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Creating a Standardized Program Evaluation System

Jun 13, 2016

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the University of New England to deliver SNAP-Ed through 23 community-based coalitions. Maine’s nutrition educators enhance direct education with obesity prevention policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE) strategies.

gardens

Maine developed a tracking tool that facilitates planning and collects data on short-and medium-term indicators. Specifically, the tool captures activities that directly relate to elements in the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, namely readiness, champions, partnerships, and nutrition supports adopted. The extent to which PSE efforts reach the SNAP-Ed eligible population can be analyzed by setting and geography.

In 2015, 40 nutrition educators implemented strategies across Maine to achieve the following: implement 14 community and 6 school gardens; increase access to federal food programs for youth in 20 sites; and improve wellness policies in 13 schools and 8 childcare centers. In total, 62 schools, 6 afterschool programs, 12 childcare centers, and 46 community organizations (e.g., public housing and food pantries) were targeted.

Tracking progress using nationally established performance measures allows Maine to monitor program effectiveness in a clear, consistent manner. The data inform quality improvement efforts and ensure local-level success and national relevance.