Impact Evaluation of Nurse Advocacy Center for Underserved on Population Health


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe a project undertaken to measure the impact of an academic/practice partnership, the Nurse Advocacy Center for Underserved (NACU), on the population health of the region with a goal to design an impact evaluation to measure outcomes of an academic/practice partnership.
Sample/Method: The sample included clients, staff, students, faculty, and volunteers from NACU sites.  Data was collected through patient survey, focus groups, check-sheet, and satisfaction survey.  Analysis was informed by a logic model and the Triple Aim.
Findings:   Results of focus groups identified themes of advocacy, environment, substance abuse, access, and preventative services. Check-sheet results revealed useful areas for measuring impact on regional health were perception of health and Hepatitis C status.   Satisfaction survey results demonstrated that the experience in providing services through NACU was rated as good (10%), very good (50%), and excellent (40%) for non-students and good (15%), very good (23%), excellent (42%) for students.  Findings support that NACU impact measures align with the foci areas identified by regional Health Department and greater community. 
Conclusions:   A comprehensive impact evaluation is effective in measuring impact of the academic/practice partnership NACU on the health of the community and region.  Dissemination of results will foster similar initiatives that address population health by creating academic/practice partnerships that focus on health care disparities among the underserved.  Academic/practice partnerships can adapt this logic model evaluation strategy for use in determining impact on similar populations, particularly in areas where access is limited such as rural communities.  Population health capacity will be expanded through the dissemination of evidence related to developing and maintaining community and public health partnerships, building public health competence through such partnerships, and improving the health of target populations in urban, suburban, and rural communities. 
Keywords:  health impact assessment, vulnerable populations, population health, program evaluation, health care quality, access, evaluation 

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