Dr. Robin Lin Miller Receives American Evaluation Association’s 2023 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award

November 1, 2023 - Shelly DeJong

Dr. Robin Lin Miller stands with nine other AEA awardees on the stage.

Congratulations to Dr. Robin Lin Miller, a professor of psychology and a program evaluation specialist at Michigan State University, for receiving the 2023 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award from the American Evaluation Association (AEA).  

This prestigious award is presented to an evaluation practitioner who has made substantial cumulative contributions to a specific area of evaluation practice and whose contributions to the field have been influential, substantial, and sustained over time.  

“I am grateful for this award because it recognizes the challenges and moral imperatives of the engaged and inclusive approaches to evaluation that I so deeply believe in,” said Dr. Miller. “I have long believed in the need for a global evaluation agenda that is relevant and responsive to communities most affected by HIV, and which prioritizes studying community-led initiatives using inquiry practices that meaningfully engage communities from start to finish. The importance of generating local practice-based knowledge under the fraught circumstances in which so many of my colleagues operate, especially those working in settings that criminalize same-sex sexual relationships, is imperative to our ultimate success in ending the HIV epidemic and addressing the stigma that drives it.”  

The AEA recognized Dr. Miller’s accomplishments in LGBTQ+ evaluation, as well as her work developing and expanding culturally responsive evaluation approaches, and her support of young LGBTQ+ and culturally responsive evaluation scholars. For over 35 years, Dr. Miller has had a foundational impact on developing and articulating what is now known as LGBTQ+ evaluation.  

Dr. Miller’s career began in the 1980s at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. She established and led the first evaluation unit in a sexual and gender minority community-led organization in the world. Since then, her evaluation practice has focused on LGBTQ+ community-led and initiated HIV prevention programs, access to HIV prevention and care for populations at high risk of HIV exposure, and human rights advocacy. 

Dr. Robin Lin Miller smiles at the camera for a professional headshot.According to Dr. Stewart Donaldson, a Distinguished University Professor from Claremont Graduate University and Executive Director of the Claremont Evaluation Center and the Evaluator’s Institute, her impact on the field has been innumerable. “Dr. Miller has established herself as one of a very small number of practitioners actively laying the base for LGBTQ+ practice in its modern form by exploring its intersections with culturally responsive and transformative approaches in her own evaluations and scholarly reflections on practice.”  

Former recipient of the award, Michael Quinn Patton, the founder and director of Utilization-Focused Evaluation, notes her unique ability to establish trust, mutual respect, and collaboration with the LGBTQ+ community, observing her "integrity, openness, authenticity, genuineness, and personal vulnerability have made her an insider from the perspective of the LGBTQ+ community. This allows her to exercise astute professional integrity that supports rigorous data collection that serves the long-term interest of the LGBTQ+ community by exposing the realities and challenges of the community.” 

Dr. Miller’s community collaboration, her unceasing advocacy, and her contribution to the field of LGBTQ+ focused evaluation was recognized at the 2023 AEA conference held earlier in October. Learn more about Dr. Miller’s research here