What Does the Statistics & Evaluation Center Do?

The Statistics and Evaluation Center (SEC) is a shared resource of professional statisticians and evaluators that provide support to investigators in the research and health promotions departments at the National Home Office, as well as mission delivery and income delivery staff throughout the Society. The SEC has three main responsibilities: to assist Society researchers in the design, analysis, and preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals; to function as part of the Society team that evaluates selected mission delivery interventions; and to conduct methods research on cancer-related problems for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Center researchers engage in original research on predictive modeling for cancer control and advocacy, and in developing optimal and ethical cancer study designs that minimize the required number of patients to be accrued for the study. The group also provides design and analysis support for the Behavioral Research Center quality of life research, for optimization testing and deriving best practices by Society on-line team and E-Communications, for tobacco control and the National Cancer Information Cancer/Quitline®, including clinical trials design and analysis, operational improvements, and employer initiative activities with Health Promotions; and predictive modeling for income development planned giving.

The Center provides statistical, methodological, and survey consultative services to the National Home Office and the Divisions. Staff from both Health Promotions and the SEC forms what is called the Integrated Evaluation Team. The Integrated Evaluation Team drives several projects, including the following:

  • Working with Society stakeholders to evaluate the Society’s survivorship programs, taking responsibility for on-going program quality improvement evaluations. As appropriate, members of the Behavioral Research Center are involved with these evaluations.
  • Working with Divisions to design evaluations and/or manage the data associated with Division-designed and conducted program evaluations.
  • Working with the intramural department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research to establish Society policy for dealing with environmental chemicals that are or might be carcinogenic.
  • Working with Cancer Control Science and others to develop mathematical models of the anatomy and physiology of various cancers (lung, breast, and colorectal), how cancer prevention may be related to heart disease and diabetes, and what are probable outcomes in terms of reduced cancer incidence and lives saved if various prevention opportunities are implemented.
  • Working with a wide range of other groups, including Employer Initiatives, Constituent Relations Management, E-Revenue, Mass Market Constituent Relations Management, National Cancer Information Center/Quitline, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Talent Management Initiative, Human Relations, Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, Online Team, Extramural Grants, and the National Government Relations Department.

What Is Program Evaluation?

Program evaluation is the act of ascertaining, appraising or fixing the value or worth of a program or initiative. Program stakeholders at all levels want to know if the actions of the program are having the desired impact. Funders and senior management wonder if their investment is producing results. Program designers seek to prove the value of their ideas. Program participants want to know if their lives will change for the better if they participate. Evaluation not only attempts to quantitatively measure program outcomes, but it also is a process of identifying value.