Public Health Assessment Division

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The Public Health Assessment Division within the U.S. Army Public Health Center (APHC) offers program evaluation services to support the optimal functioning, effectiveness, impact, and relevance of the Defense Health Agency.


Who We Are

The Public Health Assessment Division (PHAD) is a recognized expert in public health program evaluation within the Department of Defense.

We are comprised of more than 20 highly-skilled scientists and analysts trained in public health, behavior change, evaluation, measurement, statistics, survey design and development, qualitative methods, psychology, and community-based participatory research.

We use a wide variety of available evaluation methods to execute evaluation projects to assure the effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance of public health programs, policies, and initiatives in support of the Department of Defense.

Our VisionFigure shows "Strategtically evaluating health promotion programs, policies, and initiatives" and objectives of evaluation.

The PHAD strives to be the Department of Defense's leading expert in, and advocate for, comprehensive evaluation promoting evidence-driven public health practice.

Our Mission

The PHAD advocates for, builds capacity for, and provides comprehensive program evaluation services to inform evidence-driven public health decision-making within the Defense Health Agency and improve programs, policies, and environments for the Department of Defense.​

Our Core Values

At our core, the PHAD is focused on Action-oriented and Transparent evaluation practice. We also strive for all we do to be rooted in SCIENCE.


A. T.

S. C. I. E. N. C. E. 

​          Excellent

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Our Services

The Public Health Assessment Division offers a comprehensive suite of evaluation services in support of the Defense Health Agency. In each of our projects, we generate actionable recommendations to improve a program, policy, or initiative's functioning, effectiveness, impact and relevance.

What we can do for you
How we do it
    Assess the health status and needs of the Total Army Family to ensure you are addressing the right problems
  • Community health assessment
  • Needs assessment
    Identify and promote evidence-based practice and program evaluation to give you a leg up on what is known to work (and not work)
  • Review literature
  • Identify best practices within and outside the Army
    Determine and document evidence in support of your health promotion or readiness program, policy, or initiative's:
  • Ability to meet the needs of the Total Army Family needs
  • Effectiveness
  • Implementation successes and challenges
  • Public health impact
  • Develop program evaluation plans
  • Design, develop, and execute surveys
  • Design, develop, and execute interviews and focus groups
  • Analyze qualitative and quantitative data
  • Develop tools to assess and monitor an installation's built environment
  • Collect, analyze, and report evaluation data 
    Build your evaluation capacity
  • Provide training on program evaluation
  • Identify relevant measures of performance and measures of effectiveness
  • Build evaluation in from the inception of a program
    Document and disseminate your evaluation findings

  • Publish reports, infographics, briefing slide decks and other products to effectively communicate evaluation findings and implications
  • Brief evaluation findings or support you in briefing them
  • Publish evaluation findings within the  scientific literature
    Establish program evaluation standards, processes, and frameworks for use across the Army and DoD
  • Develop toolkits
  • Advocate for evaluation at all phases of an initiative's lifecycle
  • Contribute to Army policies, regulations, and operations orders

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Our Approach

The Public Health Assessment Division utilizes the public health evaluation framework established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to guide our work. The image on the right is a depiction of this framework provided by the CDC on its website:    

Steps in the Program Evaluation Process

  • Engage Stakeholders. We first work to understand who needs to be involved and consulted in our evaluation project and who will be using the information we collect.
  • Describe the Program. We then strive to understand as much as we can about the program, policy, or initiative we are evaluating. This understanding is crucial to ensure our final product is meaningful.
  • Focus the Evaluation Design. As we focus our evaluation design, we work with our stakeholders to prioritize the most important questions to answer based on what is possible.
  • Gather Credible Evidence. We then gather evidence to answer our assessment and evaluation questions. We do this through a variety of methods including literature searches, secondary (i.e., already existing) data, surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, and much more!
  • Justify Conclusions. Once we have gathered our evidence, we analyze and interpret the evidence to make meaning of the data we've collected. We also generate actionable recommendations to improve a program, policy, or initiative based on what we have learned.
  • Ensure Use and Lessons Learned. We then work to ensure our evaluation findings and lessons learned are communicated and shared with those people and organizations who need to know – whether it be program managers, Army leaders, or the scientific community. We do this through a variety of communication channels including infographics, scientific papers, briefings, information papers, and more. After all, what good is a report if it just sits on a shelf?

