Dr. Ross F. Conner

Professor Emeritus of Planning, Policy & Design, School of Social Ecology; Planning, Policy & Design
Irvine, California
United States

Focus Areas

Community & Civic Engagement
Community Based Participatory Research
Economic Security
Community Development
Food Systems
Food Systems
Policy & Education
Public Health & Safety
Environment & Sustainable Development


Dr. Ross Conner is Professor Emeritus of Planning, Policy & Design and Former Director, Center for Community Health Research at the University of California - Irvine. Professor Conner's research examines community health promotion and disease prevention programs, specifically how they are best planned, tracked and evaluated. Using a social ecological perspective that defines ‘health’ broadly and focuses at the individual, community and systems levels, he works in partnership with communities of many types and sizes, in the US and abroad. Dr. Conner’s work has involved evaluations of statewide health promotion programs in California (the California Endowment’s CommunitiesFirst grant program) and in Colorado (the Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative). At the community level, he has worked with Chinese and Korean groups on cancer control projects (the ACCT Project) and Latino groups on HIV prevention (the SOLAAR Program). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, among others, have supported his work. His research has received awards from the American Evaluation Association and the UC Health Net Wellness Program. Now retired from full-time teaching, Dr. Conner has been able to expand his international work and consulting; he concentrates now on advising related to evaluation, community health, and other areas. Recently, Dr. Conner completed a two-year term as a member of the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment, a part of CGIAR – a Global Agricultural Research Partnership, a consortium of 15 agriculture research centers around the globe focused on reducing poverty and hunger and on improving human health and nutrition. Dr. Conner’s professional activities have focused in the field of evaluation, both nationally and internationally. He is a past president of the American Evaluation Association and a long-time contributor to the association’s activities. From 2005 to 2007, he was the U.S. representative to the International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation, IOCE, the global evaluation professional association of national and regional societies. The other international IOCE representatives elected him to be the first official president of IOCE in 2006 and 2007. He continues to work with IOCE now as a Senior Adviser. Dr. Conner also is involved in international evaluation training and capacity building. In recent years, he led workshops in Russia, the UK, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, and for the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 2012, he co-led a workshop at the African Evaluation Association’s meeting in Accra, Ghana. In addition to increasing his international activities following his retirement, Dr. Conner has expanded and diversified the scope of his local community activities, serving as a volunteer mediator of citizen disputes.