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Connections Lab: Glossary
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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). Examples include: experiencing violence or abuse, witnessing violence in the home or community, or having a family member attempt or die by suicide. ACEs also include aspects of a child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with substance misuse, mental health problems, or instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison. ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Built environment
Structures that include homes, communities, schools, workplaces, parks/recreation areas, business areas, roads and green spaces, and varies in size from large-scale urban areas to smaller rural developments. How communities are planned and built, and the services and resources provided within them, directly impacts our physical, mental, and social health. These impacts are reflected in levels of social connectedness, mental and physical fitness, chronic disease, obesity, and injury. (British Columbia Ministry of Health)

 

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Causal pathway
The path or chain of thinking related to a system (i.e., an intervention, strategy, or approach) in which "X leads to Y,” “Y leads to Z,” and so on. (Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation)


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Community-based participatory evaluation
A process in which individuals in communities, intervention partners and staff, and other decision makers perform an integral function in the design, coordination, execution, interpretation, and dissemination of the evaluation and its findings (Adapted from Braithwaite, McKenzie, Pruitt, Holden, Aaron, and Hollimon, 2013)

 

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Contextual evidence
A type of evidence that is a collection of measurable factors in the community that may impact the success of a prevention strategy (e.g., community history, organizational capacity, social norms, etc.). Contextual evidence provides information to help determine whether a prevention strategy is likely to be accepted, feasible, and useful in a local setting. Contextual evidence can be gathered from a variety of local data sources and offers a “snapshot” of measurable community characteristics that may impact a particular decision. Some examples of contextual evidence can include census data, local administrative data (hospital, school, and law enforcement), community needs/assets assessments, surveys, and focus groups/interviews. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Diverse, multi-sector interventions

Efforts in which partners representing different disciplines, agencies, or populations come together to design and implement programs, policies, and practices of common interest to the populations they serve. For example, efforts to address prescription drug/opioid overdose require collaboration from public health professionals, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists from the health sector; sheriffs, police, and drug enforcement officers from the law enforcement sector; lawmakers, attorneys, and judges from the policy and justice sectors; mental health and addiction providers from the behavioral health sector; and teachers, school counselors, and administrators from the education sector. While the definition of a SRPF approach requires only that multiple sectors are collaborating, organizations and agencies may choose to formally share their resources and leverage or braid funding streams across multiple departments and divisions.

 

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Downstream
Interventions and strategies focus on providing equitable access to care and services to mitigate the negative impacts of disadvantage on health (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health). Downstream interventions often involve individual-level behavioral approaches for prevention or disease management (Brownson, Seiler, and Eyler, 2010, Preventing Chronic Disease).

 

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Economic inequality
The unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in society. It is a concern in almost all countries around the world and often people are trapped in poverty with little chance to climb up the social ladder. But, being born into poverty does not automatically mean you stay poor. Education, at all levels, enhancing skills, and training policies can be used alongside social assistance programs to help people out of poverty and to reduce inequality. (IZA World of Labor)

 

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Equity
Giving more to those who need it, proportionate to their own circumstances, in order to ensure that they have the same opportunity to live full, healthy, and successful lives. Equity acknowledges that everyone does not start at the same place or have the same circumstances. Hence, equity promotes justice and fairness by treating people differently depending on their needs, and this different treatment may be the key to reaching equality. Equity ultimately requires that we value all individuals and populations equally, recognize and rectify historical injustices, and provide resources according to need. (Social Change UK, Jones, 2016)

 

The Second Line Education Blog

 

Video: "Equity vs. Equality"

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2018

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Evaluation design
The organizing structure or blueprint for an evaluation. The design provides the foundation for what and how information will be examined and measured through the evaluation.
(The Community Tool Box, The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education)

 

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Experiential evidence
A type of evidence that is the collective experience and expertise of those who have practiced or lived in a particular setting. These insights, understandings, skills, and expertise are accumulated over time and are often referred to as intuitive or tacit knowledge. Experiential evidence is systematically gathered from stakeholders who are familiar with a variety of key aspects about specific settings, and they have knowledge about the community in which a prevention strategy is to be implemented (i.e., knowledge about what has/has not worked previously in a specific setting with particular populations; insight into potential implementation challenges; insight regarding the needs and challenges of the community and those who live in it). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Health

