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October 20, 2022

Announcing the Recipients of the 2022 Evaluation Community Awards

By The Evidence Team, OMB

Golden trophy with stars It is our honor to announce the winners of the Second Annual Evaluation Community Awards Program on behalf of the Evaluation Officer Council! These awards honor Federal civil service leaders committed to advancing evaluation and evidence-based policymaking across the Federal Government. We solicited nominations from across the Federal evaluation community, as well as those who work with Federal evaluators. We received over 30 strong nominations representing 16 different agencies. A cross-functional panel reviewed the submissions to provide recommendations and OMB presented the awards at the October Evaluation Officer Council meeting.

The winners of the 2022 Evaluation Community Awards profiled below reflect the dedication and ingenuity of the Federal evaluation community. The profiles include excerpts from their nominations (kept anonymous), which tell the story of how Federal evaluators generate high-quality evidence that informs program and policy leaders and contributes to positive change across Government. In sharing these profiles, we aim to recognize the exemplary work of the awardees and inspire others to engage with and support the Federal evaluation community in all they do to improve Federal programs and decision-making!

Excellence in Program Evaluation Award
Kelley Scanlon, USDA
Patricia Moore Shaffer, NEA

Federal Evaluation Innovator Award
Brian Scholl, SEC

Outstanding Evaluation Mentor Award
Anne Fletcher, HUD

Evaluation Officer Council Distinguished Contribution Award
For Evaluation Officer Council members who make exceptional contributions to the Federal evaluation community.

Russ Burnett Headshot

Russ Burnett, Senior Advisor for Evaluation
Strategic Planning & Performance Staff
Department of Justice

Russ helps to lead and coordinate the Justice Department’s new initiatives around evaluation and evidence building under Title I of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. This includes coordinating research efforts to implement the Department’s first-ever learning agenda, as well as building capacity for ongoing and future research and analysis to support decisions about DOJ programs and policies.

"Russ Burnett has shown exceptional leadership by volunteering to co-chair the Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy (ICEP). ICEP aims to provide a sense of community and respond to the needs of the Evaluation Officer Council and the federal evaluation community. ICEP is composed of federal employees who are technical experts in one or more aspects of evaluation. As a member he contributed to the revisions to the charter and helping to set a new vision post Evidence Act passage. He has been an active member and is very collaborative and supportive of Council members. As co-chair he keeps tasks on track such as the process for welcoming new members and the creation of the working groups. He has a clear vision and innovative ideas for what the ICEP can and should be.

Russ works closely with OMB to represent the needs of federal evaluators in agencies and to communicate with us information from OMB. He is always willing to make presentations about the Council... He is easy to work with and always comes through."

Evaluation and Evidence Team of the Year Award
For Federal teams who collaborate across disciplines and silos to conduct evaluation(s) that generate critical evidence for decision-making in or across agencies.

prIDE local evaluation team

PrIDE Local Evaluation (LE) Team
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services

PrIDE Local Evaluation (LE) was groundbreaking with a number of new evaluation requirements (e.g., robust process and outcome evaluations, a cluster evaluation approach) that allowed funded health departments make evidence-based programmatic decisions.

"PrIDE, a multi-jurisdictional health department (HD) demonstration project, was funded by CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention to build HDs’ capacity to implement Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (pill that helps prevent HIV) and Data to Care (surveillance data use to re-link persons into HIV care) among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender persons, particularly persons of color. A unique feature of PrIDE was the enhancement of evaluation by implementing robust process and outcome evaluations, called Local Evaluation (LE)….LE cornerstones were Participatory Evaluation and Utilization-focused Evaluation.

LE findings have been used to improve PrEP campaign messages, expand programming in LGBTQ+ subpopulations, decrease client wait time between referral and provider appointment, increase community engagement, modify PrEP referral form, increase evaluation capacity, allocate funding for culturally appropriate patient navigation, and develop other evaluations….Additionally, CDC has used lessons learned to allocate funding for evaluation and performance measurement in other demonstration projects….LE was led by a senior evaluator in collaboration with health scientists, behavioral scientists, a deputy branch chief, and a statistician…The story is in Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol 90, Feb 2022."

