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Learning & Evaluation

The Foundation engages the community to assess pressing health needs, uses research to inform best practices and evaluates the effectiveness of its work.  From supporting the county’s biennial health survey to convening Horizon Councils to commissioning studies, we use many approaches to identify opportunities for impact and measure our results.


Conducted in partnership with the Howard County Health Department, Howard County General Hospital, Horizon Foundation and Columbia Association, this is the most in-depth biennial survey to examine the health and health needs of Howard County residents. In 2016, surveyors spoke with over 2,000 residents by telephone, in both English and Spanish.  Questions were asked about their diet, exercise, access to care, health care coverage, chronic disease, behavioral health and addictions. View the most recent results at howardcountyhealthsurvey.com.


The peer-reviewed medical journal published a study in May 2017 that documented the impact of the Howard County Unsweetened campaign on sugary drink sales in the county. Lead author and researcher Marlene Schwartz of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut analyzed objective sales data from the Howard County market and a comparison market to find a 20 percent drop in soda sales in Howard County. The publication included an editor’s note that called the findings “gratifying” and praised the authors for demonstrating “the value of a well-performed evaluation of an important public health intervention.” View the study: Association of a Community Campaign for Better Beverage Choices With Beverage Purchases From Supermarkets


Research and assessments on the health landscape in Howard County and the Horizon Foundation’s work are supported by the Howard Community Health Foundation. The Howard Community Health Foundation is the primary funding source of the Horizon Foundation.