Primary author: Olutope Omosegbon

Demonstration project

A demonstration project is a project funded by the U.S. federal government in order to test new technology or policies with the intention to demonstrate the feasibility of technology which may not find private funding (C-SPAN, 2010). More specifically, it is a test conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or with its supervision within specific legal requirements.

Specific legal requirements with regard to a demonstration project are as follows:

1) Tests are conducted by OPM or OPM-approved agency
2) There must be x ≤ 50,000 employees
3) OPM cannot operate x > 10 projects
4) Consultation and negotiation with affected employees and stakeholders is required.
5) Prior to implementation the agency must submit a formal project plan to OPM for approval.
6) The project must meet statutory notification requirements.
7) An independent evaluation of the project is required.

Directly related to public health in the United States, one current demonstration project, the Public Health Human Resources System (PHHRS) under the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)’s objective is “a new human resources pay-for-performance system for non-bargaining unit employees at FSIS that changes the way we compensate, recognize and reward employees” (PHHRS, 2010). It is attempt to follow the success of 18 similar demonstration projects that came before it in order to encourage positive results in a public health regulatory environment with a focus on food defense and food security (PHHRS, 2010).

As another example, the National Demonstration Project (NPD) carried out by the TransforMED, a group of patient-centered primary care physicians. Launched in 2006, it sought to determine if a new, patient-centered approach to family medicine in different practices throughout the United States. Because of the successes of its project, a webinar focused on ways to improve the outcomes of individuals living with diabetes was held on the 24th of November.

Beyond the United States, the idea of demonstration projects has been found to occur. For example, in Brazil, a demonstration project is being carried out in order to help adolescents suffering from asthma. This program is administered through the World Health Organization’s Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Disease. In fact, this is the region of the world with the highest prevalence rate of asthma in adolescence at an astonishing 27.1%. In this population, family saw a decrease in asthma related costs from $711 US to $638 US (Demonstration project – Bahia (Brazil), 2010).

Bearing in mind concepts like the Transtheoretical Stage Model are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) AIDS Community Demonstration Projects. Plainly stated, individuals respond differently to intervention messages. Behavior change does not occur in a predictable pattern. Because of that, this model allows for the flexibility of molding an intervention around an individual’s behavior as opposed to molding an individual’s behavior around a model (Transtheoretical Stage Model, 2007).

Future demonstration projects are proposed for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration to name just a few federal agencies. Beyond these two entities, demonstration projects allow for support and flexibility for individuals or groups that have narrow and focused visions, missions, plans and outcomes. They provide a “structure for testing and introducing beneficial change in a governmentwide personnel management system” with assistance and guidance (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2000).


C-SPAN Congressional Glossary. Accessed from 13 November 2010.

Demonstration project – Bahia (Brazil) (2010) Accessed from on 12 December 2010.

National Demonstration Project (2010). Accessed from on 12 December 2010.

Public Health Human Resources System Demonstration Project (2010). Accessed from 13 November 2010.

Transtheoretical Stage Model Accessed (2007). Accessed from on 12 December 2010.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (2000). Demonstration Projects Handbook: Beyond Current Flexibilities. Accessed from 13 November 2010.