Center for Evaluation and Applied Research

The Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) is a research unit within the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions of Mercer University. The purpose of CEAR is to focus the research and evaluation interests of public health faculty and students and to support the community of public health professionals in their pursuit of developing new knowledge and skills through training, collaborative grants and projects, workshops, and scholar activities.

CEAR conducts state-of-the-art evaluation and applied research projects in public health, education, and human services, by using the newest, cutting-edge evaluation theory and methodology. Our collaborating partners include community-based organizations, government agencies, non-profit foundations, education institutions, private firms, and individuals.

Evaluation and research services include:

  • Program planning:  Needs assessment; development of a logic model or program theory development of action model/change model schema to guide programs through all stages of implementation
  • Program implementation evaluation:  Formative evaluation; process evaluation
  • Traditional outcome evaluation:  Validity-focused outcome evaluation
  • Innovative outcome evaluation alternatives:  Real-world effectuality evaluation; viability evaluation; transferability evaluation

CEAR offers training opportunities for the public health workforce and other parties interested in developing or sharpening evaluation skills:

  • Evaluation capacity building training Understanding program and evaluation theory an putting it into practice; understanding and selecting different types of evaluation; development and utilization of monitoring and evaluation systems for monitoring implementation processes and collecting outcome data for accountability reporting as well as program improvement
  • Applied research skill development:  designing data collection instruments (surveys and questionnaires – online, telephone, paper; focus group and interview instruments and protocols; observation protocols; document review; tracking templates); quantitative and qualitative data analysis; report writing for different audiences
  • Grant writing assistance

The Center consists of a team of faculty and staff evaluation experts committed to applying cutting-edge evaluation theory and methodology to provide partners and clients with high quality evaluation services.

Please contact CEAR with any questions or opportunities to partner with you to collaboratively develop customized plans for evaluations of and research on services to be provided; write grant proposals; or conduct evaluation workshops at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Our Team

The Center consists of a team of faculty and staff evaluation experts committed to applying cutting-edge evaluation theory and methodology to provide clients with high quality evaluation services. CEAR takes a unique team approach to evaluation services. The team is comprised of CEAR personnel and affiliated Mercer University faculty and staff members.

CEAR Director

Huey T. Chen, PhD, Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) and Professor of Public Health in the College of Health Professions, is an international expert on the theory and practice of program evaluation. Previously a Senior Evaluation Scientist and Branch Chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Chen has worked with community organizations, health-related agencies, government agencies, and educational institutions. He has conducted both large-scale and small-scale evaluations in the U.S. and internationally, including evaluating a drug abuse treatment program and a youth service program in Ohio, an HIV prevention and care initiative in China, and an anti-smoking program in Georgia.He took a leadership role designing and implementing a national evaluation system for evaluating CDC funded HIV prevention programs based in health departments and community-based organizations.In addition to publish over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals, he is the author of several evaluation books. He is a winner of the American Evaluation Association’s Lazarsfeld Award for Evaluation Theory.

CEAR Affiliated Members

Cheryl L. R. Gaddis, DrPH, MPH, CHES is Chair, Associate Professor of Practice, and Director of the Master of Public Health Program in the College of Health Professions Department of Public Health. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Dr. Gaddis has over thirteen years’ experience in the public health areas of chronic disease, health promotion and education, qualitative and quantitative research, and program development. Her research interests include health disparities and underserved populations, children’s health, health promotion, and minority and rural health disparities, and tobacco disparities. She has also conducted community-based interventions and research on physical activity engagement among elementary school children. Dr. Gaddis has engaged in service with various community organizations on the local and state level as a board member, public health consultant, and grant writer/reviewer.

Brad Lian, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Medicine in the  Mercer University School of Medicine. His areas of expertise are in poverty, adolescent development, and community-based research. Over the past 10 years, he has been co-director of the annual Mobile Youth Survey of low-income adolescents, evaluator for a HRSA-funded Healthy Start Program, and has been an Investigator on several CDC- and NIH-funded programs. Dr. Lian has a broad social science background and extensive experience with data collection and management issues and research methods.

