Use of empowerment evaluation to determine a sustainability plan for a community-based preconception care program

Angela Dawn Lloyd Cummings, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Women With IMPACT (WWI) is a community-based preconception care educational intervention. WWI is being implemented by the Impacting Maternal and Prenatal Care Together (IMPACT) Collaborative and targets zip codes in Harris County, Texas at high risk for infant mortality, low birthweight, and preterm birth. WWI started March 2012 and continues through August 2013. Three workshop series are planned. This study was conducted with participants and facilitators from the first workshop series. This study aimed to 1) evaluate the WWI program using empowerment evaluation, 2) engage all WWI stakeholders in an empowerment evaluation so the method could be adopted as a participatory evaluation process for future IMPACT activities, and 3) develop recommendations for sustainability of the WWI intervention, based on empowerment evaluation findings and results from the pre/post program evaluation completed by WWI participants. Study participants included WWI participants and facilitators and IMPACT Collaborative Steering Committee members. WWI participants were female, 18-35 year-old, non-pregnant residents of zip codes at high risk of adverse birth outcomes. All other study participants were 18 years or older. A two-phased empowerment evaluation (EE) was utilized in this study. Sessions 1-4 were conducted independently of one another – 3 with participants at different sites and one with the facilitators. The fifth session included WWI participant and facilitator representatives, and IMPACT Steering Committee members. Session 5 built upon the work of the other sessions. Observation notes were recorded during each session. Thematic content analysis was conducted on all EE tables and observation notes. Mission statements drafted by each group focused on improvement of physical and mental health through behavior change and empowerment of all participants. The top 5 overall program components were: physical activity, nutrition, self-worth, in-class communication, and stress. Goals for program improvement were set by EE participants for each of these components. Through thematic content analysis of the tables and observation notes, social support emerged as an important theme of the program among all participant groups. Change to a healthy lifestyle emerged as an important theme in terms of program improvement. Two-phased EE provided an opportunity for all program stakeholders to provide feedback regarding important program components and provide suggestions for program improvement. EE, thematic content analysis, pre/post evaluation results, and inherent program knowledge were triangulated to make recommendations to sustain the program once the initial funding ends.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Cummings, Angela Dawn Lloyd, "Use of empowerment evaluation to determine a sustainability plan for a community-based preconception care program" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3567536.