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A Community Outreach and Program Evaluation of the Center for Population Health and Cambria-Somerset COVID-19 Task Force

Palko, Alyce M (2024) A Community Outreach and Program Evaluation of the Center for Population Health and Cambria-Somerset COVID-19 Task Force. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Rural areas experience a variety of health disparities and challenges, which community-based public health programs are uniquely positioned to address. Community outreach and stakeholder engagement are key components of public health program evaluation and iteration. This thesis presents a qualitative, formative program evaluation of a community health promotion initiative based in two rural southwestern Pennsylvania counties (Cambria and Somerset). The overall goal of this evaluation is to obtain community members’ feedback on programs and public health outreach efforts in these counties, and to explore how community members’ views contextualize a 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The evaluator held six listening sessions with adults across Cambria and Somerset Counties, using human-centered design methods to facilitate the discussions. The evaluator used thematic analysis to analyze participant feedback. Comments contextualized the 2022 CHNA with greater detail and nuance, while generally aligning with the topics in the 2022 CHNA. Participants identified several themes that were not independently listed among the seven main priorities of the 2022 CHNA. Participants also identified a need for improved community outreach and help with navigating the health and human service system, a complex topic not prioritized in the 2022 CHNA. The evaluation’s findings will inform future public health program planning and coalition-building and align public health programs with community priorities. The results will assist the Center for Population Health of Johnstown, PA as the organization improves public health outcomes, strives for rural health equity, addresses social determinant of health needs, and responds to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Cambria and Somerset Counties.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Palko, Alyce MALP190@pitt.eduALP190
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFelter, Elizabeth Madisonemfelter@pitt.eduemfelter
Committee MemberHawk, Mary Emary.hawk@pitt.edumary.hawk
Committee MemberMassart,
Committee MemberMcMillan,
Date: 2 January 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 November 2023
Approval Date: 2 January 2024
Submission Date: 5 December 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 128
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: rural health, program evaluation, human-centered design, thematic analysis, qualitative, formative, health equity, social determinants of health, socio-ecological framework
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2024 22:18
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 22:18


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