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Summer Institute on Implementation Science

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This event is 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 has been provided by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Due to an overwhelming amount of interest in this event, we have reached capacity for in-person registration. We have paused our registration form but will soon be reopening registration for a live-stream option, which will allow virtual participation in our Summer Institute plenary talks on June 11-12.

We have also launched a waitlist for individuals still interested in attending the Summer Institute in person.

Please revisit this page for updates, and feel free reach out to Todd Jensen at jensen@unc.edu with any questions. Thank you for your interest and patience!



*Details related to lodging, parking, and the agenda are provided further below.


Summer Institute on Implementation Science

Beginning the Conversation on Equity and Implementation Science


The second annual Summer Institute seeks to share methods and tools for integrating equity and inclusion in implementation science and practice.

Intended Participants

  • Social workers and public health professionals serving as agency leaders, directors, program managers, and program evaluators
  • Implementation researchers and practitioners


The Institute will support social workers and public health professionals to:

  • Identify strategies for equitable implementation of innovations and evidence-based and evidence-informed practices
  • Use evidence to promote improved and equitable outcomes for people and communities

The Institute will support implementation researchers and practitioners to:

  • Identify research questions that amplify an equity focus
  • Identify changes that are needed to the pedagogy, frameworks, and measures of implementation science to incorporate attention to equity
  • Use methods that increase stakeholder participation in implementation efforts

*For additional media related to implementation, tune in to the National Implementation Research Network podcast!


Advisory Group

Allison Blake, Chief Executive Officer, Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut

Brief Bio.


Brandy Dawson, Associate Director, Rural Forward NC

Brief Bio.


Paul Elam, Chief Strategy Officer, Michigan Public Health Institute

Brief Bio.

Angelique Kedem
, Senior Associate, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Brief Bio.


Ruben Parra-Cardona, Associate Professor, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin

Brief Bio.


Beadsie Woo, Senior Associate, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Brief Bio.

Summer Institute Planning Committee

Co-Chair: Allison Metz – Director of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), Senior Research Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute; Research Professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Co-Chair: Sarah Verbiest – Director of the Jordan Institute for Families, John A. Tate Early Career Scholars for Children in Need Professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Executive Director of the Center for Maternal and Infant Health

Member: Amanda Farley – Project Manager, National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute


Member: Todd Jensen – Research Associate, Jordan Institute for Families; Research Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


We are excited to welcome our outstanding Speakers:


Leopoldo J. Cabassa, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor and the Director of the NIMH T32 Training Program in Mental Health Services Research at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.  His research blends quantitative and qualitative methods, implementation science, intervention research and community engagement to examine health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities with serious mental illness (SMI; e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) and inform the development and implementation of interventions to reduce these health inequities. His work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the New York State Office of Mental Health.  He recently completed a career development award from the NIMH focusing on implementing health care interventions for Hispanics with SMI and is currently leading an R01 (also from NIMH)testing the effectiveness and examining the implementation of a peer-led healthy lifestyle intervention (Peer GLB) in supportive housing agencies serving diverse clients with SMI who are overweight or obese.Heteaches graduate level courses in research and evaluation methods, foundations of social work practice, implementation science, and social work with Latino populations. His is a fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research and a standing member of the Health Disparities and Equity Promotion study section of the National Institutes of Health.


Paul Elam, PhD serves as MPHI’s Chief Strategy Officer. He is responsible for aligning the priorities of MPHI with national interests as well as diversifying the Institute’s portfolio to address cutting edge issues that affect the health and well-being of our society. His past leadership includes mentoring and training professionals from historically underrepresented groups with evaluation expertise in the areas of child welfare and juvenile justice. His deep understanding of youth violence and prevention, crime and justice, and child maltreatment is nationally recognized. Dr. Elam brings a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic disproportionality and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably. Before joining MPHI, Dr. Elam was president of Public Policy Associates, Inc., where he worked closely with government, philanthropic, university, and nonprofit clients, providing strategic consultation to advance public policy decisions in ways that would improve lives, advance social justice and produce equitable outcomes. Dr. Elam earned a PhD in Family and Child Ecology, a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Urban Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, all from Michigan State University.


Byron J. Powell, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Byron’s research focuses on efforts to improve the quality of health, behavioral health, and social services. Specifically, his scholarship has focused on 1) identifying contextual barriers and facilitators to implementing evidence-based practices in routine care, 2) identifying and assessing the effectiveness of implementation strategies, 3) developing methods for tailoring implementation strategies to address determinants of effective implementation, and 4) advancing research methodology in implementation science. His work is currently supported by a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (K01MH113806).

Byron has received National Institutes of Health-funded fellowships from the Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (2015); Child, Intervention, Prevention, and Services Research Mentoring Network (2015-2016); Implementation Research Institute (2016-2018); and Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences (2018-2019). He serves on the editorial board of Implementation Science, and is Co-Chair of the Implementation Special Interest Group of the Society for Social Work and Research and the New Investigator Network of Expertise of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration.