Evaluation in Action Award
For Federal executives or program leaders who use evaluation results to drive program improvement.

Alan Gorowitz Headshot

Alan Gorowitz, Assistant Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy
Defense Security Cooperation Agency
Department of Defense

Alan facilitates strategic planning and implementation policy for DoD security cooperation activities, integrating foreign military sales, DoD activities, and State Department grant assistance.

"As the Assistant Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy (SPP) at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Mr. Alan Gorowitz plays a critical role in creating the norms that will transition the Department of Defense into a learning organization…. Mr. Gorowitz builds a coalition on a daily basis of those eager to continuously improve based on what’s working and what’s not. Not only does Mr. Gorowitz devote his own time to thoroughly digesting evaluation reports and discerning what actions SPP can take to improve current strategy and create better future program design, he is known throughout the Security Cooperation community for sharing reports outside of his Office and Agency and inviting relevant external decisions-makers to events so they may also feel empowered to take action.

Most importantly, Mr. Gorowitz is a decision-maker who actively seeks evaluative advice, contributing thoughtful inputs to the Security Cooperation Learning Agenda and requesting updates on when evaluation reports will be shareable with the Department. As the head of an Office responsible for ensuring strong design of one billion dollars’ worth of Security Cooperation programs annually (among many other duties), Mr. Gorowitz’s evaluative approach has major impacts not only on national security, but the practice of driving national security decisions through evidence."

Excellence in Program Evaluation Award
For evaluation leaders or staff who keep initiatives on track and deliver high quality evaluations that uphold the standards of relevance and utility; independence and objectivity; rigor, transparency, and ethics.

Kelley Scanlon Headshot

Kelley Scanlon, Senior Analytical Advisor
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture

Kelley joined the Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, in 2016 as Director of the Special Nutrition Research and Analysis Division in the Office of Policy Support. The division was responsible for the research and analysis to inform and evaluate fourteen of the Federal nutrition assistance programs, producing the body of research acknowledged by this award. In August 2022, she joined the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) as a Senior Analytical Advisor to work on scientific priorities across the Center.

"During her tenure as the Director of the Special Nutrition Research and Analysis Division at USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Dr. Kelley Scanlon championed a more-than-$75 million research portfolio of federal program evaluation studies aimed at assessing the impacts of the Federal nutrition safety net programs….Because of her efforts and leadership, the public now knows, for example, that school meals are healthier than ever before and…that longer WIC participation leads to better diet quality in children. These statements are not to be taken lightly, as they are the result of years of rigorous, national research.

Dr. Scanlon has tirelessly advocated for the inclusion of robust evaluation in all Agency funding opportunities, and she has also advised staff, peers, and Agency senior leaders on how to incorporate evaluation standards into standard Agency operations. Furthermore, she supported her staff by providing input and guidance on hundreds of reports, peer-reviewed publications, and other public-facing products. The data and evidence generated under Dr. Scanlon’s leadership has been used to improve Federal nutrition policy and has guided policy makers across 3 administrations. Thanks to Dr. Scanlon’s expertise, guidance, and commitment to scientific rigor, FNS is instituting sound, data-driven policies that promote nutrition security to more than 40 million children across the country.”

Patricia Moore Shaffer Headshot

Patricia Moore Shaffer, Deputy Director, Research & Analysis
Office of Research & Analysis
National Endowment for the Arts

Patricia serves as deputy director of the agency’s Office of Research & Analysis and is responsible for supervising the office’s analyst team, day-to-day operations, workflow, and performance. Patricia also serves as the lead for agency program evaluation and performance measurement.

