Planning & Evaluating
GETTING STARTED WITH
2nd Edition - Outreach Evalution Resource Center 2013
- Identify a target community
- Assemble a team of advisors
- Conduct a literature search
- Take an inventory of what you know about your target community
- Develop evaluation questions to guide your community assessment
- Check organizational policies to determine whether your project will require institutional review
- Consult existing data sources (such as publicly accessible statistical databases) to learn about your
- Use data collection methods such as interviews, focus groups, and surveys to gather additional
information to answer your evaluation questions
Assemble, Interpret and Act on Your Findings
- Summarize data
- Interpret findings and circulate reports to stakeholders
- In consultation with your team of advisors, determine if a project in your target community
is needed and feasible
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine regional office for your area (also known as your Regional Medical Library)
can be an excellent source of information about potential partners and ongoing outreach projects. Funding opportunities for
health information outreach may even be available. Find information about your Regional Medical Library at http://nnlm.gov/
or call 1-800-338-7657 from within the United States. Here are some other networking opportunities to consider:
If you represent a health sciences or hospital library
- Hold exhibits at local events, such as community festivals or health fairs. Take the opportunity to meet and greet other
exhibitors from the community.
- Make an appointment to meet with school librarians to demonstrate MedlinePlus, especially at high schools with health
careers programs. While you provide this service to the school, you can find out about its library and explore opportunities
to work together.
- Make contact with staffs that provide health education at medical clinics and hospitals, especially those with medically
underserved clients. You can help them with their education services and they may ask you to conduct demonstrations for
health professionals or patients who would benefit from learning about health information resources.
- Get to know public librarians, who often make great community partners. Public libraries provide Internet access to
individuals who may not have access at home, school, or work. They also can provide training space and have direct
contact with members of diverse age, ethnic, income, and professional groups. They are often looking for affordable
ways to expand the resources they can offer to their communities.
- Make appointments with community college faculty in health-related disciplines. They may have student internships and
community service activities as part of their curricula. They can provide you with contact to professionals-in-training, while
you can enhance their health curricula by providing skill-training to their students.
- Get to know people in state health departments who are engaged in public health promotion or health education. They
often conduct educational programs and services, and can provide access to groups of consumers and patients. In turn,
you can contribute to their educational mission by offering demonstrations and training on health information, both to
staff and clients.
- Get to know people in city or county emergency services organizations. They may be interested in learning about online
databases designed for first responders. Some city and county governments also have community outreach staff that
teach emergency preparedness to residents and may welcome partnerships with libraries.
If you represent a community-based organization or public library
- Visit the library at your local medical school or academic health sciences center and see what types of services are
provided to the community. Health sciences libraries may have outreach coordinators who would be interested in
partnering with you.
- Visit libraries in area hospitals. You may find good resources and potential partners there. Libraries that have consumer
health collections are listed on the National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus Find a Library web page at http://www.nlm.
nih.gov/medlineplus/libraries.html, and many of these are hospital libraries. You can find a listing of other health sciences
libraries, including hospital libraries, at http://nnlm.gov/members/
Health information outreach project: a train-the-trainer
project to teach community health workers
(paraprofessionals) in a Migrant Health Clinic to provide
health information to clinic patients.
- Patients at a Migrant Health Worker clinic
- The health educator who trains community health
workers and bilingual volunteers
- Clinical staff that provides health services to migrant
- The funding agency for the health information
- Health sciences library staff conducting health
information outreach training for community health
- Administrative staff at the Health sciences library who
oversee personnel involved in the health information
This is the process that individuals go through when adopting a new product, resource or behavior.
- Relative advantage: The innovation is better (i.e., easier
to use, more accessible, higher quality) than the product
or resource that supersedes it.
- Compatibility: The innovation is compatible with existing
values, past experiences, or current needs.
- Complexity: The resource or product is perceived as
simple to use.
- Trialability: The user can easily experiment with the
product before coming to adoption.
- Observability: The results of the innovation are visible to
others. (If people can see the results of a peer's use of
an innovation, they will talk about it with others.)
- When you demonstrate a website at a site or community event, which visitors seem most enthusiastic about your resource?
Who is likely to sign up or request training?
- Who in the community needs better access to health information? For example, community health workers and communitybased
organization volunteers may often receive requests from community members for health information but may not
have convenient access to the Internet or the search skills necessary for locating health information.
- Who currently has values, habits, experience, and needs that are consistent with use of online health information? For
instance, you might find a group of clinic staff members who must do patient education. They may find the MedlinePlus
tutorials an excellent, efficient way to make presentations to patient groups. Adult literacy educators may need to teach
some basic computer skills and would integrate MedlinePlus training into a computer literacy session.
- Who in the community has some experience with the technology needed to access your resources? Experienced users will
respond more quickly to your innovation. For instance, in many communities targeted by health information outreach,
children and teens are often the most experienced with computers.
- Who in the community will experience and demonstrate tangible results if they use your health information resources? For
example, if health professionals distribute handouts from your databases to patients, they are demonstrating use of your
resources. Health information that is customized to the patient's needs is an observable outcome of using your resources.