In addition to his independent and collaborative research, Byron teaches courses on implementation research and practice, and provides methodological consultation related to implementation research through the Community Engagement Core (CARES) of the North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS) and the Social and Behavioral Research Core of UNC’s Center for AIDS Research. He is also a Core Faculty Member of the UNC-RTI Consortium for Implementation Science.


Laura Louison, MSW, MSPH is the Associate Director of Resource & Capacity Development and an Advanced Implementation Specialist with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill. In her current role, she works with state and local agencies to support the use of implementation science in their health and human services programs. Laura’s work focuses on building implementation capacity in complex and multi-sector systems, with a particular interest in rural and frontier communities.

Laura previously served as director of the North Carolina Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. There, she was responsible for the implementation of the federal MIECHV program and statewide implementation of Nurse Family Partnership in collaboration with public and private stakeholders. Laura is a public health social worker with over fifteen years of experience in implementation of maternal and child health programs and quality improvement with public and non-profit agencies.


Audrey Loper, MPH, MS has worked in public health for the past fifteen years, with a focus on maternal and child health, implementation of evidence-based programs, data use, and evaluation. She is currently an Implementation Specialist with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she provides technical assistance on implementation science best practices. Audrey previously served as the Evaluation Consultant for the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives and has worked as a childbirth educator and volunteer doula. She received her Master of Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill, and her Master of Science from the University of California, Davis.


Alexandra Citrin, Senior Associate, is an expert in child welfare policy and practice and its effect on communities of color, LGBTQ+ youth, and immigrant families. Citrin has been deeply involved in working with states and national partners to understand the complexities and requirements of the Family First Prevention Services Act and identifying opportunities within the bill to advance child welfare system reform efforts both as it relates to prevention services and the reduction of congregate care. Her policy expertise includes child welfare system and finance reform, health care and immigration – with a focus on using frontline practice-knowledge to inform equity-focused policymaking. Citrin’s system-reform work focuses on providing technical assistance to state and local child welfare systems through child welfare systems operating under federal consent decree and the Infant Toddler Court Team Program. Prior to joining CSSP, she was a family advocate at the Center for Family Representation, Inc. in New York, where she engaged in direct practice with parents and families involved in the child welfare system; Citrin was a Child Welfare Scholar at the University of Michigan where she earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Social Work and a master’s degree in public policy from the Ford School.


Katie Burke is a senior manager at the Centre for Effective Services (CES) in Dublin, where she oversees much of CES’s work to support policy makers in Ireland. CES is a non-profit intermediary organization in Ireland and Northern Ireland that works with agencies, government departments and service providers to improve the use of evidence in human/social services, and to support the implementation of services, programs and projects. Katie has a particular interest in implementation science and led CES’s work to establish the Implementation Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland, and collaborated with other European leaders to develop the European Implementation Collaborative. She is currently a board member of EIC. Katie and CES have collaborated with Trinity College Dublin on developing and delivering the foundation modules for the new Masters of Science in Implementation Science at Trinity College Dublin. Prior to joining CES in 2009, Katie was a management consultant in Ireland and France. She was a director of Prospectus Consultants, based in Dublin, where she provided strategic consultancy to government departments and agencies, and community and voluntary organisations across the health, social care and education sectors. Katie has a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Economics from University College Dublin.


Marilyn Ghezzi, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She received her MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1988. Marilyn currently teaches advanced clinical practice courses, including a course on Social Work with Groups. Prior to joining the full time faculty in 2008, Marilyn worked as a clinical social worker for over twenty years. In addition to teaching, Marilyn is co-investigator on a pilot study of Specialty Mental Health Probation in North Carolina. As part of her study responsibilities, Marilyn trains and consults with probation officers, helping them to better serve mentally ill and substance using probationers on their caseloads.



Judy Thomson is the Director of Training for Psychology Services at NHS Education for Scotland (NES). NES is responsible for the training of the healthcare disciplines for the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. The Psychology Directorate has two main functions: ensuring that the training of Psychologists for the NHS in Scotland meets service needs, and up-skilling the multi-professional workforce in psychological care. Judy also has corporate leadership responsibilities in mental health, learning disability and dementia, workforce development for multi-sector children and young peoples mental health services and suicide prevention. Judy is currently leading the Workforce Subgroup of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Force commissioned by Scottish Government with the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities. Judy trained as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Edinburgh and has over 30 years experience as a Clinical Psychologist working clinically within Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and Learning Disability Services. Judy has a long-standing commitment to early intervention and evidence based psychological interventions and in recent years has been interested in exploring the potential of ideas from implementation science to maximise the service impact of education and training.


