Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas

Status: Current
Year: 2015
Location: South
Client: Government organizations
Services Provided: Research & Evaluation
Technical Expertise: Healthy Eating, Active Living, Philanthropic Impact, Mental & Behavioral Health, Rural Health, Public Health-Health Care Integration

HRiA is currently the external evaluator for a multi-site Social Innovation Fund (SIF)-funded initiative called Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas. The project is sponsored by Methodist Health Care Ministries of South Texas, Inc. who is serving as the SIF intermediary.  Methodist Health Care Ministries hired HRiA as the external evaluator for the $2.75 million evaluation study of 8 organizations located throughout South Texas (along the Texas-Mexico border) working to address integrated behavioral health. Sí Texas involves these 8 local sites implementing different integrated behavioral health interventions to achieve similar goals. HRiA worked collaboratively with each of the local sites to develop individual Subgrantee Evaluation Plans (SEPs) as well as an overarching evaluation plan, resulting in 10 SEPs being submitted to SIF with a strong emphasis on minimizing threats to internal and external validity and with the aim of moving from a preliminary to a moderate level of evidence.  While each subgrantee intervention is different, they are all aiming to achieve similar outcomes. Early on the project, HRiA engaged in a collaborative process with the 8 subgrantees and Methodist Health Care Ministries to develop a set of shared metrics to be used across all sites. For this process, HRiA worked with the 8 subgrantees to develop an inventory of existing and proposed measures identified at the site level. This information was then cross-walked prior to the convening to identify potential shared metrics that would be more easily supported by subgrantees. HRiA led a collaborative full-day session with subgrantees and Methodist Health Care Ministries to identify, discuss, and prioritize together which metrics would be appropriate and feasible to serve as shared metrics across the overarching evaluation.  Since each intervention is distinct, they have resulted in different evaluation designs. The subgrantee evaluations have included three randomized control trials, six quasi-experimental studies, and an overarching evaluation that examines data pooled across sites as well as utilizes a sophisticated social network analysis. In addition to rigorous impact evaluations, each of these studies also has a comprehensive implementation evaluation to examine program fidelity and identify the challenges and facilitators to implementation. The evaluation planning process has included overseeing 9 IRB processes (1 per site and overall) and developing and negotiating multiple data use agreements with 8 subgrantees. The interventions began implementation in November 2015 and will be evaluated by HRiA over the next two years. HRiA also convenes a quarterly in-person Evaluation Learning Collaborative, which brings together the 8 subgrantees and Methodist Health Care Ministries for a full-day session on a different topic every three months to share lessons learned, discuss trends from the field, and facilitate peer consultation between subgrantees.