Evaluating Research Centers in Minority Institutions: Framework, metrics, best practices, and challenges

Abstract: The NIH-funded Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program is currently funding 18 academic institutions to strengthen the research environment and contribution to health disparities research. The purpose of this multiphase mixed-methods study was to establish a uniform evaluation framework for demonstrating the collective success of this research consortium. Methods included discussions of aims and logic models at the RCMI Evaluators’ Workshop, a literature review to inform an evaluation conceptual framework, and a case study survey to obtain evaluation-related information and metrics. Ten RCMIs participated in the workshop and 14 submitted responses to the survey. The resultant RCMI Evaluation Conceptual Model presents a practical ongoing approach to document RCMIs’ impacts on health disparities. Survey results identified 37 common metrics under four primary categories. Evaluation challenges were issues related to limited human resources, data collection, decision-making, defining metrics, cost-sharing, and revenue-generation. There is a need for further collaborative efforts across RCMI sites to engage program leadership and community stakeholders in addressing the identified evaluation challenges and measurement. Program leadership should be engaged to apply the Evaluation.

Sy, A., Hayes, T., Laurila, K., Noboa, C., Langwerden, R. J., Andújar-Pérez, D. A., … & Penn, T. (2020). Evaluating Research Centers in Minority Institutions: Framework, Metrics, Best Practices, and Challenges. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8373. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17228373