Program Evaluation for an Infant Morbidity and Mortality Initiative – Fresno Babies First

Fresno County Department of Public Health

Project Years: 2021-2023

The County of Fresno Public Health Department’s Babies First program, funded by the Healthy Start Initiative since 1997, works towards reducing infant morbidity and mortality and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, especially among Black/African American women. The program provides case management, nurse home visits, and perinatal education and support. In 2021, the program sought an external evaluator to work with them to design, implement, and monitor an annual evaluation plan.

In the fall of 2021, Facente Consulting began work with the Babies First program to implement a comprehensive restructure of their evaluation to Results-Based AccountabilityTM (RBA). RBA is a method that uses data and action-oriented discussions with staff, partners, and stakeholders to make decisions and ultimately evaluate how well the program is doing and whether they are turning the curve on complex issues. Guided by the evaluation workplan, this evaluation strategy has a transformative impact on how data is understood and utilized to ensure collaborative quality improvement and takes accountability for the results seen in the community. To develop this new evaluation plan, Facente Consulting facilitated several discussions with Babies First staff to discuss desired results and identify indicators and performance measures. Facente Consulting presented the plan, showed existing curves with retrospective data, and discussed the stories behind the curves. In subsequent meetings, the performance measures were tracked prospectively, and staff discussed the stories behind the curve to ensure continuous improvement.