Our Process

The Center for Collaborative Systems Change is committed to partnering with groups, organizations, and agencies that have, as a keystone of their work, the desire to fill in gaps in health, mental health, and maternal health access for the entire community. We promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within our own center by utilizing inquiry approaches that are community-first and community-led, which allows for the voice of particularly those affected by health disparities- rather than the voice of the evaluator- to lead change. We believe the best research partnerships are based in a deep respect for the communities and people working to affect change. Using a range of methods, we seek to enhance stakeholder capacity and impart new tools and skills for their future use.
A light bulb with the word illuminate below with an arrow pointing to an open book with the word educate below with an arrow pointing to two people facing each other talking with speech bubbles above each person with the word facilitate below with an arrow pointing to a bullhorn in someone’s hand with the word advocate below with an arrow pointing to a rocket taking off with the word liberate below.

 Illuminate                  Educate                Facilitate               Advocate               Liberate


The initial phase where we collaboratively define the nature and purpose of our work with potential partners. In this phase, we explore the issue to be addressed and solicit representation from key community stakeholders who both influence and experience the issue. We promote equal and active participation by collectively establishing guidelines and expectations for the scope of the project. This includes clarifying our expertise and role as guides and the roles of partners as drivers to ensure that results and products are meaningful, usable, and actionable for communities.


The design phase where we use a community-based participatory approach to determine a course of action that defines the problem and generates, prioritizes, and evaluates solutions. Through co-designed evaluation research, we aid in the selection and development of community-based interventions, monitor fidelity of implementation, and assess potential impact. 


The action phase where we equip our partners with evaluation findings to guide ongoing, data-informed problem solving and decision making. By engaging stakeholders using the empowerment principles of inclusion and democratic participation, individuals and organizations are better able to gather, share, interpret, and utilize data, establishing collaborative data practices for self-evaluation.


The transitional phase where stakeholders begin to use the established processes to conduct, evaluate, and communicate their own work. We support an iterative process of research, reflection, and action that builds collective capacity for organizational and community level change.


The final phase where stakeholders are independently sustaining and evaluating their continuing work. Individuals and organizations are able to use their enhanced capacities and skills in transformative ways that create new opportunities and solutions for their communities.