This inaugural event was co-hosted by the Jordan Institute for Families | UNC School of Social Work, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and National Implementation Research Network (NIRN). Generous support for this event was provided by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Additional support was generously offered by the UNC School of Education, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharamcy.
Background / Need
Social workers and public health professionals interested in facilitating and understanding change processes note that implementation strategies have unparalleled importance in improving population outcomes, as they constitute the ‘how to’ component (Proctor, Powell, & McMillen, 2013) of changing practices and optimizing the use of evidence to benefit people and communities (Kainz & Metz, 2017). As the field of implementation science has grown significantly over the last decade with the proliferation of frameworks, models, and theories, there is mounting interest in building the capacity of professionals in social services and public health to make use of this emerging science to support sustainable practice and systems improvements.
This interest has led to an intensifying conversation regarding the need to train researchers and practitioners in implementation science (Padek et al., 2015). Specifically, the shortage of individuals trained in the practice of implementation has been cited as a reason for our failure to optimize the use of evidence to improve population outcomes (Straus et al., 2011.) In response to this gap, more is being studied and written about the specific competencies needed to facilitate change in complex systems (Bornbaum, Kornas, Peirson, & Rosella, 2015; Berta, et al., 2015). Moreover, the Grand Challenges Initiative developed by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (Sherradon et al., 2015) explicates a set of pressing social issues, around which social work researchers and practitioners can unite. The highlighted challenges are complex, and will require the cultivation of implementation competencies among the researchers and practitioners who are positioned to address them.
This new two-day Summer Institute seeks to provide foundational knowledge of implementation science and to build professional and graduate students’ knowledge, skills, and strategies for supporting change using implementation best practices. Through interdisciplinary professional development and seminar series, this Summer Institute orients participants to the skills and competencies of implementation practice and fosters the development of foundational skills needed to support the use of evidence in practice and to promote equity.
The Summer Institute aims to seed the growth of implementation science practitioners who will be able to:
- Identify and characterize problems that can be addressed through more effective implementation.
- Support authentic engagement of communities and stakeholders in all stages of the implementation process resulting in programs and practices that are contextualized, tailored to settings to improve outcomes, and promotive of equity.
- Integrate use of quantitative and qualitative feedback at each stage of implementation to optimize performance of programs and practices in local contexts and at scale.
- Support the sustainability of interventions and approaches by developing a shared vision, building capacity, and supporting collaboration.
A unifying element of the institute is the promotion and cultivation of Skills and Competencies for Implementation Practitioners, namely: Co-Creation, in the form of co-learning, brokering, addressing power differentials, co-design, and tailored support; Continuous Improvement, in the form of assessing need and context, applying and integrating implementation science approaches, and conducting improvement cycles; and Sustaining Change, in the form of growing and sustaining relationships, building capacity, cultivating leadership, and facilitation.
*For additional media related to implementation, tune in to the National Implementation Research Network podcast!
Below is the 2018 Summer Institute agenda, with related materials available for download or viewing. The full program is available here.
2018 Summer Institute Agenda
- Summer Institute Day 1: Foundational Knowledge (June, 13, 2018)
- 8:30 – 9:15 – Welcome & Opening Remarks – Why Implementation is Important (Sarah Verbiest, Allison Metz, Bob Blouin, Gary Bowen, & Aysenil Belger; Video)
- 9:15 – 10:45 – Plenary: Defining Implementation Science and Understanding Implementation Science in Practice (Byron Powell & Allison Metz)
- 11:00 – 12:00 – Group Breakout: Facilitated Reflection and Discussion
- 12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch
- 1:00 – 1:45 – Plenary: Asessing Need and Context (Laura Louison, Oscar Fleming, & Paul Lanier)
- 2:00 – 3:30 – Group Breakout
- Breakout A: A Deeper Dive on Assessing Contextual Fit (Laura Louison, Allison Metz, Paul Lanier, & Audrey Loper)
- Breakout B: Usability of Program and Practices (Leah Bartley & Tonya Van Deinse)
- Breakout C: Organizational Readiness (Ginny Strand & Jen Schroeder)
- 3:45 – 4:45 – Closing Plenary – Implementation Science: Opportunities for Bridging Practice and Research to Improve Outcomes (Allison Metz)
- 5:00 – 6:30 – Reception & Networking
- Summer Institute Day 2: Practice Skills (June 14, 2018)
- 8:30 – 9:15 – Reflections (Sarah Verbeist; Video); Opening Plenary – Case Example: Implementation Opportunities in Public System (Allison Blake)
- 9:30 – 10:15 – Plenary: Engaging Stakeholders in Framing and Solving Problems (Gina Chowa & Rain Masa)
- 10:30 – 12:00 – Group Breakout (Pick 1)
- 12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch
- 1:00 – 1:45 – Plenary: Using Data for Continuous Improvement and Evaluation (Kirsten Kainz)
- 2:00 – 3:30 – Group Breakout (Pick 1)
- 3:45 – 4:45 – Closing Plenary – How Can Implementation Science Be Used to Promote Equity and Social Justice (Paul Elam); Closing Remarks (Sarah Verbiest & Allison Metz; Video)