- Who in the community has access to locations where they can practice using the innovation? One of the most troublesome
areas of outreach is that many members of typical target communities do not have ready access to the Internet. If your
health information outreach involves accessing online health resources, you will want to make sure those you train first will
have convenient access to computers.
What are the strengths that the team
possesses to conduct an outreach
project with the target community?
What are the team's shortcomings
for conducting health information
What do we need to find out about
the team before planning an outreach
What community characteristics,
resources, and assets of the community
will support the team's project?
What aspects of the community may
create challenges or barriers to an
What do we need to find out about the
community before planning an outreach
Listed below are some typical community assessment questions that are based on the Diffusion of Innovation and the experience
of the authors.
Key characteristics of the community
- Does the community have high percentages of people who
belong to populations that are less likely to have access to
health information or strong technology skills (e.g., senior
citizens or low-income residents)?
- Do residents experience health disparities (e.g., are they
medically underserved; do many lack health insurance)?
- What health problems are prevalent in this community?
Influential community members (authority figures,
innovators and early adopters, opinion leaders)
- Who helps residents find and assess health information?
- Who do community members look to for advice on
technology or health issues?
- What organizations provide information to community
- Who are the teachers (paid or informal) in the community?
Current status of health information access
- Where do community members get health information now?
- How satisfied are they with their current methods of getting
- What advantages do your health information resources
provide community members over the resources currently
available to them?
- What are their opinions about online health information
(is it usable, credible, helpful)?
- What good and bad experiences have community members
had in trying to locate online health information?
- What type of experiences have community members had
with those who provide health information (e.g., librarians;
health care providers)?
- Are there individual-level or community-level problems that
could be addressed through use of your online resources?
Current status of technology use and experience
- How technology-literate are members of the target
- Are community members currently using the technology
(e.g., computers, mobile phones) needed to access your
- What type of Internet connectivity (e.g., dial-up, broadband)
is most prevalent to the target community?
- Will they have to buy any special computer equipment to
use your resources?
- What are some prevalent health concerns or health
information needs within the community?
- What health information-related problems could your
health resources solve for community members?
Community resources and assets
- What popular community events would provide good
venues for exhibits and demonstrations?
- Are there community-based organizations that may invite
you to demonstrate or provide training on your online
Potential collaborators and partners
- Are there organizations that hold programs that could
incorporate a demonstration, such as community computer
classes or English literacy classes?
- What publicly accessible computer facilities are available
for training sessions? Make sure the computer facilities
are available at the times you will need them and have
- What media opportunities could be used to promote your
resources and outreach activities?
Note: You can access many of these sources through the Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce
|Type of information
|Demographic information (e.g., gender,
age, income levels, ethnicity)
US Census data
County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and
the University of Wisconsin
CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
HHS Community Health Status Indicators
|Barriers to health care (e.g., health shortage
areas; percent of uninsured residents)
||HRSA Health Resources County Comparison Tool
|Community workforce information (e.g.
percent unemployed; job growth)
||Local Chambers of Commerce
|Information about children
Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center
Also check state department of education websites
|Listings of local community-based
||Local United Way sites, particularly the 2-1-1 United Way referral services.
You can find services by using the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search
|Information and statistics about public
||State Library websites
|Information about Healthy People 2020 goals and targets
||How will you collect
the information and
||What tools need
to be secured or
||Who will be
||What is the
date for data
organizations serve lowincome
members of the target
||Review statewide 2-1-1
||Locate URL for
|Where do community members
go for health information?
center walking group
Describe the target community:
- Percentage of community members belonging to vulnerable populations or populations with special information needs
- Rates of chronic illness or health risk behavior in the community
- Potential for community partnerships that will provide you with access to high percentages of community residents
(i.e., show the number of clients that you have the potential to reach through the partnership)
Describe the community characteristics that will help you promote health information resource use by
describing values, beliefs, and habits of community residents:
- An expressed value of and need for health information
- Needs or desires to research specific health issues
- Community members' dissatisfaction with the current status of their health information access
- Dissatisfaction among local health care providers or community-based organization staff with their access to health
information that they can use or provide to their patients or clients
Describe the opportunities available to you to communicate with, teach, and support members of your
target community, including:
- Well-attended local events or educational programs where you can demonstrate or present your resources
- Opportunities to provide some training on online resources
- Partner organization that can work with you to reach and serve your target community
- Members of the community who may be willing to assist you with your efforts, such as volunteers, community-based
organization staff or volunteers
- Local organizations willing to offer financial support for your project
Describe potential barriers or challenges that you will have to take into account when planning your
- Physical barriers that may affect your health information outreach efforts
- Social or political barriers you may encounter
- Historical issues that may affect project success, such as community members' experiences with previous partnerships
What are the team's strengths for conducting health information outreach in this community?
What are the team's weaknesses that will have to be addressed to be effective in this community?
What are the opportunities within the
community that would best support a
health information outreach project?
What are the potential threats for doing health information outreach in the community?