DSG’s public health group includes medical anthropologists with expertise in minority health and health disparities research. The firm supports a number of critical projects, including the following:
Training and Technical Assistance
For the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DSG has established a Coordinating Center for the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). The Coordinating Center increases the effectiveness and accountability of the MFP program. The center facilitates the tracking, networking, and effectiveness of all MFP Fellows and their grantee sponsoring organizations—the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Nurses Association, the Council on Social Work Education, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, NAADAC: the Association for Addiction Professionals, and the NBCC Foundation. It provides training and technical assistance to help address issues in minority mental health and substance abuse, and to reduce disparities, through the training of MFP Fellows in graduate and postgraduate work that can increase their skills and their contributions, through services, administration, teaching, and research.
Research and Evaluation
Disparities in health outcomes among minority populations are well established in the health sciences scientific literature. To support efforts to improve understanding toward reducing and removing these disparities, DSG staff have been involved in a number of research and evaluation projects.
Research Projects in Minority Health
- For OMH, DSG developed a Uniform Data Set (UDS) across OMH–funded programs, converted the UDS to an Internet-based system, trained a first cohort of grantees to use the system, and collected reporting data through the UDS. OMH sponsored the development of this data set, including conducting a review and synthesis of relevant literature and a review of similar efforts by other Federal and private agencies, including HRSA; focus groups, interviews, and site visits with OMH grantees and cooperative agreements to identify data collection issues, barriers, and needs; pilot-testing a data set and preparing a final data set; and providing TA to grantees. The UDS won a DHHS Best Practice in Evaluation Award.
- Also for the OMH, DSG evaluated a program that included more than 60 bilingual/bicultural health services demonstration grants targeting populations with limited English-speaking ability. English language minorities included speakers of Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, Chinese, Samoan, Tagalog, Wolof, Fulani, Korean, Thai, Cherokee, Choctaw, and other languages. The evaluation collected quantitative and qualitative data through mail and telephone surveys of past grantees (sample of the total) and site visits to a sample of current grantees. Results included extensive information on program characteristics, populations, and clients served, barriers to providing health services, and program-specific needs.
Evaluation Projects in Minority Health
- DSG, under contract with the Office of Minority Health (OMH), DHHS, developed a strategic framework, logic models, and performance measures for OMH and its grantees, to help them improve the effectiveness of their efforts and to increase their compliance with accountability requirements in the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review process (hyperlink to OMH page). The DSG efforts have helped OMH develop core performance measures for all OMH programs, as well as program-specific performance measures that are more suited to particular OMH programs.
- For the National Library of Medicine (NLM), DSG developed a methodology for evaluating NLM’s ACCESS Project. The ACCESS project addresses health disparities that disproportionately affect African American and other minorities by increasing their awareness of and access to health information for personal use, for clinical practice, and for research. This project is the first phase of a two-phase effort. Process evaluation methods and instruments, developed for the study, focused on the operation of the advisory board, the design of the RFP, the award process, the provision of technical support, reporting mechanisms, and the implementation of programs in the HBCUs and communities. Impact/outcome evaluation methods and instruments focused on assessing the Project’s impact on the awareness, attitudes, and sustainable utilization of the NLM’s eHealth resources on HBCU campuses and surrounding communities.