The project summaries described below offer only brief descriptions of the methods utilized. For more information on CuSAG’s evaluation methods, the reader should click on CuSAG’s Ethnographic Assessment and Evaluation System (EAES)

An Ethnographic Assessment of the Washington, D.C. Community Health Initiative (1997-1998)
In 1997, The Annie E. Casey Foundation funded a collaborative between the formal health care system, and a number of community based organizations in Washington D.C., in order to “engage community residents in public health care delivery systems so that those systems would become more receptive to the needs of residents.” CuSAG was asked to do a one-year formative assessment of the processes during the initiation of this project. Research methods included: (1) observation of monthly partnership meetings; (2) document assessments of notes and other written materials of the process collected by the lead organization; (3) observation of community organizing and training activities at the neighborhood level; (4) observations, informal interviews, and assessments of relevant statistical data at the neighborhood level; and (5) ethnographic interviews of partnership representatives and those attending training sessions.

Ethnographic Evaluation of the AIDS Perinatal Prevention and Life Enrichment Project (APPLE) (1991-1992)
CuSAG was contracted by the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) to carry out the ethnographic component of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) A qualitative evaluation was carried out to complement the more quantitative evaluation (outcome and process) that was conducted by Johns Hopkins University. The methods used included focus group interviews (FGIs) of residents of the target community, ethnographic interviews of project staff, and observations of staff activities (particularly community outreach workers), as well as neighborhood risk assessment research.

The Use of Qualitative Methods in Program Evaluation (1990, 1991)
CuSAG was asked by the office of Minority Health to provide a workshop on using qualitative/ethnographic methods at two of its annual grantee conferences. Participants included representatives from projects all around the United States.

Diversity in the Workplace Workshop (1990)
CuSAG conducted a one-day diversity-in-the-workplace workshop for staff of the Maryland State DHMH AIDS Administration (AA) The morning was spent carrying out focus group discussions with groups of staff members organized by high and low employment status in the agency. The division in the employment status was reflected in the fact that the lower-level outreach workers were primarily black, as opposed to the higher-level staff and faculty members who were predominantly white. This activity was carried out as an exploratory needs assessment regarding perceived hierarchical and communication problems that had racial overtones. Some black employees felt problems with regards to their sense of “split loyalties”—loyalty that they felt to the black communities targeted by the agency, and loyalty to the agency whose policies or actions they felt were not always in the best interests of those communities. The afternoon was spent using this information (anonymously), and further exploring these issues, as well as suggested solutions to some of these issues in a larger group. The final part of the day was spent with the Director of the AA at that time, who as a white South African, found the workshop to be of value in helping her to process some of her own problems, which she encountered while working in a political administration where she sometimes felt some distrust because of the racial apartheid existing in South Africa at that time.



CuSAG: The Cultural Systems Analysis Group
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