Learning & Research

Generating insights in partnership with communities. 

image depicting a group of diverse people discussing ideas

At MFH, we are committed to continuous learning. This looks different depending on the challenge we’re addressing, but every step we take is guided by our values – especially humility and equity.  

We work collaboratively with our partners and the communities we serve to create a shared vision and collectively define what success looks like. It’s not just about achieving goals; it’s about understanding the nuanced impact on people’s lives. Together, we determine how to detect change, share insights, and use those insights for continuous reflection and improvement.  

Our Approaches to Learning and Research 

Equitable Evaluation Framework 

In alignment with our commitment to health equity, MFH has adopted the Equitable Evaluation Framework™ and its organizing principles. This framework serves as a compass, ensuring that how we practice learning mirrors the equity we strive to achieve.  

Emergent Learning 

In the ever-evolving sea of societal change, we recognize the need for flexibility and adaptability. That’s where Emergent Learning comes into play. Much of what we do requires working in dynamic environments and on complex problems that defy tidy, linear evaluations, where inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact flow predictably. By embracing Emergent Learning principles and practices, we’re better able to navigate these complexities and strengthen our understanding and approach to the work. We’re using Emergent Learning principles to guide our Food Justice and Advocacy work, and we’ll be sharing what we’re learning soon.

Attuned to the Pulse of Missourians 

In addition to learning and evaluation related to our strategic initiatives, we often commission original research to help us and our partners understand issues Missourians are concerned about and how they experience health and other social and economic inequities in their day-to-day lives. Here are a couple ways we are learning about what matters to Missourians.

Rural MO Stories

We’ve partnered with the University of Missouri, Columbia, Department of Sociology and the MU Extension Program to explore the diverse lived experiences, narratives, and values that shape rural life and inform peoples’ perceptions of equity as it relates to their communities’ health, well-being, and ability to thrive. Using an assets-based approach, this two-year project spans 12 communities and uses interviews, focus groups, and photography-assisted research methods to elevate the perspectives of rural Missourians.

MFH intends to use insights generated from this research to enhance our program, policy, and communication strategies related to rural health and well-being and to highlight what rural Missourians value about the places they live and work. 

Public Opinion Research

We are partnering with FM3 Research and New Bridge Strategy to conduct public opinion research on Missourians’ views, perspectives, opinions, and experiences related to social, physical, and economic well-being. Insights gained from analysis of these data will deepen the Foundation’s and our partners’ understanding of the broad context of our work and identify key trends we and others can use for planning and decision-making.

Get in Touch

Reach out to one of our contacts for more information.

Katherine Fritz, PhD, MPH
Vice President of Learning & Research