Center for Community Health & Evaluation names Maggie Jones as new director

Maggie brings both continuity and fresh perspectives to the job, writes former director Allen Cheadle

Allen Cheadle and Maggie Jones

by Allen Cheadle, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Center for Community Health & Evaluation Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

I am excited to announce the appointment of Maggie Jones to be the third director in the 30+ year history of the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE) at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute!

Maggie will bring both continuity and new perspectives to CCHE’s future. She joined CCHE in 2007 after completing her master’s in public health at the University of Washington (UW). She brought evaluation experience from her work with a cross-cultural health organization in Minnesota and at the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice at UW. Maggie moved quickly into positions of leadership at CCHE and became its associate director in 2016.

When I became director in 2011, I talked with each staff member about what motivated them in their work at CCHE. Maggie said she was most excited when she provides evaluation data and insights that have a genuine impact on organizations working to improve the health of their communities. She’s brought that commitment to the leadership and management of many large-scale evaluations over the past 10 years, which increasingly combine evaluation with strategic learning. Examples include using our evaluation to support the strategic planning efforts of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, helping to create an Evaluation Resource Center at the Healthcare Georgia Foundation to build evaluation capacity among Georgia nonprofits, and using evaluation to strengthen initiatives that support safety net health systems in California. Most recently she has been leading our expanding partnerships with Kaiser Permanente’s national and regional Community Health Programs.

Our CCHE staff are excited about the transition because, in addition to her evaluation skills, Maggie has many personal qualities that make her an effective leader. She is described by staff and stakeholders as thoughtful, kind, hard-working, and committed to improvement — for herself, our team, and our work.

I am proud of the work that we have done over the past seven years while I’ve been director. CCHE has grown substantially in our staffing, project portfolio, and methods expertise. The work I led with the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiative evaluation, a 15-year community-based obesity prevention initiative, contributed to our knowledge of how to do effective local policy and environmental change work and helped to build our long-term relationship with Kaiser Permanente at both national and regional levels.

I remain committed to CCHE and the work we do. While I am stepping down as director, I will remain as a senior research associate, and will continue to be an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. I will be supporting Maggie through the transition and working with her to ensure that CCHE continues to grow and expand our efforts to improve the health of communities through evaluation and strategic learning.

We are excited to continue to deepen our work in areas where we’ve long been working: Understanding the effectiveness of community coalitions, supporting improvement and innovations in safety net systems, and assessing the impact of public health policy interventions. And we’re also exploring new content areas such as how to best address trauma and build resilience and promote effective community development.

We look forward to continued partnerships with many of you. Please feel free to reach out to me or Maggie at any time.

CCHE is part of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Based in Seattle, Washington, CCHE provides evaluation and strategic learning services to help foundations and health organizations throughout the United States improve community health. Through its work as an evaluation partner, CCHE has helped pioneer many of the techniques today considered standard in evaluation of community-based interventions.