Current Evaluation Projects

The Evaluation Group  partners with community, tribal, school, and governmental organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate their programs. Our portfolio of evaluation projects reflects the full range of systems and health factors that contribute to population health outcomes. 

Click below to learn more about some of our current projects.

Behavioral Health- Prevention and Treatment

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Enhanced Prescription Drug Overdose Surveillance for States

UWPHI is working with staff in the Office of Health Informatics, Bureau of Public Health, Department of Health Services, to develop and implement new data analysis reports and studies using population, administrative and clinical health data to support grants that address prescription drug/opioid overdose related deaths and adverse events.

Evaluation Staff: Lecoanet, Bentley


Mental Health Services Evaluation

We are collaborating with DHS on its ongoing statewide evaluations of the mental health service system examining client satisfaction, client outcomes, service utilization, and program effectiveness. Major projects include redesign of the State public mental health data system, monitoring statewide trends in the use of the mental health system, and evaluation of client and system- level outcomes in children’s mental health programs that use a wraparound, integrated approach. Funded by the SAMHSA through DHS.

Evaluation Staff: Connor (PI), VerPlanck

Opioid Harm Prevention Program

This project focuses on reducing the overdose death rate and other harms from prescription opioids by cultivating expertise, building strong collaborative relationships and initiating bottom-up community change guided by data and evidence-based strategies. By enhancing and maximizing the use of the Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, fostering improved and targeted community level response and, promoting and implementing improved provider guidelines and education, we will be able to address the prescription drug harm epidemic.

Evaluation Staff: Moberg (PI), Bullard-Cawthorne, Feder, Godfrey, Prince, Tranmer, Zaleski

Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Related Deaths Prevention (PDO)

The PDO grant program is intended to reduce the number of opioid overdose-related deaths among people ages 18 and older in three selected Wisconsin counties: Sauk, Waukesha and Kenosha. Counties distribute naloxone (opiate antidote) to and train first responders and community members in naloxone use to prevent opioid overdose-related deaths.

Evaluation Staff: Feder, Lecoanet, Markeland, Bentley

Implementation Partners:  Kenosha County, Sauk County, Waukesha County

Funder: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Project AWARE

The purposes of the Wisconsin AWARE project are to make schools safer, improve school climates, increased capacity to identify warning signs of mental health problems among children and make appropriate referrals to mental health care, and increase capacity of the state and local education agencies to connect children and youth with behavioral health issues with needed services. The UW Population Health Institute’s evaluation of this project allows the communities to accurately track mental health referrals and service delivery, as well as providing technical assistance to the participating communities, Adams-Friendship & Ashland School Districts.

Evaluation Staff: Nuñez (PI), Burns, Kuo, Kelly

Project YES!

Wisconsin’s Project YES! targets youth and young adults who are at risk for, or are experiencing mental health problems, in Jefferson and Outagamie Counties. The UW Population Health Institute’s evaluation of this work will assess the effectiveness of efforts undertaken by the Department of Health Services and the county grantees to address the program goals. The evaluation will ensure fidelity of program implementation, collection of required and useful data, and timely reporting of the data to federal and county contacts.

Evaluation Staff: Lecoanet, Goodrich

Southwestern Wisconsin Behavioral Health Partnership

The South Western Community Action Program (SWCAP) is one of 10 community coalitions to win an award under a new statewide initiative of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). The initiative’s goal is the statewide improvement of behavioral health, physical health of those with behavioral health conditions, and prevention and healthcare resources. SWCAP will work with a multi-sector coalition of partners to expand access to care in the five-county region that includes Iowa, Grant, Green, Lafayette, and Richland counties. Potential strategies include some combination of enhancing tele-mental health capacity, supporting primary care physicians via trainings and access to specialist consultants, and increasing the number of health care professionals offering mental health services. This is an eight-year initiative, the first year dedicated to implementation planning. UWPHI is the contracted evaluator on the project and will also serve as academic partner.

Evaluation Staff: Feder, Lecoanet

Implementation Partners: Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program

Funder: Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program

Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways

The Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways program will pilot a way to more effectively utilize and coordinate existing community resources to build a sustainable model of coordinated access to a range of medical, physical, emotional, social and economic wraparound services and resources to people in recovery from opioid addiction and, thereby, improve their chances of sustained recovery.  Sober-living housing will support sobriety, and job training, placement services, access to public programs, and other resources will support reintegration into the community. The program will pilot this model in two rural southwestern Wisconsin counties.

Evaluation Staff: Feder, Lecoanet

Implementation Partners: Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program

State Opioid Response (SOR)

The program aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment using the three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (including prescription opioids, heroin and illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogs).  UWPHI will provide technical assistance to support implementation of the program, as well as monitoring and evaluation to document program activities.

