Since the 1970s, the federal government has spearheaded major national education programs to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in the United States. These prevention and disease management programs communicate critical information to the public, those affected by the disease, and health care providers. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), the leading federal program on diabetes sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), uses primary and secondary quantitative data and qualitative audience research to guide program planning and evaluation. Since 2006, the NDEP has filled the gaps in existing quantitative data sources by conducting its own population-based survey, the NDEP National Diabetes Survey (NNDS). The NNDS is conducted every 2–3 years and tracks changes in knowledge, attitudes and practice indicators in key target audiences. This article describes how the NDEP has used the NNDS as a key component of its evaluation framework and how it applies the survey results for strategic planning and program improvement. The NDEP's use of the NNDS illustrates how a program evaluation framework that includes periodic population-based surveys can serve as an evaluation model for similar national health education programs.