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Our 27th annual conference was a success! Thank you to our sponsors and the Michigan evaluation community for your support!

Paul Elam served as the keynote speaker and Kylie Hutchinson as the plenary speaker for the 2022 virtual conference. The theme for this year's conference was From Promise to Practice: Filling Your Equitable Evaluation Toolbox.

Date: May 12th-13th, 2022

Location: Online/Virtual

Cost: $40 non-members, $30 members, $20 students



Click Here for the Full Conference Brochure (includes session descriptions)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a common experience of trauma for all of us. It also exposed disparities by race/ethnicity, income, and localities in many pertinent areas of our lives, including health care services, access to technology, and effective education. During this traumatic time, many of us strengthened our commitment to evaluations that can contribute to better promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


Last year, our annual conference theme examined how we can begin to name the beliefs, norms, and practices that prevent evaluation, research, and learning from being in service of and contributing to equity. We heard from our participants that the topic is critical, and applications are of utmost importance. Therefore, MAE’s 27th Annual Conference will continue the conversation about the promise of equitable evaluation with a focus on practice. We are specifically looking for submissions that provide practical evaluation tools and strategies for conducting evaluations in ways that contribute to equitable evaluation processes and equitable societal outcomes. Some examples include evaluation with hard to reach groups, participatory evaluation, storytelling, collective impact, use of media literacy strategies, data visualization, and evaluation of social change and community organizing initiatives.


If you are interested in becoming a conference sponsor, please visit our sponsorships page.


For questions, please contact the Conference Committee Co-chairs: Tomoko Wakabayashi

(twakabayashi@oakland.edu) or Ebony Reddock (ebony@bumblebeeeval.com).



Conference Sessions (Including Materials if available)

Thursday

Keynote: Paul Elam, Utilization of a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens to help Guide Strategic Engagement and Evaluation

Description: The field of evaluation is being challenged to utilize processes that consider who is being evaluated and who is conducting the evaluation. MPHI has developed a framework for strategic engagement in service of a culturally responsive, racially equitable evaluation (CRREE).  Using this framework can transform evaluations. Critical and substantive nuances are often missed, ignored, or misinterpreted when an evaluator is unaware of the culture of those being evaluated. CRREE can be utilized to undo racism and oppression previously upheld by researchers, evaluators, institutions, and systems.


Session A: Erika Sturgis, Megan Zelinsky, Designing Survey Demographic Questions with Equity in Mind

Description: Join this session to engage with peers and subject matter experts around best practices when writing survey demographic questions. This collaborative session will explore when to include questions about participants’ identities, how best to incorporate them into your survey, and why issues of equity are central to both.


Session B: Quisha Brown, Evaluation Using the Progressive Outcomes Scale (POS) Logic Model Framework

Description: Participants will receive a demonstration of the Progressive Outcomes Scale (POS) approach, developed in 2020 by Quisha Brown in response to the racial wealth gap [exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic] to aid organizations in the immediate need to add a racial equity focus when developing program logic models.


Session C: DaSha Stockton, Jen Torres, Linda Gordon, Moving beyond data to intentional engagement practices

Description: Systems change is often thought of as changing policies and practices to achieve equity; however, this is a shallow representation and a change in systems should go much deeper. Thinking of systems as discrete categories from interpersonal relationships removes the root causes of racism, genderism, power structures, and so forth, and exhibits it as a singular solution that can be a fix all to end inequities. This is a reductionist approach to equity. In order to achieve equity, we need systems change that goes deeper than policies and practices or linking services and programs. We need change that shifts the conditions that are holding the problems in place by focusing on root causes, especially the role of racism, and addressing relationships and power within systems. These are ways we can change the way we talk about and act on population health.

We recognize that this type of systems change is difficult, and many systems leaders don’t know how to lead it and community partners may struggle with conceptualizing it. To address this need, the Achieving Birth Equity through Systems Transformation project (ABEST) built capacity among state and local leaders to lead systems change and to shift mental models and narratives. The project partnered with two communities to develop specific, actionable strategies for transformative systems change to tackle the root causes of inequities in maternal and infant mortality.

We also recognize that transforming systems is rarely seen, so how does an evaluator assess systems change? We are often in this situation where we need to rethink, reshape, and reinvent our evaluation approach based on increasing knowledge about the communities we engage with or the lack thereof. But we are not often in a situation where we have to think about assessing structural, relational and transformative changes. Because the project was responsive to changes with each engagement with state leaders and community partners, the ABEST evaluation team engaged in a developmental approach to parallel the responsiveness to changes as they happened. This was important because equity in practice in evaluation must move beyond the parameters of data and inflexible plans, and into the realm of intentional and meaningful representations of engagement.

During this presentation we will specifically address some core elements of how we put equity into practice throughout the life course of the ABEST project. Some areas of note we will include are:

  • Discussing the journey of engaging with community partners and how this directly informed our evaluation approach and dissemination practices
  • How the architecture of our workshop series built capacity to engage in health equity work and led to shifts in narratives, and importantly how the evaluation acted as an extension of series.
  • Lastly, we will discuss lessons learned and how we are continuing to move forward with this work.


Session D: Carrie Hammerman, Flavio DiStefano, Sharing the Power: Reframing Evaluation as an Equity-Centered Practice

Description: Let’s face it. We can face pushback to evaluation from all sides - program participants, staff, and leadership. We’ll unpack this resistance and offer a reframe to invite greater participation. We’ll also discuss an effective feedback loop model that puts individuals at the center by sharing the power of evaluation.


Friday:

Plenary Speaker: Kylie Hutchinson, Three Practical Tools for Your Equitable Evaluation Toolbox

Description: An evaluator’s toolbox is always changing (some might say getting heavier), but that’s a good thing as we continually adapt to the changing world around us. In this candid and informative session, evaluator Kylie Hutchinson will share her (sometimes bumpy) journey towards practising more equitable evaluation plus three of her most favourite tools. "


Session E: Ebony Chante Reddock, Larry Sanna, Markell Miller, Power in Representation: The Use of an Evaluation Advisory Group in a Food Systems Organization Evaluation

Description: During this session, the presenters will share the lessons they learned from implementing an evaluation advisory group (EAG) in the context of an equitable evaluation. They will also build on these lessons to provide attendees with tricks and traps for implementing an EAG in their work. The presenters will also share with attendees how they engaged EAG members in the Most Significant Change process, specifically data collection and analysis.


Session F: Valerie Marshall, Lessons from the field: Marrying equity lenses and evaluation approaches

Description: This interactive webinar will use an evaluation of a complex, local multi-year public health initiative as a backdrop to understanding how evaluation approaches can be utilized in the field and complement an equity lens. Session attendees are also invited to share their experiences, lessons learned, and resources.


Session G: Karla Mitchell, Andre Barkholz, Maria Schmieder, A “Snapshot” into Inclusive Practices for Building a Representative Evaluation


Session H: Lauren Beriont, Redefining evaluation partnerships as art-based and participant-centered

Description: Join EC for a case-study of a two-year project with a grassroots partner to share our lessons about equitable engagement and ways we continue to identify and counter white supremacy in our work. We will share evaluation approaches we’ve found useful for small grassroots organizations, outline participatory evaluation process used, and explore arts-based evaluation deliverables.


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