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Health Research & Evaluation

You may need guidance to boost your project or take it in a new direction. You may wonder if you are getting the most for the dollars spent, or if your program is making a real impact.

We specialize in these data collection activities:

  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews
  • Media monitoring
  • Observation
  • Surveys

ORAU evaluation specialists can help move projects forward in an efficient, data-driven manner that matches the specific need and audience. They have experience in setting up projects with clear and measurable goals and objectives, identifying the best approaches to gather data for your evaluation, and utilizing cost-effective data collection methods to measure short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes. ORAU evaluation specialists use this data to demonstrate research findings, lessons learned and best practices for clients.

Our team can tailor a plan that is right for your evaluation needs. Surveys, interviews, message testing and other data collection efforts are designed thoughtfully and conducted skillfully to obtain credible results. Our experienced team will collaborate with you to develop the evidence-based insights you need.

Small group discussing health communication materials

What we do

A research and evaluation project will follow a sequence of action steps:

  • Develop a program logic model and an evaluation plan
  • Design and conduct data collection activities
  • Conduct data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Prepare a final report with recommendations for program improvements

What we offer

  • Highly educated and experience staff with expertise in a broad range of subject areas
  • Flexible evaluation plans based on timeline, budget and needs
  • Expertise in navigating time-consuming federal research regulations, including a track record of success in obtaining Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approvals
adult female using virtual reality equipment

Improving adult vaccine communication, education with virtual reality

ORAU and the University of Georgia (UGA) partnered in 2017 to study the use of virtual reality and eye-tracking technologies to improve adult vaccine communication and education. ORAU and UGA also used eye-tracking technology to measure participants’ visual attention to vaccination education materials. With eye-tracking technology, researchers can evaluate the type of content a person chooses to look at and which content the subject views the longest. 

Read More

Our Experts

Karen Carera

Karen Werner Carera, Ph.D.

Expertise: Health education, formative and summative evaluation, research methods, structuring qualitative research, needs assessments

Carera has developed research protocols and instruments for a wide range of populations, from healthcare professionals and public health officials to diverse subsets of the general public. The topics of these research projects vary from emergency preparedness for radiation emergencies to appropriate use of antibiotics.

Certifications: Human Subjects Protection Training, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative

Julie Crumly, Ph.D., MCHES

Julie Crumly, Ph.D., MCHES

Expertise: Health and education program evaluation, research methods and data analysis, multicultural and social psychology, evaluation of health interventions and programs, and outcome evaluations for continuing medical education

Co-author: “Non-pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza: An assessment of communication, training, and guidance needs of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials,” 2018

Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist

Deborah McFalls

Deborah McFalls

Expertise: More than 26 years of experience in managing health and safety communications and program evaluation initiatives with DOE, CDC and other partners. The multitask initiatives have focused on health communication research, design, development, implementation and outreach activities for the public and private workforce sectors and the general public.

  • Come see us at the Society of Public Health Education Annual Conference

    Addressing Root Causes of Opioid Addiction: An Exploration of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Appalachia and Opportunities to Promote Resiliency

    Session B2 on Wednesday, March 27, from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.

    The SOPHE Annual Conference is March 26-29, in Salt Lake City

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a strong predictor of future health, life potential, and behavioral choices. Research has shown an association between ACEs and substance use disorders. In this session, Kristin Mattson will be presenting a summary of outcomes resulting from a series of expert conversations about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Appalachia. These conversations engaged stakeholders to 1) identify how children in Appalachia experience ACEs (trauma) differently than in other areas of the country, and 2) explore opportunities to address these ACEs and impact the opioid epidemic.

  • Come see us at the 2019 NACCHO Preparedness Summit

    Come talk to us about public health and healthcare preparedness in booth 101 at the 2019 NACCHO Preparedness Summit March 26-29, 2019 in St. Louis.

    March 27: Be sure to grab a seat at the session titled, "Regional Disaster Health Response System (RDHRS): Initial Pilot Demonstrations." This is a joint presentation by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and representatives from the two Regional Disaster Health Response System pilot awardees, Nebraska Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital. ORAU is a Nebraska Medicine partner, providing project management support for Capability 3 (Increasing Statewide and Regional Medical Surge Capacity). Additionally, ORAU is designing and facilitating workshops to educate Nebraska healthcare coalition members and other identified stakeholders on the Conceptual Framework for Regional Healthcare Delivery that ORAU developed in support of Capability 3 objectives.

  • Come see us at the 2019 NACCHO Preparedness Summit

    Come talk to us about public health and healthcare preparedness in booth 101 at the 2019 NACCHO Preparedness Summit March 26-29, 2019 in St. Louis.

    March 28: Julie Suzuki Crumly, MS, PhD, MCHES, ORAU Senior Evaluation Specialist, and Catalina White, MPH, Medical Countermeasure Specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will present a session titled, “Medical Countermeasure Action Plan Data Analysis: National Trends.” As part of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, public health departments across the nation will demonstrate operational readiness for a large medical countermeasure (MCM) response.

  • Come see us at the Society of Public Health Education Annual Conference

    Exploring Challenges, Opportunities, and Best Practices for Opioid Communication in Appalachia

    Session F5 on Friday, March 29, from 8:15 to 9:45 a.m.

    The SOPHE Annual Conference is March 26-29, in Salt Lake City

    Kristin Mattson will share findings from research into best practices for communicating about opioids within the Appalachian region. Findings include a discussion about the types of content and messaging strategies that would be most effective in Appalachia to promote substance abuse prevention. Research was conducted through focus groups with community members across the region and interviews with subject matter experts.

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s health communication, preparedness and response needs, contact Freddy Gray, director, Health Communication and Preparedness programs, at 865.576.0029 or