A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease, injury, or infirmity (World Health Organization); the ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical, and emotional challenges. (Huber et al., 2011, British Medical Journal)

 

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Health equity
Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

 

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Historical trauma
The cumulative, multi-generational, and collective experience of emotional and psychological injury in communities and in descendants caused by traumatic experiences or events. Historical trauma can be incurred by any group of people that experience a trauma, such as genocide, enslavement, violent colonization, assimilation policies, or ethnic cleansing. Historical trauma is not just about what happened to communities in the past, but is also about what is still happening to the same communities, generations later, in the present. Some observed responses to historical trauma may include overall poor physical and emotional health – such as low self-esteem, depression, substance abuse, and high rates of suicide – as well as erosion in family and community structures. (Columbia River Mental Health Services, University of Minnesota Extension, Administration for Children & Families)

 

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Institutional racism
Institutional racism refers to the policies and practices within and across
institutions that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put a racial group at a disadvantage. Poignant examples of institutional racism can be found in school disciplinary policies in which students of color are punished at much higher rates that their white counterparts, in the criminal justice system, and within many employment sectors in which day-to-day operations, as well as hiring and firing practices can significantly disadvantage workers of color. (The Aspen Institute)

 

See also racism and structural racism

 

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Intervention
Strategies designed to produce behavior changes or improve health status among individuals or an entire population. Interventions may include educational programs, new or stronger policies, improvements in the environment, or a health promotion campaign. Interventions that include multiple strategies are typically the most effective in producing desired and lasting change. (Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

 

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Leveraging funding
A financing strategy in which two or more funding streams are combined and connected to support an initiative, intervention, or project. The use of multiple funding streams conveys that the initiative, intervention, or project is considered mutually important by multiple funders. By using these financing strategies, federal, state, and local policymakers and program administrators can integrate and align discrete, categorical funding streams to broaden the impact, scope, and reach of programs and services provided. (Colvard & Schmit, 2012, Center for Law and Social Policy and ZERO TO THREE). Other terms that are often used interchangeably with “leveraging funding” include “blending funding,” “braiding funding,” and “layering funding.”

 

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Logic model
A graphic depiction that presents the shared relationships among the resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes of a given intervention. It depicts the relationship between the intervention’s activities and its intended effects. The “logic” of a logic model refers to "the relationship between elements and between an element and the whole." Like a road map, a logic model shows the route traveled (or steps taken) to reach a certain destination. A detailed model indicates precisely how each activity will lead to desired changes. This road map aspect of a logic model reveals what causes what, and in what order. (Community Tool Box; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Mental health

A state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. (World Health Organization)

 

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Outcome
A type of evaluation that investigates the extent to which an intervention achieved its short-term, intermediate, and/or long-term objectives. Examples of outcomes can include changes in knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, health conditions, and quality of life measures.

 

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Population health
The science of analyzing the inputs and outputs of the overall health and well-being of a population and using this knowledge to produce desirable population outcomes. A population’s health can be analyzed at various geographic levels (e.g., countries, states, counties, or cities), including health disparities based on race or ethnicity, income level, or education level. Population health can be comprised of three main components: health outcomes, health determinants, and policies. (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of Medicaid Directors, and the de Beaumont Foundation)

 

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Population health and quality-of-life outcomes

Measures that reflect the physical, mental, and social well-being of people. (County Health Rankings & Roadmaps) Rather than focusing on one person, these measures look at entire communities (defined either by demographic qualities, social characteristics, and/or geographic boundaries) to understand trends and patterns that can impact health and quality of life. Graduation rates, employment rates, income levels, prevalence of injuries and diseases, and rates of community violence are all examples of population health and quality-of-life outcomes. Resources that enhance quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HealthPeople.gov)

 

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Population sampling
When studying a population, it is often not feasible or possible to study the entire population, particularly if it is large or hard to access. Therefore, we may choose to study a sample of the population. A sample consists of a smaller, finite number of “units” (e.g., people, cases, events, sites, organizations, counties, etc.) that are extracted from a larger population of interest (e.g., a population or group of program participants, events, cases, agencies, counties, or state residents). (Safe States Alliance)

 

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Primary data
Data that is generated by the researcher, usually through surveys, interviews, or experiments. (Benedictine University)

 

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Protective factor
Any attribute, characteristic, or influence at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of positive outcomes and lessens the likelihood of negative outcomes. A protective factor decreases the likelihood of experiencing an injury, violence, or disease. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Safe States Alliance)

