Scholars Named to Program Promoting Diversity in the Evaluation Field

Posted September 25, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog scholarsnamedtoprogram 2017

The Casey Foun­da­tion has wel­comed 20 new schol­ars into Lead­ers in Equi­table Eval­u­a­tion and Diver­si­ty (LEEAD), which is part of an effort to increase the ranks of under­rep­re­sent­ed researchers of col­or in lead­er­ship posi­tions in the eval­u­a­tion field.

This is the sec­ond cohort of LEEAD, a nine-month pro­gram launched in 2016 with 15 mid-career schol­ars from diverse back­grounds and research dis­ci­plines. This year’s class also includes high­ly accom­plished post­doc­tor­al researchers from such fields as pub­lic health, edu­ca­tion, social work, psy­chol­o­gy, polit­i­cal sci­ence and orga­ni­za­tion­al leadership.

LEEAD, part of the Foundation’s Expand­ing the Bench® ini­tia­tive, aims to build a pipeline of diverse researchers to pur­sue careers in eval­u­a­tion that will improve out­comes for vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties. Casey believes that increas­ing diver­si­ty in the research and eval­u­a­tion field improves the knowl­edge base, makes for bet­ter sci­ence and helps expand the num­ber of lead­ers from under­rep­re­sent­ed com­mu­ni­ties who are com­mit­ted to cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive and equi­table evaluation.

Ndi­di Amu­tah, for exam­ple, is a vis­it­ing research sci­en­tist at the Cen­ter for Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Research on AIDS at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty who focus­es on HIV/AIDS pre­ven­tion and treat­ment, health dis­par­i­ties and sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive health. She hopes to put her LEEAD expe­ri­ence to use in eval­u­at­ing the knowl­edge, atti­tudes and behav­ioral changes of women involved in her pro­gram and in pro­vid­ing ser­vices to non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions that focus on com­mu­ni­ties of color.

Noe Ruben Chavez is a post­doc­tor­al research fel­low at the City of Hope Com­pre­hen­sive Can­cer Cen­ter in Los Ange­les Coun­ty. He wants to become a go-to leader” in eval­u­at­ing inter­ven­tions to help under­rep­re­sent­ed stu­dents pur­sue sci­ence and health care careers, empow­er Lati­no par­ents to influ­ence local health pol­i­cy and devel­op cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive train­ing for health­care providers.

LEEAD pro­vides each scholar:

  • A semes­ter of rig­or­ous online eval­u­a­tion coursework;
  • A men­tor with com­pat­i­ble inter­ests who is an estab­lished expert in eval­u­a­tion; and
  • A res­i­den­cy with an esteemed research orga­ni­za­tion, think tank, foun­da­tion or pri­vate firm.

Schol­ars also par­tic­i­pate in two in-per­son gath­er­ings with men­tors and oth­er eval­u­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als, with the first tak­ing place Sept. 21 and 22 at the Foundation’s Bal­ti­more head­quar­ters. The con­ven­ing cov­ered top­ics such as mak­ing eval­u­a­tions more cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive, nav­i­gat­ing role con­flict and con­tracts and budgeting.

Last year, eight influ­en­tial eval­u­a­tion orga­ni­za­tions host­ed one or more LEEAD schol­ars, includ­ing Amer­i­can Insti­tutes for Research, Child Trends, Hard­er & Com­pa­ny, Math­e­mat­i­ca, ORS Impact, RAND Cor­po­ra­tion, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mem­phis and the Urban Insti­tute. Rather than being sole­ly Casey-dri­ven, we have ben­e­fit­ed from rela­tion­ships and part­ner­ships with a num­ber of enti­ties in the eval­u­a­tion field,” notes Kan­tahya­nee Mur­ray, a senior research asso­ciate with the Foun­da­tion, who directs the Exa­pand­ing the Bench initiative.

In an eval­u­a­tion of the first cohort, schol­ars report­ed build­ing valu­able rela­tion­ships with their men­tors and hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to apply their knowl­edge in a real world and cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive set­ting through their residencies.

LEEAD has been trans­for­ma­tion­al for me,” says Min­de­lyn Ander­son, an alum­ni liai­son for the first LEEAD cohort who is now pro­gram direc­tor of an online master’s of sci­ence pro­gram in mea­sure­ment and eval­u­a­tion at Amer­i­can University.

See the list of schol­ars cho­sen for the sec­ond LEEAD cohort

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