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The Center for Rural Health supports rural and tribal communities in evaluating the merit or worth of rural health policies, projects, programs, agencies, or systems. For evaluators, the merit is determined by the extent of accomplishing what is intended. For example, is the program operating as intended? Is the program achieving its intended outcomes? Evaluations of worth supply information on effectiveness and whether investments are worthwhile. CRH assists with evaluations while activities are in progress, allowing stakeholders to make improvements. Or after the fact, assessing goal achievement.

What We Can Do for You

In the area of evaluation, we offer:

  • Technical assistance in determining the merit or worth of a policy, project, program, agency, or system.
  • Program evaluation services to help organizations assess the effectiveness of their efforts, improve programs, and report accomplishments to stakeholders and funders.
  • System evaluation services to help stakeholders define a system, assess subsystem processes, evaluate coordination between subsystems, and determine a system's effectiveness as a whole.
  • Assistance with evaluation planning.
  • Evaluation capacity building to help an organization's strengthen its capacity to conduct and use evaluation effectively.
  • Guidance and support in designing a program or policy based on research evidence.
  • Publications such as fact sheets, journal articles, and presentations.

Our Expertise

The Center for Rural Health has faculty with extensive experience in program planning and evaluation for local, county, state, federal, and international programs. Our evaluation experts can help plan and conduct evaluations of a wide variety of programs, as well as build an organization's capacity to conduct evaluations itself. Furthermore, CRH faculty and staff are among few evaluators to conduct system evaluation, resulting in CRH faculty developing a new practical framework for practicing system evaluation.

CRH faculty evaluates services on behalf of foundations, state government agencies, and a variety of federal agencies. The Center's evaluators have a wide network of contacts involved in rural health research across the country, as well as connections with key organizations and agencies within North Dakota.

Key Contacts

For general inquiries about CRH evaluation:

For inquiries about specific evaluation topics:

  • Health Networks, Health Policy, Quality of Patient Care, Hospital & Primary Care, Public Health Programs, Rural Health Outreach, Network Development, and Network Planning Grants – Brad Gibbens, MPA
  • Rural Health Reform Policy, Healthcare, Health Disparities, Workforce, Quality of Patient Care – Shawnda Schroeder, PhD
  • Systems Evaluation, Program Evaluation, Native American Programs & Policy, Social Welfare Programs, Education Programs – Eric Souvannasacd, MS

Most Recent Publications

  • Reworks: A Robust System Efficiency Measure
    This article reports on the inaugural Australian-American system evaluation summit convened in Wyoming, focusing on the application of system evaluation theory.
    Author(s): Renger, R., Keogh, B., Hawkins, A., Foltysova, J., Souvannasacd, E.
    Publication: Evaluation Journal of Australasia
    Date: September 2018
    Type: Journal Article
  • Defining Systems to Evaluate System Efficiency and Effectiveness
    Article focuses on the application of systems thinking, systems theory and systems evaluation theory (SET) in evaluating of modern day systems efficiency and effectiveness.
    Author(s): Renger, R., Foltysova, J., Renger, J., Booze, W.
    Publication: Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 17(3), 4-13
    Date: August 2017
    Type: Journal Article
  • Evaluating System Cascading Failures
    In the article, Renger and coauthors share methods used to evaluate system cascading failures.
    Author(s): Renger, R., Foltysova, J., Ienuso, S., Renger, J., Booze, W.
    Publication: Evaluation Journal of Austalasia, 17(2), 29-36
    Date: June 2017
    Type: Journal Article
  • Being Smart about Writing SMART Objectives
    Article discusses the issues that occur when baseline data is missing when using the mainstream SMART method for developing program objectives. Also offers guidance on delineating between different contexts when using the SMART method.
    Author(s): Bjerke, M., Renger, R.
    Publication: Evaluation and Program Planning, 61, 125-127
    Date: April 2017
    Type: Journal Article
  • An Interprofessional Programme to Culturally Sensitise Students to the Needs of Patients and Realities of Practice in Rural Areas
    The University of North Dakota programme, Students/residents Experiences And Rotations in Community Health (SEARCH), was implemented to address recruitment and retention problems and stereotypes associated with practicing in rural areas.
    Author(s): Schuller, K., Amundson, M., McPherson, M., Halaas, G.
    Publication: Journal of Interprofessional Care, 28, 1-3
    Date: February 2017
    Type: Journal Article