"By exercising leadership and mentorship in program evaluation, Patricia Moore Shaffer has established herself as a mission-critical resource at the NEA and as a beacon for strategic learning within the federal arts and cultural community. In FY 2022 alone, Patricia met the following challenges, with promising results for the agency and for internal and external stakeholders alike. [She] oversaw development of a pilot test protocol and outcomes measurement survey…to monitor and evaluate outcomes for military service personnel and veterans who receive creative arts therapies and arts-engagement opportunities in non-clinical and/or community settings. [She] mentored new NEA Office of Research & Analysis staff to…assume leadership in the evaluation of two relatively new NEA programs: the National Folklife Network, and Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice. [She] seized the initiative to draft an evaluation task order for the NEA's new flagship program to address President Biden's Executive Order on equity and underserved communities. And, [she] developed and implemented a NEA Learning Agenda, based on an assessment of NEA staff and leadership needs.”

Federal Evaluation Innovator Award
For evaluation mavericks who think up creative and outside-the-box evaluation ideas, help design them, and see them through to execution.

Brian Scholl Headshot

Brian Scholl, Chief Economist
The Office of the Investor Advocate
US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Brian is the founder and manager of the SEC’s POSITIER, a unique research lab in which an interdisciplinary team of researchers access best-in-class data collection tools for investor outreach and rapid cycle research generation in support of policymaking. He advises the Commission and Investor Advocate on investor issues.

“Dr. Brian Scholl is the Principal Economic Advisor to the Office of the Investor Advocate at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Embodying the role of an evaluation innovator, Scholl designed and launched SEC’s POSITIER, a flexible architecture for studying investors’ beliefs, desires, and goals, and decision-making. In particular, by designing a framework that allows for rapid, targeted deployment of surveys and experiments, Scholl increased the speed and relevance of evidence generation at the SEC…POSITIER has deployed over 40 surveys research projects since 2017 and 11 qualitative studies using in-depth interviews.

POSITIER’s most recent success was a project studying the use of comparative performance information (or “benchmarks”) by mutual funds and the role of benchmarks on investors’ evaluations and investment decisions…. Scholl led the conception, design, and execution of this research. The report is a first of its kind for the SEC along multiple dimensions, including the extent of collaboration between research and policy teams, the multi-disciplinary nature of the analysis, and the extent of outreach to thousands of actual investors. Ultimately, the research sets a new standard for evidence incorporated in SEC policymaking activities, and is expected to have an impact on forthcoming regulation.”

Outstanding Evaluation Mentor Award
For evaluation leaders or staff who go above and beyond to provide mentorship, support, and guidance to others in the Federal evaluation community.

Anne Fletcher Headshot

Anne Fletcher, Supervisory Social Science Analyst
Office of Policy Development and Research, Office of Research, Evaluation & Monitoring, Program Evaluation Division
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Anne is currently a Supervisory Social Science Analyst within the Office of Research, Evaluation & Monitoring of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. She has twenty years of research and evaluation experience working across various Federal agencies, including a detail to serve as staff to the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, and in each position has had a special focus on program evaluation and research related to the issues of housing and homelessness.

“Anne has proved to be an exemplar in the evaluation space, as well as a capable and valued mentor, supervisor, and friend in the Program Evaluation Division of HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research….We are especially thankful for Anne's commitment to making herself available and approachable, creative approaches to complex problems, unmatched institutional knowledge…and desire to set her staff up for success in the workplace. Despite her staff being mostly remote and located in different parts of the country, she has never faltered in proactively and meaningfully engaging us, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and immense personal hardship.

Anne has had more than a decade of experience in program evaluation, and her unique knowledge and skills have led her to accomplish much in her varied and notable career thus far. Time and time again, Anne has gone far beyond her responsibilities as a supervisor in guiding and supporting her staff. Specific examples include…mentoring and supporting early, mid, and advanced-career staff in a wide range of projects…and demonstrating outstanding professionalism, evidenced in her responsiveness to staff concerns and communication, track record of delivering work on time, and her impeccable ability to manage her staff….We credit her with training the next generation of program evaluators in our Division to carry our work to an ever-higher standard.”


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