Suzie L. Madden, DrPH, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions.  Dr. Madden has been teaching in public health for more than 10 years and has served in administrative roles, including Academic Health Department Liaison with the North Central Health District, Academic Coordinator for the MPH program, and grant administrator of the NIH funded study Trace-CORE.  Dr. Madden has expertise in the areas of public health leadership, health communications, rural health, health informatics, health policy, health equity, and diversity.  Her research interests include health equity, implicit bias, privilege awareness, health communications, health informatics, and rural health issues.  Dr. Madden has conducted workshops in the community related to health equity and implicit bias.  She serves on the board for the Georgia Rural Health Association, the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth taskforce, and is an active member of the American Public Health Association.

Mary W. Mathis DrPH, MPH is Associate Professor of Practice and the Director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program in the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions.  She has experience with interprofessional and community-based research, focus groups and surveys for gathering data, and oversight of student research assistants in survey administration and data management.  She has served on the Mercer University Institutional Review Board for five years.

Liliana Morosanu, MPH is an Instructor in the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions. Her contribution to the team includes quantitative and qualitative data analysis, program evaluation design, monitoring and evaluation systems, and process and outcome evaluation. Her research interests include maternal and child health, violence prevention, emergency preparedness, and education research. Over the last five years, she participated in the evaluation of several large-scale projects focused on community health initiatives, telehealth, maternal and child health, as well as workforce assessments, survey design for state labor department services assessment, and health education programs. In her free time, she is an avid consumer of medical and public health research, and volunteers mentoring and tutoring students.

Arnab Nayak, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Mercer University’s Stetson Hatcher School of Business. Dr. Nayak specializes in analytical evaluations of healthcare and pharmacoeconomic policies.  His research involves healthcare outcome research, public health policy evaluations & recommendations, community involvement, and program evaluations. He has a wide experience working with large U.S. and international healthcare and pharmaceutical databases for impact and outcome analysis of public health policies; effects of Food and Drug Administration on healthcare costs; health care policies associated with pharmaceutical research and development decisions; child obesity causes and mitigation and, related policy issues; etc. Dr. Nayak has published numerous articles on empirical healthcare analytics in leading journals, including Journal of Public Health, The European Journal of Health Economics, Obesity Research and Clinical Practice and Pan American Journal of Public Health. Before joining Mercer University, Arnab spent several years as an economist for Deloitte and used his expertise in healthcare and pharmaceutical research to plan and price services, licenses, and products for multinational companies, including several healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.

Justus Randolph, PhD is Professor at the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. Dr. Randolph has worked as a program evaluator or researcher for organizations such as the Center for Policy and Program Evaluation, The Worldwide Institute for Research and Evaluation, the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, Utah State University, the University of Joensuu, HAMK University of Applied Sciences, and the Logan City School District. His research and evaluation experiences have concerned programs that involve nursing education, school improvement, higher education evaluation, technology-enriched playgrounds, educational technology research methods, and computing education. He has developed and taught courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods, evaluation, and scholarly writing. He is the author of the book Multidisciplinary Methods in Educational Technology Research and Development and several scholarly articles.

Nannette C. Turner, PhD, MPH is Associate Dean and Professor of Public Health Program in the College of Health Professions at Mercer University. Dr. Turner has over 20 years of experience in the public health areas of program evaluation, chronic disease, health promotion and education, qualitative and quantitative research, and program development. Her research interests include health disparities, underserved populations, academic health departments, and cancer control including tobacco use and prevention. Dr. Turner is currently serving as a board member on the ASPPH MPH Expert Panel and the Georgia Department of Public Health, Tobacco Control Advisory Council.She has also engaged in service with various community organizations at the local and state level as a board member, public health consultant, and grant writer/reviewer.