Evaluation and Learning

Sierra Health Foundation and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation pursue the use of equity-focused, culturally responsive, community-centered evaluation for learning, actionable knowledge and accountability.


We support organizational learning about program implementation and other internal processes to increase the effectiveness of our work. Examples:

San Joaquin Valley Health Fund Participatory Evaluation Technical Assistance Final Reflections and Learnings

San Joaquin Valley Health Fund Participatory Evaluation Technical Assistance Final Reflections and Learnings

The Center’s first use of participatory action was an important learning opportunity. It confirmed our commitment to inclusive approaches to evaluation and increased our sensitivity to the challenges and opportunities participatory action creates for funded partners. As foundations increasingly embrace a vision of an equitable society, this report — prepared by Learning for Action — provides insight into one way to incorporate that vision in their evaluation practices.

Actionable knowledge

We ask questions and gather information about processes, programs and systems, and share that knowledge to support movement-building and advocacy for health and racial equity by our partners and other stakeholders. Examples:

A Blueprint for Transforming the Juvenile Justice System

Positive Youth Justice Initiative: A Blueprint for Transforming the Juvenile Justice System

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (now Evident Change) carried out a three-year evaluation of the initiative to learn how it had contributed to the partners’ organizing and advocacy work, document the policy and systems change accomplishments of the partners, and provide recommendations to support communities in strengthening local infrastructure for organizing and advocacy toward a healthier youth justice system.

Guide to Community-First Funder Collaboratives

Guide to Community-First Funder Collaboratives

The San Joaquin Valley Health Fund provides a model for funders who want to support the expansion and deepening of community-led movements to advance equity through policy and systems changes. This guide is intended to help foundations and other funders understand the value of community-led funder collaboratives and take the steps needed to build and implement them. It was written by Harder+Company Community Research and funded by Sierra Health Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


As the steward of funding from public and private sources, we provide information needed to assure funders that community partners and The Center are carrying out the work consistent with the intent of the investment. Examples:

Elevate Youth California 2020 Annual Report

Elevate Youth California 2020 Annual Report

The statewide Elevate Youth California program prioritizes youth leadership in under-resourced communities harmed by the War on Drugs. The program’s first annual report highlights grantee partner accomplishments; total funding awarded; local movement building; youth empowerment, leadership and development; demographics of youth who are engaged; and capacity building activities.

Asthma Mitigation Project Year 1 Evaluation Report

Asthma Mitigation Project Year 1 Evaluation Report

Harder+Company Community Research is evaluating the Asthma Mitigation Project to generate useful data that can improve implementation, assess changes in asthma outcomes for program participants, and examine the long-term impacts of the program’s asthma mitigation services on health and healthcare-related costs. Evaluation findings will inform program implementation and offer insights into future asthma preventive services funding, policy and sustainability opportunities.

The Department of Evaluation and Learning

Department staff have different cultural identities, professional backgrounds and life experiences. The rich diversity of their perspectives and their shared vision of equity-focused, culturally responsive, community-centered evaluation informs the practice of the department.

Rami Arafah

Rami Arafah (he/him) manages and supports evaluation activities across multiple program areas at Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, including Community Economic Development and Youth Development. He approaches this work with a background in nonprofit direct service and management and, more recently, community-centered evaluation consulting. Rami holds a BSW and MSW from the Ohio State University, and a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. In his free time, Rami enjoys having fun with his family and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

Noemi Avalos

Noemi Avalos (she/her/ella) manages external evaluations and supports with internal evaluation of diverse programs, including programs focused on health equity and healthy youth development. Previously, she served four years as an Evaluation Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her areas of interest include evaluation capacity building, contribution analysis/outcome harvesting, qualitative methods, data visualization and culturally responsive evaluation. She has a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from UC Davis, and a Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, taking care of house plants and spending time with loved ones.

Elena Luna

Elena Luna (she/her) provides support to the Evaluation team as part of her Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) through the American Evaluation Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas. She is a current candidate for the Doctor of Public Health in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health – Austin. Her research uses multi-methods to understand barriers and facilitators to leisure-time physical activity among Latinos. In her free time, Elena likes to upcycle home goods from thrift stores and do DIY projects.

Breanna Mattis

Breanna Mattis (she/her) provides evaluation and administrative support to the evaluation department. In 2020, Breanna received her Master of Public Health in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Before joining Sierra Health Foundation’s Evaluation Department, she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant contributing to evaluation projects in the Greater Atlanta area in a variety of capacities, including data collection and analysis. Her areas of interest include process evaluation, youth participatory evaluation, and the social determinants of health. Breanna identifies as a first generation Black Jamaican-American female.

E-mail our Evaluation Department for more information.


The Evaluation Department is guided by professional standards and guidelines, including: