Evaluation provides a systematic process to document the impact of programmatic work, identify needs for quality improvement, and maximize intervention outcomes. The Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH) provides comprehensive evaluation services and supports external evaluators to provide programmatic quality improvement/quality assurance. CEPH staff use a variety of methods to conduct evaluation, with a purpose to share lessons learned and inform continued development of programmatic work and interventions. Evaluation projects come from federal agencies, state agencies, private foundations, and community organizations.

Evaluation Projects

The Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education 

CEPH has been conducting process and outcome evaluation studies for UNE’s Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education since 2014. Key activities include:

  • Annual Surveys of All Health Professions Students in Westbrook College of Health Professions, College of Dental Medicine, and College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • ​​Evaluation of the Interprofessional Team Immersion Program
  • Evaluation of Parallel Processes Case-Based Learning
  • 5-Year Impact Study of Health Professions Alumni graduate from UNE

Chronic Disease Evaluation Services

Funder: Maine Center for Disease and Control and Prevention and Control Program (CDPCP)
Project Period: November 2018–September 2023

CEPH staff provide evaluation services for federally funded project 1815 — Improving the Health of Americans through Prevention and Management of Diabetes and Heart Disease and Stroke. The team collects and analyzes data to track progress for interventions and activities across Maine and assess the impact of implementation on provider and patient health outcomes. Evaluation reports focus on identifying challenges, highlighting outcomes, identifying challenges, and providing continuous quality improvement for the Maine CDC's CDPCP.

The five-year evaluation will capture the results of the project in terms of progress toward four areas of focus:

  • Improve access to and participation in evidence-based programs related to the prevention and management of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease including National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES), and Self-Measured Blood Pressure programs.
  • Assist health systems with the implementation of evidence-based systems for improving patient care including bi-directional electronic referral systems and team-based care.
  • Promote the adoption and utilization of electronic health records, health information technology, and clinical quality measures (i.e., National Quality Forum) reporting to improve patient care and monitor health disparities.
  • Increase public and private health plan coverage for National DPP and strengthen the utilization of DSMES as a covered benefit by eligible health plan beneficiaries.

The Maine Advanced Nursing Education Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program (Maine ANE SANE Program)

Funder: Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources, and Services Administration
Project Period: September 2018–September 2021

​​The Maine ANE SANE Program is a collaborative effort of the UNE Department of Nursing and the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program at the Maine Office of Child and Family Services, Maine Department of Health and Human Services. This unique private/public collaboration will strengthen the state’s existing innovative SANE training program by increasing its reach and impact through simulation and pedagogical training, ECHO technology to reach rural participants, and the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to identify "hot-spots" where the existence of SANEs is absent or sparse. GIS technology will also be used to identify the locations and density of special populations in Maine in which sexual assault is high (e.g., the elderly, disabled, immigrant and refugee, and Native American populations). The program will particularly target SANE trainings in these areas and for these populations. CEPH staff will be providing evaluation services and technical assistance to ensure that SANE trainings are delivered as intended and achieve the planned learning objectives.

The Maine Area Health Education Center Network (AHEC)

Funder: Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources, and Services Administration
Project Period: September 2017–August 2022

CEPH evaluates the Maine AHEC Network through the use of mixed methods, including both quantitative (e.g., survey scales for quality and outcome measures) and qualitative (e.g, open-ended questions, reflective debriefs, interviews) data collection. The formative (or process) evaluation of the Maine AHEC network and quality improvement activities will rely heavily on the off-site program office and CEPH staff for ongoing monitoring and reporting into the Maine AHEC database for tracking programs and participants. For the summative (or outcome) evaluation, many tools and processes are in place to measure intended objectives and outcomes, based on Maine AHEC’s evaluation history to date. However, new programs like the Care for the Underserved Pathway (CUP) AHEC Scholars will involve new tools and processes to be developed and the piloting of tools and measures. Documentation of quality improvement changes made in response to information gathered through the evaluation will use a rapid feedback approach including the use of dashboards, brief memos, and debriefing. 

The Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

Funder: Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration
Project Period: July 2016–June 2021

The Westbrook College of Health Professions was awarded a grant from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau to develop the Maine LEND program. The program's goal is to leverage the rich clinical, policy, and research resources of UNE and Maine Medical Center to train promising professionals in interdisciplinary approaches to assessment, treatment, and systems leaderships. CEPH staff provide program evaluation services for Maine LEND including monitoring and QI for didactic and experiential trainings of students and practicing health professionals, data coordination to ensure timely federal reporting, and measuring longitudinal outcomes for long-term LEND trainees.

Maine Prevention Services: Substance Use Prevention Services

Funder: Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Project Period: October 2016–September 2021

CEPH evaluation staff provide quality assurance and continuous quality improvement to managing the statewide substance use prevention grant. Staff monitor a progress report that includes data regarding community interventions and activities across Maine. This monitoring tool provides the opportunity to track progress, identify challenges, and highlight accomplishments in a timely manner. CEPH evaluation staff coordinate quality assurance processes with the state contracted evaluator, Public Consulting Group.

Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed):

Funder: Food and Nutrition Services and National Institute for Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
Project Period: October 2018–September 2023

CEPH staff lead the internal evaluation of UNE’s SNAP-Ed statewide implementation plan. The multi-disciplinary team tracks and reports outcomes and provides continuous quality improvement to support successful program interventions at the individual, environmental, and sector levels. The evaluation team monitors and reports monthly data to track local progress for community interventions and activities. The data allow the implementing team to identify challenges and highlight accomplishments at the local and state levels. Outcomes related to nutrition education, participant satisfaction, and implementation of policy, systems, and environmental changes are shared annually with partners and funders who broadly impact the program by making sector-level changes in collaboration with the implementing team. The Maine SNAP-Ed evaluation plan is guided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s SNAP-Ed evaluation framework and utilizes the indicators and tools designed to facilitate aggregate reporting on national priorities. 

Minority Health Evaluation Services

Funder: Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Project Period: October 2020–September 2022

CEPH staff provide evaluation services for the Maine CDC’s new federally funded project aimed at reducing disparities in access to diabetes and HIV health and social services. Working collaboratively with the Maine CDC, community-based organizations, and clinical partners, the evaluation team will measure the impact of culturally tailored adaptations of the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) service and the HIV Steps to Care model on reducing health disparities in their respective condition.

Primary Care Training and Enhancement – Bangor

Funder: Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources, and Services Administration
Project Period: July 2016–June 2021

CEPH was awarded a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in July 2016 to continue interprofessional education from the classroom into the clinical setting, with an emphasis on rural health. UNE partners with Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), Maine’s largest federally qualified health center, to train UNE osteopathic medical, pharmacy, and physician assistant students, and PCHC clinicians, on social determinants of health, shared decision-making, oral health in primary care, interprofessional practice, and health literacy. Evaluation of the project includes the following:

  • Number and types of activities students were involved in at PCHC
  • Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among students and clinicians on the impact of the project
  • Patient satisfaction of having students involved in their care​

Primary Care Training and Enhancement – Northern New England Champions

Funder: Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration
Project Period: October 2018–September 2023

CEPH was awarded a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in October 2018 to create a fellowship for physicians and physician assistants (PAs) practicing in federally qualified health centers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The fellows will receive training and mentorship on healthcare leadership as it relates to opioid use disorder (OUD) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). They will then apply what they’ve learned by completing a healthcare transformation project related to OUD and MAT, and precepting UNE osteopathic medicine and PA students. Evaluation of the project includes the following:

  • Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among fellows on the impact of trainings and mentorship
  • Outcomes of healthcare transformation projects
  • Number and types of activities involving students

Project Alliance, Drug-Free Communities

Funder: Office of National Drug Control Policy
Project Period: October 2015–December 2020

Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition (CHCC) at the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine was awarded a Drug-Free Communities grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Project Alliance’s goal is to prevent and reduce substance use among youth in nine towns in Northern York County. CHCC contracts with the CEPH for program evaluation services, including quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and display, and environmental scanning.

Providers Clinical Support System – Universities (PCSS-U)

Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 
Project Period: October 2019–September 2022

The goal of this project is to increase the number of osteopathic physicians and physician assistants educated in Maine who provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). This will be achieved by providing trainings on OUD and MAT to College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and physician assistant (PA) students in their pre-clinical years, securing clinical faculty in Maine with experience providing MAT under whom students may train in their clinical years, and evaluating these components to revise the UNE COM and PA curricula on OUD and MAT.

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