Evaluation Staff: Linnan (PI), Sayavedra, Skalitzky, Walsh-Felz

Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminitration (SAMHSA) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success 2015

UWPHI has been contracted by the Department of Health Services (DHS) to evaluate this SAMHSA funded prevention grant. The grant will provide funding to coalitions in 14 high-need counties to implement prevention strategies aimed at reducing non-medical/unauthorized availability of and access to prescription drugs.

Evaluation Staff: Linnan (PI), Walsh-Felz, Skalitzky, Moberg, Lindberg

Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF Rx)

The SPF Rx grant program aims to raise awareness and education among healthcare providers and the community about the dangers of sharing medications and the risks of overprescribing, and is being implemented in two Wisconsin Counties: Sauk and Dodge. Facilitated by a contracted partner, The Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, the program walks community coalitions through SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework to target the priority issue of prescription drug misuse in their community, implement strategies to affect change and build capacity to sustain prevention efforts.

Evaluation Staff: Lecoanet, Feder, Markeland,  Bentley

Implementation Partners: Dodge County, Sauk County, The Alliance for Wisconsin Youth (AWY)

Funder: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Youth Treatment - Implementation

Wisconsin’s Youth Treatment-Implementation project (YT-I) targets transitional-aged youth (ages 16-25) who have a substance use disorder and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder.  YT-I will use the Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) model to provide services to youth and young adults and their family members in four locations in Wisconsin.  The evaluation includes technical assistance with program development and implementation, compliance with federal reporting requirements, fidelity monitoring, data analysis, and report development. This grant is funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 2017-2022.

Evaluation Staff: Lecoanet, Goodrich, Amos

Implementation Partners: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Funder: The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


Behavioral Health in Criminal Justice Populations

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Dane County District Attorney Opiate Diversion Program

The District Attorney’s Office Opiate Diversion Program is a pretrial diversion program that provides opiate addicted offenders with pre-charging diversion from justice system involvement by providing case management and resources.  Enhancing the program through the use of program evaluation support will provide the opportunity for program services and practices to more closely conform to Pretrial Performance Standards through fidelity assessment as well as use of data for ongoing program improvement. Funded by the WI Department of Justice Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program (TAD) from 2017-2021.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Funder: Wisconsin Department of Justice

Pathways to Recovery (a Madison and Dane County Initiative)

The Madison Police Department received a three-year grant to improve public safety and health in Madison and Dane County by diverting drug-addicted individuals from the criminal justice system through a framework of treatment referral and engagement. The Pathways to Recovery initiative will include proactive naloxone distribution, outreach with quick responses to incidents at the emergency room, and creation of safe stations at fire stations and other public facilities to provide assistance to individuals seeking help. The evaluation includes technical assistance with program development, evaluation plan development and implementation, the use of evaluation results for program improvement, and a summary of evaluation results. The grant is funded by The Bureau of Justice Assistance from 2019-2022.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Implementation Partners: Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, Public Health Madison Dane County, and Dane County Health and Human Services

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Saint Paul Mental Health Response Team

The Saint Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health Crisis Program received a three-year grant to implement a Mental Health Response Team serving the City of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Mental Health Response Team will use a co-responder model to connect individuals with mental health issues with services as a way to divert people from the cycle of incarceration. The evaluation includes technical assistance with program development, evaluation plan implementation, and assistance with data infrastructure. The grant is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance from 2019-2021.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Implementation Partners: The City of St. Paul, the St. Paul Police Department, and the Ramsey County Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health Crisis Program

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Child & Family Health Promotion Programs

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Fit Families

Fit Families is a child obesity prevention program targeting parents of 2 to 4 year old children at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Projects around Wisconsin. In FY2016, 26 WIC Program Agencies participated in Fit Families.  The overall project goals include increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, decreasing intake of sweetened beverages and juice, increasing daily physical activity, and decreasing screen time to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese.  Fit Families is funded by USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth, Busarow


Healthy Start

This program evaluation of a Healthy Start initiative to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal and child health has been ongoing since 1999. The Honoring Our Children program serves American Indian families through outreach, case management, health education, interconceptional care, depression screening and referral, and consortia-building in 8 Wisconsin Tribal communities. Funded by DHHS, HRSA via Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC).

Evaluation Staff: Núñez (PI), Jacobs

Funder: Health Resources and Services Administration via Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council


Tribal Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

Tribal PREP is an adolescent pregnancy prevention program implemented in two tribal communities in Wisconsin. UWPHI has been contracted as the evaluators, in partnership with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC). Tribal PREP is a 5-year grant that seeks to decrease adolescent birth and STI rates, improve youth self-efficacy, and promote positive youth development.

