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Thana-Ashley Charles

Consultant

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Inclusive storytelling infused with culturally responsive evaluation representing diverse perspectives

“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”―Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thana’s personal and professional drive to tackle complex social problems and improve the lives of others primarily lives in her passion to address social determinants of health.

Trained in the utilization and practice of Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE), she is committed to transformational evaluation practices that provide a comprehensive picture, capture nuances and deeper perspectives of social issues in communities, and include a broader range of voices and stakeholders.

Thana has conducted mixed methods evaluations of health interventions on a range of topics such as worksite wellness, the role of lay health advisors in minority communities, urban health, international adolescent health, and access to care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

At TCC Group:
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Change Leadership Initiative: Thana and the TCC team created an evaluation framework to measure the impact the Initiative has made on increasing diversity and collaboration to improve the health of communities across the country. Using a rigorous approach to provide timely and actionable evidence, she contributes to the ongoing learning efforts for improvement of the Initiative. She also helps oversee a collective workgroup for four key academic center leadership programs and is an evaluation support liaison. She is also a contributor to the overarching data analysis for the program, compiling data findings to tell a compelling story of progress toward a society where people are working across sectors and disciplines to improve access to equitable healthcare services.
  • Women Donors Network, Emergent Fund: As a response to the 2016 presidential election, the Emergent Fund (EF) was formed to provide rapid-response funding to grassroots organizations working in communities at risk by new policies and priorities—immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, LGBTQ communities, and all people of color. Thana worked closely with the founding team of the Emergent Fund to conduct an evaluation to learn and understand the impact of its innovative funding model that put community representatives at the decision-making table.
  • ViiV Healthcare: Thana supports the evaluation planning and implementation for ViiV’s programs that aim to increase access to quality healthcare and improve the lives of those people living with HIV/AIDS in high-risk communities. She established the evaluation goals and subsequently mapped the goals and corresponding indicators that would define and frame program recommendations. Thana leads the reporting and data collection tool and provides technical assistance to grantees to ensure accurate project evaluation. She also dedicates time to site visits, getting a more in-depth perception of what program grantees are experiencing and how their projects are progressing.
Before TCC Group:
  • Lay Health Advisors – National Witness Project: Through the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, Thana evaluated the impact on Lay Health Advisors (community members who were cancer survivors) of breast cancer prevention interventions for women of color. Her qualitative analysis and published article examined key themes of the role Lay Health Advisor had on community members who had been recently diagnosed and the advisors’ impact on patient perceptions of empowerment and control.
  • The Intersector Project: Thana led the development of the Intersector Project toolkit, which continues to provide useful support to academic, government, nonprofit, and business partners in diagnosing, designing, implementing, and assessing cross-sector collaborations. With the guiding tenet that each sector has its limitations as well as unique assets, she provided trainings on how to use the toolkit to share expertise, resources, and build a commitment to address societal problems together.
Education:
  • Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
    • MPH and Certificate in Public Health Research Methods
  • Wesleyan University
    • BA Science in Societies Program
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