Mercer Public Health Program Launches New Evaluation and Applied Research Center


ATLANTA – The Master of Public Health program at Mercer University recently established a new center designed to provide state-of-the-art evaluation and applied research for enhancing program planning and success in health, education and human services.

The new Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) became operational in August and is based at the University's Atlanta campus, where the Public Health program recently expanded its degree offerings. In addition to providing evaluation and applied research services, the Center will also provide evaluation training and education, thereby advancing evaluation science by bridging the expertise of the research and practice communities.

“If we want to enhance the quality of public health service to the community, we must close the gap between research and practice through bilateral learning and feedback between science and services,” said Nannette Turner, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of Mercer's Public Health program, which is housed in the College of Health Professions. “In fact, the extent to which this gap remains is a public health issue.”

The Center, under the direction of Huey T. Chen, Ph.D., a leading authority on practical and theoretical program evaluation, will provide seven fundamental services: program planning, implementation evaluation, outcome evaluation, program monitoring, applied research, grant proposal assistance, and evaluation workshops. Dr. Chen, a former senior evaluation scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has assembled a unique team of experts for CEAR who have specific expertise in evaluation, research and grants in the areas of public health, education, policy, human services, and government. The team has significant experience working with large-scale and small-scale evaluations and will work with organizations to meet their budgets. 

“Our center will work with community and health organizations, both in the private and public sectors, to provide cutting-edge evaluation models and approaches to gather timely and insightful information for stakeholders to systematically improve the quality and effectiveness of initiatives that build healthier people and communities,” Dr. Chen said.

“The Center will also enhance stakeholders' evaluation capacity for monitoring and assessing these initiatives themselves.”

The Center will provide free initial consultation services to help identify needs and will work collaboratively with organizations to develop customized plans for evaluation of and research on services to be provided. For more information about the Center, or to schedule a consultation, contact the Center at (678) 547-6492 or       

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University's College of Health Professions is part of the Mercer Health Sciences Center and is comprised of three departments: Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Public Health. The College offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree, and master's degrees in physician assistant studies (M.M.Sc.) and public health (M.P.H.). In addition to its degree offerings, the College offers post-professional residencies and fellowships. With an overall enrollment of more than 350 students, the College seeks to improve the health and quality of life of individuals and society through excellence in teaching, research and service. For more information about the College, please visit

About Mercer University

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 12 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing, health professions, and continuing and professional studies – on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah – and four regional academic centers across the state. The Mercer Health Sciences Center, launched July 1, 2012, includes the University's medical, nursing, health sciences and pharmacy schools. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals – Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program.