EXCELLENCE IN EVALUATION
The Office of Evaluation
and Inspections (OEI) is composed of analysts located within the
Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS). Our mission is to produce a broad array
of evaluations that are professionally rigorous and provide a
convincing basis for improving programs, preventing fraud, and
saving tax dollars.
Within the enormous
reach of the Department, we examine cost, quality, and access
to services. We ask, "Is the Government getting its
money's worth when purchasing or delivering services?" "Are
the services first-rate or shoddy?" "Do beneficiaries
of services--the elderly, low-income children, the disadvantaged,
the disabled--have access to care, or are they turned away at
the provider's door?" "Are programs managed efficiently?"
"Where is waste to be trimmed and abuse to be remedied?"
In OEI, we gather evidence
systematically, analyze it thoroughly using scientific and statistical
analysis methods, develop careful and reasoned findings, conclusions,
and recommendations and, finally, present the results concisely
to decision makers who use it to improve program operations.
STRENGTH: THE TALENT AND COMMITMENT OF ITS STAFF
Our recruiting strategy emphasizes
hiring talented, highly motivated entry-level staff, such as outstanding
scholars, presidential management interns, and college co-op students
OEI staffers are both generalists and specialists, and our strength
lies in the collective versatility of the staff.
We will provide the
training required for new staff to become accomplished evaluators
who are guided by our professional standards.
New analysts staff
generally earn between $30-40,000 a year, depending on experience,
and can reach close to $60,000 in two years with good performance.
DEVELOPMENT: CONTINUING TO LEARN AND GROW
The best training is
done on the job. We provide extensive training so that everyone
is able to understand and meet our rigorous professional standards.
We believe individual growth leads to organizational growth and
A typical assignment
involves a team--a project director, a lead analyst, a headquarters
liaison, and a few team members backed by statistical and data
processing experts. The team shepherds the study from beginning
to end. Staff members develop and improve skills and abilities
by helping design the project, collect the data, analyze the evidence,
write the report, and present it to the client who will use its
results to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the department's
When designing a study,
the analysts define the issues and potential sources of evidence,
decide how to best gather the data to establish condition, cause
and effect, and prepare a study schedule (usually against a tight
deadline). And all this before any data are collected.
To do the evaluation
work most effectively, we often visit sites throughout the country
to gather evidence on-site, directly from the data sources. This
often involves dealing with service providers, beneficiaries,
interest groups, and subject matter experts.
OEI is committed to
staff development through coaching, mentoring, formal training,
and even in-house training (such as interviewing, analysis, writing,
and questionnaire design). Our goal is for each employee
to receive some formal training each year, such as contracted
training courses, through public or private sources.
IMPACT: SHARING THE RESULTS
are active in the field of analysis and evaluation. We have
colleagues in academia, private think tanks, other government
organizations, and consulting firms. Staff are encouraged
to publish and teach, as well as to participate in professional
associations, such as the American Evaluation Association. OEI
staff have been published in such diverse media as the New England
Journal of Medicine, Investigators Journal, and the Journal of
Policy Analysis and Management.
is often referenced in editorials and trade journals like "Modern
Healthcare." We testify before the U.S. Congress and
State legislatures on the findings of our own studies and their
application to pending laws. We brief the Secretary of HHS
and the heads of agencies. We give speeches and appear on
panels at national conferences, and all staff have this opportunity,
not just managers.
has been so broad that we have provided technical assistance to
other governments and community organizations. We have trained
evaluation and program officials in India, Brazil, British Columbia
and the State of California. Our studies have affected some of
largest social programs in the country, and our staff can see
the fruits of their labor creating change for the better.