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Evaluating health inequity interventions: Applying a contextual (external) validity framework to programs funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation


  • Phillips, Kaye
  • Müller-Clemm, Werner
  • Ysselstein, Margaretha
  • Sachs, Jonathan


Including context in the measurement and evaluation of health in equity interventions is critical to understanding how events that occur in an intervention's environment might contribute to or impede its success. This study adapted and piloted a contextual validity assessment framework on a selection of health inequity-related programs funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) between 1998 and 2006. The two overarching objectives of this study were (1) to determine the relative amount and quality of attention given to conceptualizing, measuring and validating context within CHSRF funded research final reports related to health-inequity; and (2) to contribute evaluative evidence towards the incorporation of context into the assessment and measurement of health inequity interventions. The study found that of the 42/146 CHSRF programs and projects, judged to be related to health inequity 20 adequately reported on the conceptualization, measurement and validation of context. Amongst these health-inequity related project reports, greatest emphasis was placed on describing the socio-political and economical context over actually measuring and validating contextual evidence. Applying a contextual validity assessment framework was useful for distinguishing between the descriptive (conceptual) versus empirical (measurement and validation) inclusion of documented contextual evidence. Although contextual validity measurement frameworks needs further development, this study contributes insight into identifying funded research related to health inequities and preliminary criteria for assessing interventions targeted at specific populations and jurisdictions. This study also feeds a larger critical dialogue (albeit beyond the scope of this study) regarding the relevance and utility of using evaluative techniques for understanding how specific external conditions support or impede the successful implementation of health inequity interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillips, Kaye & Müller-Clemm, Werner & Ysselstein, Margaretha & Sachs, Jonathan, 2013. "Evaluating health inequity interventions: Applying a contextual (external) validity framework to programs funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 198-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:36:y:2013:i:1:p:198-203
    DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2012.03.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frohlich, Katherine L. & Ross, Nancy & Richmond, Chantelle, 2006. "Health disparities in Canada today: Some evidence and a theoretical framework," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(2-3), pages 132-143, December.
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