The California Endowment is strongly committed to multicultural health approaches as a crucial aspect of fulfilling its mission to promote the health and well-being of all Californians. As The Endowment has deepened its understanding of how to best develop and implement strategies that can meet the burgeoning needs of diverse communities, it has consistently relied on evaluation as an important tool within its grant-making repertoire. Evaluation has been critical to learning from innovative work taking place in the field and assessing the broader impact of our grant-making strategies.
The California Endowment’s mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. In its efforts to use evaluation as a tool for shaping and defining improvements to quality health care, The Endowment wanted to extend beyond traditional evaluation philosophies, approaches and methods, and work with evaluators who are aligned with the foundation’s multicultural approach to improving the quality of health care. In particular, The Endowment wanted to learn more about how to employ evaluation approaches that consider the cultural context of the communities being studied and approaches that give a voice to the diverse communities.
In the Spring of 2001, The California Endowment’s Evaluation and Planning Department launched the Diversity in Health Evaluation Project. This project was charged with both expanding its network of diverse evaluators, and generating research to identify barriers and opportunities for advancing multicultural evaluation within the health field. The project and its findings have already sparked dialogue throughout the field and generated a number of new resources in the area of multicultural evaluation (see the last section of this Resource Guide, “Resources from the Diversity in Health Evaluation Project.”)(author introduction)