 

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Quality of life
An individual's perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. It is a broad ranging concept affected in a complex way by the person's physical health, psychological state, personal beliefs, social relationships and their relationship to salient features of their environment. It includes concepts like work capacity, personal relationships, financial resources, and religious, spiritual, and personal beliefs. (World Health Organization)

 

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Racism
A system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks (which is what we call "race"), that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities, unfairly advantages other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources. (Jones, 2003)

See also institutional racism and structural racism

 

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RE-AIM framework

RE-AIM is an acronym that consists of five elements, or dimensions, that relate to health behavior interventions and are intended to help translate research and evaluation into action. The five elements include: (1) Reach; (2) Effectiveness; (3) Adoption; (4) Implementation; and (5) Maintenance.The goal of RE-AIM is to encourage program planners, evaluators, readers of journal articles, funders, and policy-makers to pay more attention to essential program elements including external validity that can improve the sustainable adoption and implementation of effective, generalizable, evidence-based interventions. (RE-AIM)

 

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Research evidence
Evidence that enables researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to determine whether or not a prevention program, practice, or policy is actually achieving the outcomes it aims to and in the way it intends. The more rigorous a study’s research design, the more compelling the research evidence, indicating whether or not a program, practice, or policy is effective. Also referred to as "best available research evidence." (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Resilience
The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. (American Psychological Association)

 

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Risk factor
Any attribute, characteristic, or influence at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes and decreases the likelihood of positive outcomes. A risk factor increases the likelihood of experiencing an injury, violence, or disease. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Safe States Alliance)

 

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Secondary data
Existing data generated by large government institutions, healthcare facilities, etc. as part of organizational record keeping. (Benedictine University)

 

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Social determinants of health

Conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. These conditions can be social, economic, or physical, and they include policies, systems, and environments. Examples of social determinants of health can include (but are not limited to): availability of resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets); access to educational, economic, and job opportunities; access to health services; transportation options; social support; exposure to community violence and social disorder; access and exposure to media and technology; socioeconomic conditions (e.g., concentrated poverty); and the impacts of structural racism (e.g., economic inequality, residential and school segregation, police violence, etc.). In its simplest reduction, the social determinants of health encompass common risk and protective factors to extend far beyond individual factors; thus outcomes are attributed to larger factors that influence individual choices, and not individual choices alone (i.e., social responsibility vs. individual responsibility). (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HealthyPeople.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

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Social Ecological Model
A framework used to describe the multifaceted, interrelated, and interactive effects of personal and environmental factors that influence behaviors. Social ecological models illustrate the existence of multiple levels of influence (such as individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and public policy) and affirm the idea that behaviors both shape and are shaped by the social environment. (National Institutes of Health)

 

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Structural discrimination
Refers to the policies of dominant institutions (which have most of the power in society) and the behavior of the people who implement these policies and control these institutions in ways that have a differential and/or harmful effect on racial, ethnic, and gender groups that lack power. (Pincus, 1996, The American Behavioral Scientist)

 

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Structural racism (also known as systemic racism)
A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist. (The Aspen Institute)

 

Structural racism in the United States is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy – the preferential treatment, privilege and power for white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and other racially oppressed people. (Lawrence and Keleher, 2004)

See also racism and institutional racism


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Theory of change

An explanation of how the activities of an intervention (e.g., a project, program, policy, or approach) contribute to a chain of results that ultimately lead to intended or observed outcomes. (Better Evaluation)

 

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Triangulation
The use of multiple sources of qualitative information, quantitative information, and data collection and analysis methods in order to: strengthen the quality and credibility of the evidentiary support for evaluation findings, validate evaluation findings in complex interventions where any single data source has inherent limitations, or deepen and widen the understanding and insights as part of conclusions drawn from evaluation findings. Triangulation benefits from multidisciplinary partnerships and use of protocols, procedures, and methodologies. (Board on Global Health, Institute of Medicine, 2014)

 

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Upstream
Interventions and strategies focus on improving fundamental social and economic structures in order to decrease barriers and improve supports that allow people to achieve their full health potential (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health). Upstream interventions often involve policy approaches that can affect large populations through regulation, increased access, or economic incentives (Brownson, Seiler, and Eyler, 2010, Preventing Chronic Disease).

 

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