CCHE news

May 2020: Making a difference in your community by Measuring What Matters

During our 30 years of evaluation experience, CCHE has seen time and time again that many organizations don’t have the tools they need to meet funder requirements for showing results or to understand whether their programs are achieving their goals. 

In response, 23 developed the Measuring What Matters curriculum and toolkit to support nonprofits, community collaboratives, and funders who want to understand how their programs are making a difference and communicate the results.

EvaluationSteps_1-col.png Based on CDC's Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health, our self-service toolkit breaks down the six key phases of evaluation into understandable steps that nonprofits can use to see if they are making progress, learn how to improve programs in real time, and share results with their stakeholders, including funders.  Each section includes templates that users can adapt for their own programs and initiatives. CCHE also uses the toolkit for in-person or online training to build evaluation capacity with organizations that want to dig in deeper.

We created Measuring What Matters because we believe that strong evaluation capacity is a cornerstone of building the community infrastructure that organizations need to promote equitable solutions to some of today’s most complex problems. 

Download the complete toolkit or individual components from the CCHE Measuring What Matters page.

April 2020: Changing systems of community development

One thing we’ve learned at CCHE over the course of 30 years, is that change happens when communities come together and partner to identify and implement solutions that fit for their community. Because of this power of coming together, we find ourselves missing the time and space to be in-person connecting, learning, and innovating with all of you.

We also know the negative impacts of crises are not born equally or equitably, particularly by people of color and those who are low income, which makes our work together to improve health equity, during this pandemic, more important than ever. 

SPARCC-Chicago_1-col.jpgWe see these two themes—the benefits of coming together and the call to address health equity—converging in our work to evaluate SPARCC, a complex systems change initiative, recently published in a report on SPARCC’s blog. SPARCC has always been about building relationships and connections, and that shows up in effective collaborations in its six sites. Since its formation, SPARCC has had an ambitious goal—help shift decades of racial discrimination in housing and community development, affecting equity, health, and climate resilience.  

Read CCHE's SPARCC evaluation report, which was also featured in a Next City blog post.

February 2020: Capturing the combined impact of community health strategies

Community health initiatives seek to improve policies, programs, and neighborhood environments. Over the past 30 years, we’ve learned that we need multiple strategies to combat complex problems. These can include focused programs targeting relatively few people, such as classes on how to cook healthy meals, combined with policy and environmental ones that reach everyone in a community, like increasing the amount of healthy food in grocery stores. How can we combine the effects of different strategies to strengthen their overall impact?

Dose methods allow us to add up the impact of very different strategies using a common yardstick. Dose combines reach—the number of people affected by a strategy—and strength—the degree to which those people change their behavior. DoseFormula_1col.jpg

Using dose we can compare, for example, building sidewalks to increase walkability (high-reach, low-strength) to a daily walking group (low-reach, high-strength). Dose also helps focus attention on ways of increasing effect of initiatives – greater scale (reach) and greater impact (strength) on each person reached. We’ve distilled our learnings in a toolkit that can be used to plan and evaluate complex community initiatives, particularly those focused on healthy eating and active living.

Learn more about dose and download the dose toolkit

January 2020: Happy New Year from CCHE!

This is a landmark year for us—the 30th year since we began evaluating community-based health initiatives. It’s been a wonderful journey partnering with an incredible diversity of communities, organizations, funders, and others to further our collective mission of improving community health.

We began in 1990 with a contract awarded to the Group Health Center for Health Promotion to evaluate a national health promotion initiative.  Through this and subsequent evaluations, the evaluation team, which would later form CCHE, began learning about what works to conduct a meaningful evaluation of community health improvement strategies. 

Along the way we have shared what we were learning with the field about the importance of engaging stakeholders in all phases of an evaluation, focusing on realistic outcomes that matter and can be expected to change during the course of the initiative, using data collection methods that balance rigor and burden on participants, andregularly sharing back information and insights with all partners. 

This continuous learning informs how we approach evaluation. As we reflect on our 30 years of work, we want to thank each of you for your partnership in improving the health of our communities. 


Over the past 30 years, we have:

  • Worked in hundreds of communities in 48 states, traveling by plane, train, car, and dog sled to visit the communities with whom we were working;
  • Conducted over 300 evaluations – check out our interactive timeline to learn more about our evaluations; and
  • Grown from an informal interest group of researchers and health promotion staff across Group Health Cooperative, into a dedicated team of 17 that comprise CCHE, a department within Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

We look forward to continuing to learn with you the best ways to improve community health.

We're building new tools for healthier communities


Contact CCHE 206-287-2035