The ACTSI Evaluation Framework
Specific Aim 1. Track and assess aims and milestones of the core infrastructure that supports clinical and translational research in the metropolitan Atlanta area
Specific Aim 2. Assess the overall impact of the ACTSI on clinical and translational science in the metropolitan Atlanta area
Specific Aim 3. Provide support to program level evaluation activities
The purpose of the Tracking & Evaluation program is to provide tracking and evaluation for the ACTSI and to document the success of its activities. According to its specific aims, the program will document the success of the ACTSI in promoting discovery from research to improve the health of Georgians, which will transform the culture of clinical and translational science in the metropolitan Atlanta area. This will improve the health of the community and enhance the training of researchers who will translate research discoveries into clinical trials and, ultimately, into practice.
The ACTSI is aided by an integrated and comprehensive evaluation component that addresses the broad outcomes that accrue through ACTSI educational and research activities. Tracking & Evaluation works with core program directors and staff to collect tracking and evaluation indicators, interpret data, and make recommendations for program planning. In addition, Tracking & Evaluation works with core program staff by assisting in evaluation methods, including development of critical evaluation questions and instruments.
Consistent with its specific aims, the primary goal of Tracking & Evaluation is to assess whether and to what extent the specific aims and milestones for each ACTSI program were met. Further, the evaluation is designed to provide process and outcome assessment data at logical time points regarding the progress and impact of the program. The data is used by the various constituencies to monitor programmatic progress and programmatic outcomes to assure that the program is reaching its stated specific aims in a timely and economically responsible manner. The longitudinal evaluation component provide:
1) Detailed formative guidance to assess initial and ongoing project activities and provide for mid-course corrections
2) Summative evidence of program effectiveness, and impacts in reaching its stated specific aims and objectives
To ensure use, the program staff devotes the necessary time and resources to ensure that data is collected and relationships between various program directors is fostered. Further, evaluation data is reported on a schedule that maximizes its use. Results measures are reported to program staff once the data is available and analyzed. An annual synthesis of the data is also reported to program staff and each annual report will include discussion and recommendations for future action plans for each core ACTSI function.
The logic model is a map for understanding the ACTSI evaluation activities. The Inputs are the infrastructure and institutional resources invested into the conduct of the ACTSI. They describe how resources both internal and external to Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), and other collaborators will lead to the ultimate goal of increasing the efficiency of clinical and translational science to patient care to affect the health of the greater Atlanta community. The Activities for the logic model are derived from the specific aims for the ACTSI and describe the actions that the ACTSI conduct using its inputs to eventually lead to the intended Impacts.
The Outputs for the logic model are derived from the approach for the ACTSI as the areas of emphasis. These are expected to result from ACTSI's Activities. Achievements of the ACTSI's Outputs are expected to lead to the described Outcomes. The Outcomes are the results that the ACTSI hopes to achieve through its activities. Progress and achievement of the ACTSI's Outcomes are expected to lead to the described Impacts. The Impacts are ultimately the results that the ACTSI hopes to achieve to effect change in the community.
Overall Evaluation of the ACTSI
Tracking & Evaluation works with the individual ACTSI programs to develop and conduct ongoing evaluations. For each ACTSI program, the specific aims, process metrics, and outcome metrics are discussed. Each program has provided key objectives and evaluation indicators that will be used for the evaluations. In addition, Tracking & Evaluation incorporates indicators based on the Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the EffecTs of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science (STAR METRICS) program to evaluate progress for the individual ACTSI programs and for the ACTSI grant overall.
Over the course of each project year, Tracking & Evaluation follows a timeline to document the progress of the individual ACTSI programs and provide feedback based on the evaluations of the programs. Between the time that the CTSA Annual Progress Report is submitted and the start of the upcoming project year, Tracking & Evaluation will meet with Governance, the ACTSI Councils, and core programs to discuss the extent that goals, specific aims, and milestones have been met and to assist in planning for the upcoming project year. As the next CTSA Annual Progress Report approaches, findings from the evaluation will be used as part of the CTSA Component Reports.
Tracking & Evaluation is integral in monitoring program implementation and assessing the progress of the ACTSI in pursuing goals of focused education and training, innovative support of discovery, and ethical community engagement. In doing so, the collaborative partners of the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute rapidly and efficiently translate scientific discoveries to impact all populations of the Atlanta community.