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PDA Shares Lessons Learned at AEA 2013

Written by Anne Betzner

Five PDA staff attended and presented at the 27th American Evaluation Association conference held on October 16-19 in Washington DC.  The range of our presentations illustrates the range of methods we use and the range of tobacco control interventions in which we have developed expertise:

  • Angie Ficek shared PDA’s experience using tablet computers for data collection and the lessons we learned from using this technology.  Participants seemed most interested in learning about data security and cost considerations. Stay tuned for a future  blog post about this topic!
  • Anne Betzner presented lessons learned from conducting economic evaluations for tobacco cessation programs.  She focused on strategies to assess cost-effectiveness.  Participants liked the down-to-earth discussion in layman’s terms and had the most discussion about the importance of defining the perspective from which the analysis is conducted.
  • Traci Capesius discussed the methodological challenges of assessing K-12 school district tobacco policies. She discussed the unique context of the evaluation, how  understanding that context re-framed the data collection approach, how a policy evaluation tool was modified to fit the complex content of the policies, as well as how the evaluation ultimately provided results (and a tool) that had immediate and future utility to the client. Participants were most interested in development of the policy scoring rubric.
  • Melissa Chapman Haynes discussed PDA’s shifting approach to evaluating tobacco control media.  As the media strategy became more comprehensive, so did the modes of cessation intervention.  Melissa shared how a shift from logistic regression to structural equation modeling helped to model the complex systems involved.
  • Emily Subialka Nowariak led a round table discussion on technologies available to manage complex evaluation projects, highlighting our experience using Asana.  This discussion brought together an international group of evaluators with diverse interests for lively discussion.  Participants shared resources with each other both during and after the presentation.

Thankfully, the government shutdown ended just before our arrival, so we were able to squeeze in a little time to sight see. The five of us are pictured below enjoying dinner at one of many great restaurants in Dupont Circle.


Posted in Presentations