Who We Are

Evaluation efforts attempt to understand the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of different evidence-informed and evidence-based programs for people of all ages. Utilizing a variety of funded and non-funded initiatives, the Public Health Evaluation Studies Group (PHESG) serves as a collaborative entity housed within the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior in the University of Georgia College of Public Health to foster new and sustainable partnerships between academic institutions, the public health system, the aging services network, the healthcare system, and the general public.

Drawing upon expertise throughout the College of Public Health and UGA, the Group collaborates with local, state, and national agencies to evaluate and assess their public-health policies, activities, and programs across a variety of health topics.

What Do We Do

The Group offers program evaluation and survey research assistance to community-based organizations, which enhances their ability to measure success, gauge health-related impact, and advance initiatives.  The Group also provides UGA students with opportunities to gain practical evaluation and research experience in community settings, which enables them to work alongside community partners and apply skills learned in the classroom.

The Public Health Evaluation Studies Group provides technical and programmatic assistance related to:

  • Logic model development
  • Program implementation planning and training
  • Data collection protocol development
  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Report writing
  • Manuscript writing for peer-reviewed publication

Who To Contact

Marsha Davis, Ph.D.
Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior

Current Projects

Putting CDSMP to Work: Implementation of the Live Healthy, Work Healthy Program

This is a 5-year project funded the by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The major goals of this project are to determine a) if the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) tailored to worksites can be efficacious, b) the comparative effectiveness of the worksite-tailored CDSMP when compared to the original CDSMP, and c) the cost-effectiveness and return-on-investment of the two interventions.  Principal Investigators for the project are Dr. Mark G. Wilson and Dr. Matthew Lee Smith at Texas A&M University.


Completed Projects

Walk Georgia

Working collaboratively with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and its partners, this $1,000,000 grant from Coca-Cola supports Walk Georgia, a web-based fitness program designed to encourage activity and exercise through accountability and community.  The Walk Georgia program provides free fitness tracking, research-based knowledge, and resources on fitness.  The overall Walk Georgia initiative also includes mini-grants, community outreach across the state.  Dr. Matthew Lee Smith served as the process and outcome evaluator for this initiative.

Evaluating Evidence-Based Programming for Older Adults

This 1-year agreement is to evaluate evidence-based programs in conjunction with the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) National Falls Prevention Resource Center and National CDSME Resource Center.  As part of this project, studies are being designed to examine the geospatial distribution and environmental characteristics of delivered workshops.  Delivery site infrastructure as related to participant reach are also being examined. Finally, associations of personal characteristics and intervention dose as related to program outcomes are being investigated. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith served as the Principal Investigator for this initiative data-driven initiative.

Facilitating the Evaluation of the Processes and Impacts of the State-Driven Fall Prevention (SDFP) Project.

Working collaboratively with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the three funded State Health Department Injury Programs, the overall goal of this project was to facilitate the evaluation of the processes and impacts of state-driven fall prevention programs for older adults. This project had two primary aims: 1) to determine the impact of the designated multi-component fall prevention interventions on health, health care utilization, and costs using quantitative and qualitative methods; and 2) build states’ capacity for ensuring program successes by providing technical assistance on strategies for enhancing and monitoring the reach, fidelity, sustainability, and scalability of evidence-based fall prevention programming. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith served as a co-principal investigator on this project along with others from the University of North Carolina and Texas A&M University.

Childhood Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant Program (CPAN) is funded through the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. Dr. Rebecca Mullis, emeritus professor at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, was Principal Investigator and Dr. Marsha Davis, associate dean for outreach at the College of Public Health, served as the Evaluation Director for CPAN, which aimed to address childhood obesity and physical inactivity through school- and community-based intervention programs. CPAN targeted children and youth outside of the metropolitan Atlanta area.

