In The Community

Community Health Initiatives

Evaluation and Learning

A rigorous evaluation is a central part of our Community Health Initiatives effort at Kaiser Permanente. We use the information gathered through the evaluation to improve our programs and the impact they have. We also contribute to the field by building the evidence base for what works and sharing that with others.

Our 5-point evaluation philosophy values program improvement, organizational learning, and community participation in the evaluation process:

  • Use data to improve, not just to prove.
  • Measure the impact of our investments to drive effective interventions.
  • Engage community partners as participants and stakeholders.
  • Develop new methods and share with the field.
  • Leverage Kaiser Permanente’s unique assets.

Evaluation Approach

Kaiser Permanente’s goal for its place-based Community Health Initiatives is ambitious: to improve the health of every resident living in the 50+ participating communities. These “population-level” improvements focus on achieving outcomes such as increased physical activity, healthier diets, reductions in obesity, and improvements in obesity-related health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

The design principles that form the foundation for Community Health Initiatives provide a roadmap for achieving population-level outcomes, which is summarized in the Community Health Initiatives logic model. The overarching idea is that collaborative approaches to changing community policies and the environment will lead to sustainable changes that promote healthy eating and active living, and ultimately, improvements in health outcomes.

The evaluation process measures the success of an initiative by following these actions:

  • Documenting whether sustainable community changes are made (e.g. Are more children physically active during the school day? Are local grocery stores offering more healthful items?)
  • Assessing the impact of those changes on behavior.
  • Measuring long-term population-level outcomes using surveys of youth and adults living in the communities, Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health records and other data.

Evaluation Results to Date

Kaiser Permanente is currently working with more than 50 communities across the country to improve population health through Healthy Eating Active Living collaboratives.  We compile and report evaluation information in several ways, ranging from detailed individual community case studies to overall summaries across the Community Health Initiatives program. Because each collaborative was launched at varying times and because each community effort is implemented over multiple year, data collection that includes follow-up population-level surveys has been completed in only a few sites to date.  You can find our results presented in the following reports.

Stay tuned to this section as we continue to update our findings.

Learn about our methodology for improving population health — Population Dose — and download our Dose Toolkit.

For more information on evaluation methods and findings, contact