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The Best Babies Zone Initiative has partnered with Harder+Company Community Research to implement a developmental evaluation framework to understand the local impact of Zonal work and the broader impact of the Initiative and, more recently, the Technical Assistance Center (TAC). Developmental evaluation seeks to gather data in real time in order to support the ongoing adaptation and evolution of a program. In the spirit of developmental evaluation, as BBZ has grown and changed over the years, so too has the focus of our evaluation efforts.

Different strategies, tools, and evaluation approaches have been applied over the years as described in each Evaluation Report below (organized in reverse chronological order). The first document under Evaluating Zonal Work, Best Babies Zone Outcomes House, describes the incremental outcomes that a Zone may strive to achieve based on implementing the BBZ approach to ultimately reduce infant mortality. Each Zone has their own personalized evaluation plan tailored to the specific priorities and needs of their community. While some Reports have incorporated data related to Zone-specific community transformation work, each Zone owns the data from their site-specific evaluation efforts, and that information is not featured here.

For additional questions on our evaluation, please email


Best Babies Zone Year 6 Evaluation Report

Year six of the BBZ evaluation emphasized the assessment of the BBZ Technical Assistance (TA) Center in providing TA to Cohort 1 and 2 Zones. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach that included methods for assessing the TA provided to Cohort 2 Zones (pre- and post-technical assistance interviews with Zone staff) as well as methods for continuing to gather information from Cohort 1 Zones (lessons learned interviews, a partnership survey, and a programmatic data tracker in Castlemont). In response to the new expanded focus of BBZ as a TA Center, the report focuses on the initiative as a whole. Zone-specific findings are included only where relevant. Click here to download the full report.


Best Babies Zone Outcomes House

This document presents an overview of incremental outcomes that each Zone, is working towards in their efforts to address and reduce infant mortality. It describes the community transformation which may take place in each of the four sectors (Community Systems, Economic Development, Health Systems, and Education and Early Care), ultimately leading to a reduction in infant mortality. A Zone’s work fits within the BBZ Initiative Outcomes framework but does not necessarily focus on all of the outcomes listed, based on what is relevant to that Zone’s context.  Click here to download the BBZ Evaluation Outcomes house.

Best Babies Zone Year 5 Evaluation Report

Year Five of the BBZ evaluation tracked progress toward community outcomes in Hollygrove and Castlemont, and documented the overall evolution of the National Initiative and the transition to a TA Center. In order to collect relevant information in these areas, the evaluation used a mixed-methods approach that included a programmatic data tracker, key informant interviews, pre-technical assistance interviews, and focus groups. Click here to download the full report.

Best Babies Zone Year 4 Evaluation Report

Year Four of the Best Babies Zone evaluation used a mixed methods approach to capture progress in each zone and across the BBZ Initiative. The report includes findings and best practices for developing unique zone programming, cultivating local partnerships, and exploring the concept and approaches for building a public health social movement. In addition to drawing conclusions and summarizing key findings, it presents recommendations for UC Berkeley and the BBZ Policy Corps, for zones, for other communities looking to pursue a similar approach, and for funders. Click  here to download the executive summary, and click here to download the full report.

Best Babies Zone Evaluation Report highlights for Years 1-3

The Best Babies Zone Summary Evaluation Report for Years 1 to 3 documents the progress of the national BBZ Initiative and local BBZ efforts during the first three years. The full report outlines achievements and challenges of this time period, including forming partnerships and building trust within each BBZ, developing site-specific strategies, beginning local BBZ programming and activities, and laying the foundation for community transformation. This evaluation report illustrates how BBZ is evolving, responding to the needs of the three zones, approaching the challenges of place-based, multi-sector work, and setting the stage for the next phase of the initiative.  Click here to download the full report, and click here to download an evaluation brief with report highlights.