James Bell Associates (JBA) ~ Delivering excellence in program evaluation, applied research, and technical assistance for public and non-profit sectors to improve health care and human services
James Bell Associates, a Washington, D.C. area research and evaluation firm, is nationally recognized for excellence in independent program evaluation, applied research, and technical assistance. JBA has a reputation for delivering high-quality and useful findings to program management and policy decision-makers in the human services and health care arenas to enhance the well being of individuals, families, and communities. JBA has focused primarily in the fields of Child Welfare, Child & Family Development, Health Care, and Mental Health & Substance Abuse.
JBA has over a 30-year record of excellence and an impressive array of knowledge and experience performing high-quality program evaluations of varying scope and complexity. Each program evaluation has three interdependent phases that culminate in objective evidence on program performance. In the design and planning phase, JBA stresses the disciplined use of logic models to clarify the expected relationships between program inputs, processes, and outcomes. Evaluability assessment techniques are generally employed to ensure that findings will be useful in decision-making and to meet high standards for measurement integrity.
The second phase of evaluation typically employs a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods. Depending on the project, these might include a combination of in-person and telephone interviews focus groups; case studies; document content analysis; structured observations; secondary data analysis; case record abstractions; and mail, telephone, or Web-based surveys.
Although sometimes overlooked, the third phase of informing program management and policy decision-makers and disseminating evaluation findings is crucial to realizing the full benefits of an evaluation.
Typically, multiple modes of communication are utilized, including briefings, report summaries or executive summaries, and detailed technical reports. These materials are written in clear, concise language devoid of technical or programmatic jargon. This phase may also involve syntheses of findings from local or state evaluations to isolate overarching findings for a program of national interest.
JBA's applied social and behavioral research, which investigates hypothesized relationships among social and behavioral phenomena, typically includes all aspects of study design, data collection, data quality assurance and management, statistical analysis, and knowledge dissemination through technical reports and scientific articles. JBA maintains a dedicated data repository function and has the capacity to conduct Web-based and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) surveys.
Technical Assistance (TA)
As the requirement for performance measurement spreads to national discretionary grant programs funded by Federal agencies and private foundations, JBA has increasingly provided evaluation technical assistance (TA) and training. Although TA and training are often embedded in program evaluations, JBA also has experience with projects that focus solely on building program evaluation capacity through three basic TA and training modalities.
The first modality is direct on-site TA, customized to meet the specific needs of an agency or program.
The second TA modality is tailored to program-specific needs and is delivered through teleconferencing, email, or written correspondence. This modality is not as direct as on-site assistance but still is responsive to the specialized needs of an individual project or agency.
The third TA modality is exemplified by general training for groups through conference presentations, workshops, Web-based training materials, Webinars, and conference calls with clusters of projects. These generalized trainings are geared toward larger groups, such as agency staff members that monitor grantees or attendees of professional conferences.
Current JBA Program & Policy Areas
JBA has conducted over 60 projects focused on child welfare and family services for Federal and State agencies, including the Children's Bureau, the Office of Family Assistance, the National Institute of Justice, and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. These projects have addressed multiple areas of child and family well-being, including child maltreatment prevention, adoption, foster care, family preservation and support, responsible fatherhood, healthy marriage and Title IV-E state child welfare waivers.
Child & Family Development
JBA has conducted numerous research projects concerning child and adolescent development for Federal and state agencies, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Children's Bureau, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. These studies have focused on home visiting; teenagers facing emancipation from the foster care system; infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in early intervention programs such as Head Start; school-based child maltreatment prevention programs; and child care.
JBA has had nearly 30 years of experience conducting health care projects ranging from short-term qualitative assessments of policy changes to randomized clinical trials on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, and several states. These projects have addressed areas of patient safety, patient-centered outcomes, medical liability reform and best practices, Medicaid managed care, behavioral health outcomes, chronic disease management, integrated HIV/AIDS care, HIV/AIDS medication adherence, coverage for investigational drugs, and innovations in rural and frontier health care.
Mental Health & Substance Abuse
JBA has had over 15 years of experience evaluating mental health and substance abuse services for Federal agencies, including the National Institute on Mental Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. These projects have addressed issues such as co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, stigma and discrimination, service utilization and costs, cultural competence, trauma, medication management, provider education and training, and the complex co-morbidities of mental illness, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS.