Program Evaluation Unit
The Program Evaluation Unit was established in the fall of 2007 to provide program evaluation support to community organizations engaged in work related to social inclusion as a fundamental social determinant of health. The Unit intends to build capacity in the community so that organizations can conduct their own program evaluations, or help community groups organize their programs to facilitate evaluations conducted by others (including our own unit). Funding for these projects and programs is obtained by doing program evaluations for governmental organizations and by responding to Request for Proposals (RFPs) for larger projects.
Now in its second year, the unit has accomplished several of its initial goals. It has created an executive of seven people, all of whom have expertise in program evaluation and a commitment to community capacity building. This executive is comprised of five faculty from across the university (Uzo Anucha, Mitzi Mitchell, Beryl Pilkington, Parissa Safai, and Mina Singh), one community representative (Cheryl Prescod of Black Creek Community Health Centre), plus the associate director of the YIHR (Michaela Hynie) who serves as chair. In December, 2008, a post-doctoral fellow, Yuka Nakamura, was hired under the Federal Government’s Research Innovation Fund (a replacement for post-doctoral fellow Sandra Tam who received another position). Dr. Nakamura’s role is to help plan events and supervise and/or conduct program evaluations.
The executive applied for and received a CIHR grant to hold a conference on program evaluation and social inclusion that was aimed at community members. This conference was held in April, 2009, and was also associated with the development of a webpage and DVD with program evaluation resources for participants. At the end of the conference a short round table discussion was held to develop themes for future conference and workshops that would be of use to the community and academics alike. It was decided to develop more in-depth hands on workshops on specific topics, plus an academic-focused conference on topics in program evaluation.
The Program Evaluation Unit has also undertaken several evaluation projects. These include the development of an evaluation framework for the Office of the Fairness Commissioner, two program evaluations for the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness, and two internal, formative evaluations of York projects, one for the Knowledge Mobilization unit, and one for the Refugee Research Network (see YIHR Initiatives and Projects database). To this end, two graduate and five undergraduate research assistants have been hired. They are receiving regular training workshops in addition to conducting various aspects of the research under the supervision of Dr. Nakamura and Dr. Hynie.
They have also completed the evaluation of York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit on October 30, 2009. They are participating in the ongoing evaluation of the Refugee Research Network and in the ongoing evaluation of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network.
Click here to visit the Program Evaluation Unit website.
For more information about this initiative, please contact:
Dr. Mina Singh, Acting Associate Director
Dr. Michaela Hynie, Associate Director