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 eorts 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.