Cheryl Kelly, PhD, MPH, MA

Evaluation Investigator

Cheryl Kelly, PhD, MPH, MA, is an Evaluation Investigator at the Institute for Health Research and leads the Partners in Evaluation & Research Center (PiER). For the past 15 years, Dr. Kelly has been actively involved in several small, targeted evaluation projects as well as large, multi-site evaluation efforts. These evaluation projects have provided Dr. Kelly with a unique set of skills in evaluating a wide range of projects in diverse settings. Dr. Kelly and her team provide intensive evaluation technical assistance to a variety of organizations, representing both urban and rural settings and diverse agencies (e.g., worksites, schools, local government, and clinics). Her evaluation projects incorporate multiple methods and interdisciplinary approaches to gather qualitative and quantitative data including web-based monitoring systems to collect data, direct observation of behaviors and environments, GIS mapping, concept mapping, policy analysis, partnership surveys, population surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups and sustainability assessments. Through all of her work, Dr. Kelly uses a collaborative approach to develop and implement evaluation plans.

Dr. Kelly earned her PhD in Public Health Sciences (emphasis in Behavioral Science) at Saint Louis University where she also completed her Master of Public Health degree.

Dr. Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems Science at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, serves as a reviewer for a number of academic journals, and is an Associate Editor for the Health Behavior and Policy Review.

Selected Research:

  • Thrive Local Evaluation
  • Thrive Local links clinical care to social care through data integration with community-based partner organizations. Thrive Local consists of three key functions: a resource directory that provides up-to-date and searchable information on community resources; geographically-based networks of social service organizations; and a technology platform that engages clinicians and staff, members, and employees of community organizations to make rapid, secure referrals between health care providers and social care providers and track the outcomes of those referrals. As the cross-site evaluators, the Colorado (Kelly) and Washington (Cheadle) teams are using a mixed methods approach for the evaluation, combining qualitative data on implementation and user experience with quantitative data on individual patient outcomes. The implementation evaluation is assessing the extent to which the social needs system elements are in place and functioning. The outcome evaluation is assessing the overall reach of the Thrive Local, including the characteristics of patients who consent to participate and receive services from CBOs and assessing whether patients who receive services through Thrive Local report fewer social needs over time and improved self-efficacy and health outcomes.

    • Funder: Kaiser Permanente National Community Health
    • Award End Date: 12/31/2022

  • Inspire Initiative Evaluation
  • The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the impact of the Inspire Initiative on youth access to the outdoors, value of the outdoors and time spent outdoors. The Inspire Initiative is deigned to Inspire children and their families to enjoy the outdoors from the backyard to the backcountry. An emphasis is placed on investments in the places people live and play, programs for youth and families to activate those places and pathways for older youth to gain leadership experience in the outdoors. The evaluation is assessing the impact of the place improvements as well as programs and pathways across all funded communities using a web-based quantitative reporting tool, key informant interviews and youth surveys. Additionally, the evaluation will use social network analysis to assess the quantity and strength of partner collaborations within community coalitions.

    • Funder: Great Outdoors Colorado
    • Award End Date: 9/30/2021

  • HDGP Evaluation
  • The Office of Health Equity’s (OHE) Health Disparities Grant Program (HDGP) is providing support to agencies across Colorado to address upstream determinants of health (e.g., housing, education) with the goal of improving downstream health outcomes (e.g., access to care, decreased chronic disease rates). Grantees are focusing on changing systems and policies that impact the upstream determinants of health. The goal of the evaluation is to design and implement a utilization-focused evaluation to assess the impact of the initiative on systems and policies, equitable access to resources and health disparities. The main outcomes of the evaluation are documenting shifts in the availability, accessibility and acceptability of social and economic resources.

    • Funder: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Office of Health Equity
    • Award End Date: 12/31/2021

  • CCPD Evaluation Program
  • The goal of this project is to conduct a comprehensive cross-site evaluation of 25 organizations or sites implementing strategies ranging from healthy eating and active living policies, clinical systems improvement, health behavior improvement programs (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program). The purpose of the evaluation is to document and assess changes in healthy behaviors (e.g., physical activity, healthy eating, HPV vaccination, self-measured blood pressure) and health outcomes (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension) over a three-year period. Additionally, the evaluation includes an in-depth policy impact assessment designed to provide estimates of the impact of policy changes on health behaviors and health outcomes and assess the quality of the policy and the intended and unintended consequences of the change. Results will inform and improve policy development, adoption, implementation, and effectiveness and build the evidence base for policy interventions.

    • Funder: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
    • Award End Date: 12/31/2021