Program Evaluation Standards

  • Utility: We strive for our evaluation projects to serve the information needs of the intended users
  • Feasibility: Our approaches and methods are realistic, prudent, diplomatic, and cost-effective
  • Propriety: As evaluators, we behave ethically, legally, and with appropriate regard for all involved in and affected by our evaluations
  • Accuracy: We collect, reveal, and communicate technically accurate information

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Example Work

Strategic Army Support

  • Performance Triad and Readiness Outcomes Deliverables. The U.S. Army actively promotes healthy sleep, activity, and nutrition (SAN) behaviors as a means for improving Soldiers' health and readiness. The Performance Triad is the Army's initiative to enhance Soldiers' readiness by encouraging the Army Family to engage in healthy SAN behaviors and emphasizes the synergy, or interrelation of SAN behaviors. These deliverables (technical report, briefing slides, and information paper) summarize the synergy of Army Active Duty Soldiers' SAN behaviors and their association with injury and behavioral health outcomes in different formats for multiple audiences. Collectively, these deliverables provide an initial understanding about the synergy of Army Active Duty Soldiers' SAN behaviors and highlight the need for Army leaders to promote healthy SAN behaviors, especially the combination of sleep and activity, to strengthen Soldiers' readiness. ​​View our Briefing Slides and Technical Report
  • Initiative Evaluation Process (IEP) GuideExternal Link The Guide outlines an initiative planning, evaluation, and review process to assist with developing and expanding initiatives that are effective in improving the health of the Total Army Family. Click hereExternal Link to learn more about the Guide.
  • Health of the Army Family Report. The Army Public Health Center’s inaugural Health of the Army Family Report provides a holistic view of health including factors that impact Army Family members' quality of life across multiple health domains in the context of the Military Family Life Cycle. It provides actionable recommendations for multiple audiences including Soldiers and Families, Army leaders, researchers and evaluators, and policy makers and program proponents. This report serves as an important first step toward understanding, monitoring, and optimizing the health, quality of life, and readiness of Army Families.


  • Gomez, S. A., Beymer, M. R., Jackson Santo, T., Riviere, L. A., Adler, A. B., Thomas, J. L., Millikan Bell, A., & Quartana, P. J. (2022). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Army families: Household finances, familial experiences, and soldiers' behavioral health. Military Psychology, 1–11.​0    ​
  • Santo, T. J., Brown, J. A., Gomez, S. A., & Shirey, L. A. (2021). The Role of Program Evaluation in Keeping Army Health “Army Strong”: Translating Lessons Learned Into Best Practices. Military medicine.
  • Via, C., Gomez, S.A.Q., Jarka, M., Gibson, C., Rivera, L.O., Erickson, P., Dodd, M. (2021). Assessing the Impact of the U.S. Army Wellness Centers on Soldier and Other Clients’ Goal-Related Improvements in Health Behaviors and Chronic Disease Risk Factors [Poster presentation]. Military Health System Research Symposium.
  • Coleman, A. M., Hartzell, M. M., Oh, R. C., Funari, T. S., Rivera, L. O. (2020). Improving Resilience and Combating Burnout in US Army Health Care TeamsJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 33(3), 440-445. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2020.03.190350
  • Chukwura, C., Santo, T., Waters, C., & Andrews, A. (2019). ‘Nutrition is out of our control’: Soldiers’ perceptions of their local food environment. Public Health Nutrition, 22(15), 2766-2776. doi: 10.1017/S1368980019001381
  • Grattan, L. E., Mengistu, B. S., Bullock, S. H., Santo, T. J., & Jackson, D. D. (2019). Restricting Retail Hours of Alcohol Sales within an Army CommunityMilitary Medicine184(9-10), e400–e405.
  • Gomez, S., Bullock, S. H., Santo, T. J., Korona-Bailey, J. A., McDannald, J. J., & Resta, J. J. (2019). Marching on the Road to Quality: Army Public Health Experience Adopting NACCHO's Roadmap to a Culture of Quality Framework. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 25(6), 598–601. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001000
  • Melton, J. J., Shirey, L. A., Barraza, E. M., & Bullock, S. H. (2019). Public Health Accreditation of Army Preventive Medicine Departments: Improving Military Medical Treatment Facility Practice to Impact Force Readiness. Military Medicine184(5-6), 117-121. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy308.
  • Rivera, L. O., Ford, J. D., Hartzell, M. M., & Hoover, T. A.  (2018). An Evaluation of Army Wellness Center Clients' Health-Related OutcomesAmerican Journal of Health Promotion32(7), 1526-1536. doi: 10.1177/0890117117753184
  • Santo, T. J., Ellis, S., Rivera, L. O., Vasquez, L. E., Francis, M. M., Jin, W. K., McRae, K. A., & Place, R. J. (2017). A Tobacco-Free Medical Campus Policy Is Associated With Decreased Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Increased Satisfaction Among Military Medical Employees: Results of a Mixed-Methods EvaluationExternal Link." Military Medicine182(5-6), e1724-e1732. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-16-00153
  • U.S. Army Public Health Center. (2016, November). FY15-16 Performance Triad FORSCOM Pilot Evaluation Executive Summary.
  • Courie, A. F., Rivera, M. S., & Pompey, A. (2014). Managing public health in the Army through a standard community health promotion council model. U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, 82–90.
  • Jackson, T. K., Cable, S. J., Jin, W. K., Robinson, A., Dennis, S. D., Vo, L. T., Prosser, T. J., & Rawlings, J. A. (2013). The importance of leadership in Soldiers' nutritional behaviors: results from the Soldier Fueling Initiative program evaluation. U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, 79–90.

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 Who We Are  |  Our Services  | Our Approach  |  Example Work

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