The Health of Boston 2012-2013 Report (NEW)
The Research and Evaluation Office (REO) serves several important functions at the Boston Public Health Commission. Broadly these functions are research, public health surveillance, analysis and interpretation of public health data, and program evaluation.
The REO conducts public health research that focuses on understanding determinants of health. These research activities are conducted in conjunction with community partners and academic institutions. In addition, the REO provides technical assistance to support the research activities of BPHC programs. This includes the development of research plans to reflect program priorities, design of research studies and data collection tools, review of existing scientific literature, and the preparation of abstracts and manuscripts. The technical assistance provided by the REO strives to strengthen the research capacity of BPHC programs.
The REO also conducts program evaluation. Program evaluation, a systematic and objective assessment of the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, and impact of a program or intervention, is critical to understanding whether or not a program is meeting its stated goals. The results of an evaluation are often used to define priorities, strengthen program activities, and allocate resources. REO evaluation activities include conducting evaluations of BPHC programs and initiatives, assisting all BPHC programs in identifying short, intermediate and long term outcomes through the development of logic models, reviewing program data collection instruments, development of evaluation plans for grants, and working with external evaluators.
Surveillance and Analysis
Public health surveillance, which is the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data, is another core function of the REO. Data used to conduct public health surveillance include city-wide survey data collected by the REO as well as data obtained from local and national sources. In addition to surveillance data, the REO works with data from other sources including program data and survey data.
The REO analyzes and interprets these data for dissemination through a variety of sources including the annual Health of Boston Report, presentations to partners, community meetings and responding to public data requests. The data are also used to assist in the identification of priorities, development of BPHC initiatives, informing public discussion and increase awareness of pressing public health issues, legislative advocacy, guide BPHC program decision-making, and evaluation of the effectiveness of programs.