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Health Research & Evaluation

You may need guidance to boost your project or take it in a new direction. You may wonder if you are getting the most for the dollars spent, or if your program is making a real impact.

We specialize in these data collection activities:

  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews
  • Media monitoring
  • Observation
  • Surveys

ORAU evaluation specialists can help move projects forward in an efficient, data-driven manner that matches the specific need and audience. They have experience in setting up projects with clear and measurable goals and objectives, identifying the best approaches to gather data for your evaluation, and utilizing cost-effective data collection methods to measure short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes. ORAU evaluation specialists use this data to demonstrate research findings, lessons learned and best practices for clients.

Our team can tailor a plan that is right for your evaluation needs. Surveys, interviews, message testing and other data collection efforts are designed thoughtfully and conducted skillfully to obtain credible results. Our experienced team will collaborate with you to develop the evidence-based insights you need.

Small group discussing health communication materials

What we do

A research and evaluation project will follow a sequence of action steps:

  • Develop a program logic model and an evaluation plan
  • Design and conduct data collection activities
  • Conduct data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Prepare a final report with recommendations for program improvements

What we offer

  • Highly educated and experience staff with expertise in a broad range of subject areas
  • Flexible evaluation plans based on timeline, budget and needs
  • Expertise in navigating time-consuming federal research regulations, including a track record of success in obtaining Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approvals
adult female using virtual reality equipment

Improving adult vaccine communication, education with virtual reality

ORAU and the University of Georgia (UGA) partnered in 2017 to study the use of virtual reality and eye-tracking technologies to improve adult vaccine communication and education. ORAU and UGA also used eye-tracking technology to measure participants’ visual attention to vaccination education materials. With eye-tracking technology, researchers can evaluate the type of content a person chooses to look at and which content the subject views the longest. 

Read More

Our Experts

Karen Carera

Karen Werner Carera, Ph.D.

Expertise: Health education, formative and summative evaluation, research methods, structuring qualitative research, needs assessments

Carera has developed research protocols and instruments for a wide range of populations, from healthcare professionals and public health officials to diverse subsets of the general public. The topics of these research projects vary from emergency preparedness for radiation emergencies to appropriate use of antibiotics.

Certifications: Human Subjects Protection Training, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative

Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

Expertise: Health and education program evaluation, research methods and data analysis, multicultural and social psychology, evaluation of health interventions and programs, and outcome evaluations for continuing medical education

Co-author: “Non-pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza: An assessment of communication, training, and guidance needs of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials,” 2018

Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist

Betsy Smither

Betsy Smither, M.P.H.

Expertise: Program evaluation and formative research, including designing, conducting, and analyzing projects using mixed-methods data collection. Facilitates interviews and focus groups with a variety of audience segments, including healthcare providers and public health experts; and conducts large-scale surveys to better understand target audiences.


Certification: Certified Health Education Specialist

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s health communication, preparedness and response needs, contact Freddy Gray, director, Health Communication and Preparedness programs, at 865.576.0029 or