Evaluation Staff: Nuñez, Weymouth

Funder: U.S. Administration for Children and Families via Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council

USDA Nutrition Education and Promotion

Through the 2017-2020 Wisconsin Team Nutrition Training Grant (WI TNTG), the Wisconsin (WI) Department of Public Instruction (DPI) seeks to provide schools with training and resources to assist students participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Specifically, this grant will provide: a) training to school nutrition professions, b) nutrition education to K-12 students, and c) technical assistance to school staff to strengthen their school wellness policies. UWPHI will assist with a comprehensive evaluation including quasi-experimental methodologies to explore change in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors over time.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth (PI), Skalitzky

Implementation Partners: Wisconsin Team Nutrition, Department of Public Instruction 

Funder: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) via Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction


Community Health Promotion

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Legacy Community Alliance for Health

A dynamic collaboration of Wisconsin local governments, state agencies, academic partners, and nonprofit groups have joined forces to create the Legacy Community Alliance for Health. The collaborative has been awarded a $1 million Community Impact Grant to improve health and health equity through local government policymaking and programming. The five-year project will build capacity within participating municipalities to improve health and health equity using data, evaluation, and evidence-informed policymaking processes. The goal is to help communities achieve gains in at least one of four policy areas of interest: clean water, active transportation, safe and affordable housing, and healthy and affordable local food systems. Each community will choose its own policy approach.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg (PI), Charron, Faust

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program


State Injury & Violence Prevention Program

Wisconsin was one of 23 state health departments that was provided funding for the Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program. The team works to implement, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based strategies and policies in issues related to injury and violence. Through the next five years, the team intends to strengthen statewide partners, programs, and policies, to demonstrate an impact in the reduction of injury and violence related morbidity and mortality.

Evaluation Staff: Andrews, Imm, Lindberg

Funder: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Public Health, Health Systems, and Research Infrastructure Evaluation Projects

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Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program

The overarching goal of the Coordinating Center of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program is to support transdisciplinary scientific research to enhance our understanding of environmental and genetic factors underlying breast cancer risk throughout the lifespan, with emphasis on the influence of environmental exposures during specific time windows of susceptibility. The BCERP Coordinating Center integrates efforts across the network of individual Windows of Susceptibility research projects with NIH program staff members, breast cancer advocates, community partners, and external stakeholders to facilitate transdisciplinary research through collaboration, coordination, and communication.

Evaluation Staff:  Lindberg

Funders: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Cancer Institute (NCI)


Community Resource Navigation Program

This project tests the effectiveness of the UW Center for Patient Partnerships Community Resource Navigator Program, an innovative program to enhance health professional education, reduce unmet social needs, and improve patient health. The Navigator Program incorporates screening for unmet social needs, like housing instability or food insecurity, into routine clinical care. When patients screen positive for unmet social needs, they are paired with student navigators who help connect patients with community resources that support patients in achieving their self-identified goals. Evidence of effectiveness is required before health systems would implement the program broadly, which could improve health and equity in communities across Wisconsin. This project is poised to inform the national conversation on the effectiveness of addressing unmet social needs in the clinical setting. 

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg (PI), Walsh-Felz

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program

Innovative State and Local Public Health Strategies to Prevent and Manage Diabetes and Heart Disease and Stroke

UWPHI has been contracted by the Department of Health Services to support rigorous evaluation that builds the evidence base for innovative strategies to mitigate the burden of diabetes and heart disease. UWPHI evaluators will support Wisconsin’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program s through the design, testing, and evaluation of novel approaches aimed at reducing risks and complications in high burden populations and communities. One focus of the evaluation will be a novel, comprehensive approach to increase enrollment in the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program in Eau Claire County through development of bi-directional e-referral systems, creation and testing of tailored promotional messages, development of a peer learning network for Lifestyle Coaches, exploration and development of solutions to eliminate participation barriers, and the testing of telehealth models to best serve this rural population. A second focus of the evaluation will be to test the Pathways Community HUB model as a comprehensive, data-driven approach for cardiovascular disease prevention and management. The HUB will improve care coordination through the use of community health workers and provide strong infrastructure for evaluation and assessment. The innovative nature of the HUB targets high-burden populations by addressing social determinants of health, encourages value-based payment structures, and increases community-clinical linkages and bi-directional referrals for cardiovascular disease management and prevention. 

Evaluation Staff: Suryanarayanan, Lindberg

Funder: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

UWPHI partners to conduct mixed-methods evaluation activities for the UW Institute for Clinical Translational Research (ICTR), funded by a Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. The evaluation team works on numerous projects designed to evaluate the impact of the Institute.

Evaluation Staff: Bahrainian, Moberg, Sayavedra, Suryanarayanan


National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety

The goal of the Evaluation Core at the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety is to guide documentation and analysis of the success of the center and its projects in achieving objectives for research, education, and public service. Evaluation data provide empirically-driven feedback to guide decision-making, policy formulation, and improvements at the center, all of which are dedicated to improving the safety and health of children who live on, work for, or visit agricultural settings.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg (PI), Raygor

Funder: National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH)