About the center

The center specializes in evaluation of health promotion interventions in the different fields of healthcare concerning various population groups. Additionally, the center develops both existing and new assessment tools and methods. The center's activities are funded by external sources.


Planning and executing studies assessing health promotion programs: Intervention programs are conducted in Israel every year, with the goal of promoting health. One of the center's goals is to undertake assessment for these programs, in order to allow an evaluation of whether or not the programs meet their objectives.

Building a knowledge base of methods and tools for assessment of effectiveness of interventions: A knowledge base of this kind will assist researchers not familiar with conducting assessments of intervention programs they develop.

Developing intervention programs and assessing them: Assessing intervention programs will assist in developing effective interventions in areas such as reducing health risk behavior, improving healthy lifestyles, and cultivating both knowledge and skills for promoting health. The programs will be developed both at the University of Haifa and at other institutions that will cooperate with the university.

Strategy development and guidance for large health promotion programs: Providing consultation for the development, planning and implementation of community-based health promotion programs, from the preliminary planning stages, through its execution, and evaluation. Programs will feature participatory approachs in which target populations will be actively involved. This will include consultations for developing a comprehensive strategy; practical and theoretical help in building questionnaires; guidance for the development of content and messages, and assessing them with target populations in mind; selecting and using communication means while considering these populations, the available resources and the program's objectives. Furthermore, the center will conduct workshops for staff, and will accompany surveys, focus groups, and interviews, as well as the final reports and evaluations.

Fields of research:

The center is involved with all aspects of health promotion, such as: Lifestyle, risk behavior (smoking, alcohol consumption etc.), vaccination, accessing health services and driving.

The target population of these health promotion programs includes:

The general public, communities, adolescents, populations at risk, the sick, and more.

What is included in the evaluation of a health promotion program?

In the fields of public health and health promotion, evaluations are usually divided into three main phases:

  • Formative evaluation
  • Process evaluation
  • Outcome evaluation

Each of these phases contributes to the underlying science and effective outcomes of health promotion programs, and each incorporates both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Formative evaluation: Formative evaluation examines whether or not components of the program are applicable, appropriate and meaningful, as well as whether or not they would be accepted by the program's target population. This evaluation focuses on participatory research with the target population before, during, and after the program's implementation. The examination process precedes the planning and execution of the program's social marketing strategy, and includes the investigation of the target population's needs and wants, in addition to the possible barriers to the program's implementation. At the same time, formative evaluation will determine the various objectives to be achieved in order to realizing the program's goals. For example, in order to examine the potential effectiveness of a program promoting healthy nutrition, it would first be necessary to identify the target populations' attitudes on nutrition; their barriers to adopting better nutrition choices; the parties they view as trustworthy; the appropriate communication channels for reaching them; and whether or not the program's contents are clear and relevant to them.

Process evaluation: Process evaluation examines the manner in which the program is carried out; it documents the program's implementation in comparison to the original plan, in order to examine any discrepancies between the plans and their execution. Process evaluation also provides the program's creators and managers with feedback on its quality and fidelity. The data generated allows an assessment of exactly which parts of the program leads to specific outcomes, and how the program influences funders, sponsors and the public. As a part of this evaluation, the target populations' receptiveness to the program and their satisfaction is measured. Typical questions to be asked in process evaluations include: What components of the program do the main interested parties see as influential? Who are the program's participants, and do they match the original target population? How many people participated in the program? Which components work according to plan and which do not? Going forward, what lessons can we learn from the program and implement in future endeavors?

Outcome evaluation (short- and long-term): Short-term outcome evaluation can measure the immediate effects of the program on participants after completing the intervention program. This type of evaluation examines results that may change rapidly as a result of the program, including knowledge, beliefes, attitudes, and behavior. These are usually measured before and after participation in the program, as well as in a corresponding control group. Short-term outcome evaluation examines the program's performance in achieving its short- and medium-term goals. Common assessment methods include surveys, interviews and observations. Examining changes in behavior and health usually requires a longer amount of time; therefore, they are assessed in longer intervals through additional outcome evaluations. Control groups, as well as comparison groups, are often used to assist in determining the correlation between outcomes and the intervention itself.

A common approach in contemporary public health research emphasizes the importance of RCTs – Randomized Control Trials. These studies are considered the most reliable kind of evaluation research, and are believed to be the only possible way to prove that an intervention has reached its goals. However, these studies are not applicable in most public health interventions, as it is typically impossible neither to separate the population randomly between control- and intervention-groups, nor to deny the control groups the intervention. Therefore, evaluation methods that do fit the various types of public-health interventions and promotion programs have and still are being developed; these include evaluation studies in which the random assignment is in the cluster-level, or, alternatively, in which individual subjects are used as their own control.