Citation: “Children’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (CPAN) Shows Promising Outcomes,” Rebecca Mullis, PhD, Principal Investigator, Department of Foods & Nutrition, Dr. Marsha Davis, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, Department of Health Promotion, Jim Bason, PhD, Data Management Coordinator, University of Georgia Survey Research Center, Reflections by Healthcare Georgia Foundation: Lisa Medellin, MSW, Program Officer, and Gary D. Nelson, PhD, President, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Publication #54, September 2011.  [HGF Results Matter: Children’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Program]

Training Sessions

PHESG training sessions are typically provided once a year.

Strategies to Enhance Poster Design for Professional Conference Presentation

This Session enables students to strengthen their abilities to create effective poster presentations for professional conferences.  During this interactive session, participants learn strategies to enhance their poster designs, critique the content and aesthetics of various poster presentation formats, and workshop their own poster presentation designs for future use.  Attendees are invited to bring 8×11 hard copies of previously presented poster presentations and/or those to be presented as their Capstone (or to be presented at other relevant events).

Strategies and Tips for Writing Manuscripts and Publishing in Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Journals

This Session enables students to strengthen their understanding about processes related to manuscript writing and publishing.  During this interactive session, participants learn strategies to enhance their abilities to select the audiences for research findings, form writing teams, identify appropriate journals, organize and write manuscripts, and respond to reviewer comments.  No publishing experience is necessary to attend this session.  To maximize the application of session activities, attendees are encouraged to focus on a specific project or manuscript in progress.

Curriculum Vitae Enhancement Strategies

A scholar’s curriculum vita (CV) is a representation of their scholarship and productivity and helps define their professional identity.  This Session provides strategies to students and scholars to enhance and strengthen their CV. During this interactive session, participants critique the content and format of various CVs, identify desirable CV characteristics based on their current status and unique career goals, and identify opportunities to engage in activities to expand and ‘round out’ their CV.  Attendees are invited to bring electronic and/or hard copies of their CV and examples of strong CVs from which to model.

Telephone-Based Data Collection

This Session enables students and professionals to strengthen their skills related to collecting data via telephone. During this interactive session, students understand the importance of planning and aligning data collection strategies with data collection methods prior to initiating a telephone-based data collection effort.  Tips are provided that relate to preparing for the call (before), conducting the call (during), and documenting, reporting and following-up (after).  Activities are hosted to facilitate guided practice in a safe environment.

Publications and Reports

 Relevant Training Publications

Smith, M. L., Levkoff, S. E., & Ory, M. G. (2016). Community Case Study Article Type: Criteria for submission and peer review. Frontiers in Public Health – Public Health Education and Promotion, 4: 56. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2016.00056.

Smith, M. L. & Ory, M. G. (2014). Measuring success: Evaluation Article Types for the Public Health Education and Promotion section of Frontiers in Public Health. Frontiers in Public Health – Public Health Education and Promotion, 2, 111. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00111.

Goltz, H. H. & Smith, M. L. (2014). Forming and developing your professional identity: Easy as PI. Health Promotion Practice, 15(6), 785-789. doi:10.1177/1524839914541279.

Foster, M., Shurtz, S., & Smith, M. L. (2013). Translating research to practice: Criteria for applying literature search results to your work. Health Promotion Practice, 15(2), 157-160. doi:10.1177/1524839913511628.

Smith, M. L. & Shurtz, S. (2012). Search and ye shall find: Practical literature review techniques for health educators. Health Promotion Practice, 13(5), 666-669. doi:10.1177/1524839911432930

Smith, M. L. & Goltz, H. H. (2012). What is hidden in my data? Practical strategies to reveal Yule-Simpson’s Paradox and strengthen research quality in health education research. Health Promotion Practice, 13(5), 637-641. doi:10.1177/1524839911419290

Smith, M. L. (2008). Learning by doing: Preparing the next generation of health education researchers. The Eta Sigma Gamma Student Monograph, 25(3), 55-60.

Relevant Technical Reports

Murray, D., Smith, M. L., & Bowie, M. (2016). Walk Georgia – Evaluation Report (December 2016). The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Athens, GA.

Jackson, K.., Scheckler, S., & Smith, M. L. (2013). Washington County Social Asset Inventory of Youth Services and Needs. The University of Georgia Archway Partnership, Athens, GA (June 2013).