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
  • Health Program Planning, Design, Management, & Evaluation, Systems Evaluation – Ralph Renger, PhD
  • Rural Health Reform Policy, Healthcare, Health Disparities, Workforce, Quality of Patient Care – Shawnda Schroeder, PhD
  • Systems Evaluation, Disaster & Emergency Management, Public Health Programs – Makenzie McPherson, MPH
  • Systems Evaluation, Program Evaluation, Native American Programs & Policy, Social Welfare Programs, Education Programs – Eric Souvannasacd, MS
  • Systems Evaluation, Social Inequality, Behavioral Health – Allyssa Schlosser, MA

Most Recent Publications

  • 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
  • Illustrating the Evaluation of System Feedback Mechanisms using System Evaluation Theory (SET)
    This article illustrates how system evaluation theory guided the evaluation of system feedback mechanisms within the cardiac care response systems of seven rural states.
    Author(s): Renger, R.
    Publication: Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 16(4), 14-20
    Date: December 2016
    Type: Journal Article
  • Challenges and Solutions Facing EMS in Supporting the IOM Recommendation for a National Cardiac Arrest Registry: A System Perspective
    This white paper uses systems theory to focus on the feasibility of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to support a national cardiac arrest registry.
    Author(s): Renger, R., Qin, X, Rice, D., Foltysova, J., Souvannasacd, E., Renger, J. Markwart, B., Hart, G., Bjerke, M.B.
    Date: September 2016
    Type: Report
  • Suggested Guidelines for Writing Reflective Case Narratives
    Discusses the use of adult learning theory to restructure case narratives so as to increase their effectiveness as a resource for transferring knowledge, sharing ideas, and keeping a pulse on the dynamic and fluid process of evaluation.
    Author(s): Becker, K., Renger, R.
    Publication: American Journal of Evaluation
    Date: August 2016
    Type: Journal Article
  • Process Flow Mapping for Systems Improvement: Lessons Learned
    The article details how to conduct process flow mapping for systems improvement. The method and its importance are explained in the context of evaluating a cardiac care system.
    Author(s): Renger, R., McPherson, M., Kontz-Bartels, T., Becker, K.
    Publication: The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 31(1)
    Date: July 2016
    Type: Journal Article

Most Recent Presentations