Our Story

The Center for Community Health and Evaluation designs and evaluates health-related programs and initiatives across the United States.

Since the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE) was founded over 30 years ago, every part of our name has undergone significant change.
  • Our original organizational home—our center—was part of Group Health Cooperative; today, it is part of Kaiser Permanente. Specifically, within the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute, which allows us to leverage the cutting-edge work of our colleagues, including those working to accelerate care transformation.    
  • Our original community was a specific place in the Northwest and then the West Coast; since then, our 300 projects have spanned the entire country. Over the years, we have worked in hundreds of communities and with diverse configurations of systems and sectors. We have learned that each setting, system, and place is unique. We are committed to understanding the communities with which we are working. Focusing on the context for an evaluation—not just the evaluation questions and issues at hand—is important to understand the implications of what we learn and strengthens our recommendations and findings along the way. 
  • Early on, we understood “health” to mean much more than what happens within clinics and hospitals. This core principle has grown even stronger over time. We excel at working with initiatives that broaden the boundaries of what is considered health. This can mean partnering with organizations or coalitions specifically working on social and structural determinants, such as food security, housing, and legal support. Or this can mean evaluating broader efforts to change systems and influence policy. It also often means examining inequities that arise from our current health, social and structural systems. 
  • Evaluation, too, has moved from its academic origins to operate with a wider variety of tools, settings, and levels of participation. One of CCHE’s founders, Bill Beery, was fond of describing evaluation as a process of improving, rather than proving. What did he mean by that? In part, he was acknowledging that traditional evaluation has a somewhat well-deserved reputation for being focused almost exclusively on proving whether or not something happened. Proving whether or not something occurred as planned certainly has its uses. But in the real (and often messy) world of community health work, it may be more important to understand what is unfolding in real time, with a focus not necessarily on proving but on strategic learning and improving.

CCHE continues to learn and grow in every one of our evaluations. These past few years have pushed us in new ways as we shifted to an entirely virtual work environment, adapted our evaluation plans to reflect the needs of communities post-pandemic, and made explicit our commitment to racial justice or equitable evaluation.  These changes have been woven into how and why we do our work. 

Looking ahead, we will continue to walk the talk of evaluation as learning—as improving more than proving.  We commit to continuing to show up with curiosity, a willingness to adapt, and the patience to listen. 


Check out a timeline that walks through a selection of projects and initiatives that CCHE has evaluated during our 30-year history.  


At the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE), our 30th anniversary seemed an opportune time to reflect on what we have learned so far and how we can keep learning.


CCHE pushes the bounds of evaluation to include strategic learning and planning, assessment, and evaluation capacity building.