The DMHAS Center for Prevention Evaluation and Statistics (CPES) at UConn Health, directed by Megan O’Grady, PhD, Principal Investigator, and coordinated by Jennifer Sussman, MFA, was established to support the Prevention and Health Promotion (PHP) Unit of the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) in its efforts through the identification, collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data pertaining to substance abuse prevention, mental health, and health disparities. CPES convenes, supports and chairs the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW), which also acts as CPES Advisory Board. CPES also developed and manages the SEOW Prevention Data Portal, an interactive repository for behavioral health and related data and products.
CPES is also tasked with:
- identification, access and assessment of indicator data;
- provision of research and statistical expertise and support;
- training and technical assistance on evaluation and data use (with the Prevention Training and Technical Assistance Service Center, or TTASC);
- tracking of behavioral health indicators;
- development and maintenance of the interactive SEOW Data Portal, in partnership with the Connecticut Data Collaborative; and
- dissemination of findings via technical reports, epidemiological profiles, presentations, and consultation.
THE CPES TEAM
The Center for Prevention Evaluation and Statistics (CPES) team is staffed by a diverse group of individuals. CPES is led by the principal investigator Dr. Megan O'Grady and Jennifer Sussman, coordinator. Dr. Shayna Cunningham and Dr. Maria Restrepo-Ruiz serve as affiliated faculty. Janice Vendetti serves as the data analyst. CPES employs two research assistants, Alversia Wade and Alison Wiser, and three graduate assistants, Steffany Gomes, Yang Liu, and Adekemi Suleiman.
THE SEOW PREVENTION DATA PORTAL
The SEOW Prevention Data Portal, developed with support from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), is a collaborative effort of the DMHAS Center for Prevention Evaluation and Statistics (CPES) at UConn Health, the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) and the Connecticut Data Collaborative. The SEOW Data Portal is an interactive repository for behavioral health and related data. The goal of the SEOW Data Portal is to increase accessibility and utility of Connecticut’s epidemiological data in support of a comprehensive public health approach to substance abuse prevention and health promotion. CPES in coordination with the Connecticut Data Collaborative is tasked with updating content on the portal.
THE LOCAL EVALUATOR WORKGROUP
Connecticut’s Local Evaluator Workgroup (LEW) is comprised of local evaluators representing Connecticut’s key substance abuse prevention initiatives, including but not limited to DMHAS Prevention in CT Communities (PCC) and SAMHSA Drug-free Communities (DFC). The concept of the LEW emerged from CPES’ comprehensive needs assessment process, which assessed prevention data and evaluation capacity and needs at the state and local levels. The LEW was formed to respond to needs in the evaluation workforce for peer mentoring, collegial support and resource sharing, as well as recognition and standardization of prevention evaluation practices across prevention and health promotion initiatives. The LEW is also positioned to both inform and respond to the work of DMHAS’ Evidence Based Workgroup, staffed by TTASC, as some local evaluators participate in both groups.
The Local Evaluator Workgroup will support local evaluation across prevention initiatives by:
- Increasing the capacity of local evaluators;
- Developing and identifying best practices and standards for local evaluation;
- Troubleshooting issues relevant to process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and work with community coalitions;
- Sharing resources within the group;
- Developing products; and
- Bolstering evaluation workforce development in Connecticut; and
- Informing and supporting CPES’ prioritization of evaluation services, such as data provision, training, and technical assistance.
The LEW meets quarterly, with the potential for smaller workgroups to convene based on the needs and activities of the funded initiatives, CPES, and projects prioritized by the LEW.
For more information on the Local Evaluator Workgroup, or to join the group, please contact:
Jennifer Sussman, CPES Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.