorities; community-based organizations; and PHAC-funded community alliances and grant holders.

PAN was also able to leverage REACH’s infrastructure and to support several evaluation projects
through fee-for-service contracts. This work, taken in combination, has created a stronger culture of
evaluation in BC, created focus and enhanced collective capacity for evidence-informed program planning and implementation especially at the level of community-based services and programs.

 

Example – Health Authority Shared Measurement Framework Development:
To highlight this evaluation work in more depth, PAN has worked collaboratively with three different BC
health authorities to build shared measurement frameworks for their community-based, contracted HIV and hepatitis C organizations. Shared measurement is an evaluation approach founded on coordination that moves beyond fragmented efforts to address complex social and health issues. For this work, shared measurement started with the health authority distributing funding for community-based HIV and hepatitis C services with identified shared goals and outcomes.

In order to measure the group’s collective progress towards these outcomes, a set of common indicators or shared measurement framework was developed. This consistent collection of information (data) across all members of the group allowed each agency/organization to learn more about their own programming and the gains made collectively. It also allowed the group to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement at higher levels (e.g., sectoral or geographical levels) within each health authority region. This approach allowed for a stronger network to be built among partners, which has facilitated ongoing learning and quality improvement across sectors.

 

Implications for British Columbia and REACH: These health authority partners have seized an
opportunity to use evaluation and shared measurement to more fully understand the impacts communitybased organizations are having in addressing HIV and hepatitis C in BC. Health authorities have been able to gather data about community-based approaches, which had not been collected previously, and allowed teams to compare relative effectiveness of different approaches to programs and services. Evaluation data have been used to inform decision-making, improve services, and build on successful practices. There have been challenges such as, learning about the importance of building trust between partners in a network and the difficulties of parsing out outcomes from programs with multiple funders. However, this process has been very beneficial for the health authorities involved and for PAN. Finally, while the BC team is learning from this work, we have been sharing findings and capacity-building tools with the national REACH network and increasing the reach of this evaluation capacity building work.

Read more about our partnership with Northern Health
 
 

Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! Janice_2
Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Community-Based Research [email protected]