Joanna Shoffner Scott, PhD is an experienced management consultant with deep DEI expertise. She is the founder and principal of Stamey Street Consulting Group, LLC, and is a Senior Consultant with the Race Matters Institute of JustPartners, Inc. Joanna consults with organizations across the country to advance racial equity as a mission-critical goal. She is a skilled trainer and facilitator. She has more than 15 years of experience in research, advocacy, government relations, and organizational management. Joanna is an experienced policy analyst in the areas of budget and tax policy, health, and nutrition, with an expertise on the intersection of race and equity in public systems. Joanna is a child advocate at heart. She is passionate about children’s issues and is deeply committed to disrupting structural racism in educational settings that serve young children. Joanna’s service to her community includes volunteering for a county feeding program for children. Joanna holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.


Paula Dressel, PhD is Vice President of JustPartners, Inc. and an original member of the Race Matters Institute, with which she has been training for over a decade. Her areas of interest around advancing racial equity include the impact of public policy, voter suppression and mass incarceration, and an explicit focus on white power and privilege. Prior to her work with JustPartners and the Race Matters Institute, she was Director of Planning, Research and Development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and before that, a faculty member and administrator at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is a widely published sociologist, with a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.


A special thanks to UNC-CH School of Social Work and FPG Child Development Institute Leadership for their support:


Gary Bowen, PhD is Dean and Kenan Distinguished Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Bowen currently co-directs the School Success Profile (SSP) project. The two student-level assessments that have emerged from this work — the School Success Profile and the Elementary School Success Profile — have been administered to nearly 100,000 students in nearly 2,000 schools and youth-serving agencies. The SSP or parts of the SSP have been translated into five languages: Spanish, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Romanian, and Portuguese. Dr. Bowen developed the School Success Profile Learning Organization (SSP-LO) instrument to assess schools’ organizational readiness for innovation. Dr. Bowen also has extensive experience working with all branches of the military services, and during the past 30 years, he has visited installations worldwide in the context of consulting with military policy makers, researchers, and practitioners across a range of mental health and social service issues. In 2017, Dr. Bowen was selected as an American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare Fellow for his distinguished accomplishment as a scholar and practitioner dedicated to achieving excellence in his work to advance social good.


Aysenil Belger, PhD is Director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Professor and Director of Neuroimaging Research in Psychiatry, and adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center. Dr. Belger is a cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on translational and interdisciplinary studies of brain circuits underlying attention, emotion and decision making, and how these circuits break down in neuropsychiatric and neuro-development disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Dr. Belger combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electrophysiological scalp recording (EEG), functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), experimental psychology and neuropsychological assessment techniques to understanding the development of the adolescent brain, and how nature/nurture interactions provide particular vulnerability to individuals who develop schizophrenia or autism. Her integrative research has most recently pioneered exploration of electrophysiological and functional abnormalities in young autistic children, as well as children, adolescents and adults at clinical and familial risk for psychosis. Dr. Belger is part of a large interdisciplinary team of investigators conducting multi-institutional studies exploring the impact of early childhood abuse and neglect on adult brain function, structure and substance abuse outcomes. Recent studies from Dr. Belger’s laboratory have demonstrated that parents of children with autism share phenotypic and neurobiological markers associated with aberrant social information processing. She eagerly mentors multiple undergraduate, graduate and medical students, as well postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty.


Summer Institute Agenda (subject to changes/updates)

Pre-Institute Workshops: Building Foundations in Implementation Science and Equity (June 10, 2019)

  • 9:00 – 12:30 – Morning Workshops
    • Foundations in Equity (Joanna Shoffner Scott and Paula Dressel, JustPartners, Inc.)
    • Foundations in Implementation Science: Frameworks for Supporting Implementation (Leah Bartley, Oscar Fleming, and Aisling Sheehan)
  • 12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch
  • 1:30 – 5:00 – Afternoon Workshops
    • Foundations in Equity (Joanna Shoffner Scott and Paula Dressel, JustPartners, Inc.)
    • Foundations in Implementation Practice: Competencies for Implementation Specialists (Allison Metz, Laura Louison, and Katie Burke)

Summer Institute Day 1: Beginning a Conversation on Equitable Implementation (June 11, 2019)

  • 8:30 – 9:00 – Welcome and Opening Remarks (Gary Bowen, Ayse Belger, Sarah Verbiest, and Allison Metz)
  • 9:00 – 9:45 – Plenary: Reframing Implementation Science to Address Healthcare Inequities (Leo Cabassa) 
  • 10:00 – 10:45 – Plenary: Skills and Competencies for Practicing Equitable Implementation (Katie Burke and Allison Metz)
  • 10:45 – 10:55 – Institute Overview: What comes next? (Sarah Verbiest)
  • 11:15 – 12:15 – Group Breakout: Beginning the Conversation on Implementation Science and Equity
  • 12:15 – 1:15 – Lunch
  • 1:15 – 3:00 – Group Breakout:
    • Breakout A: Understanding Group Dynamics to Improve Teamwork (Marilyn Ghezzi and Hayden Dawes)
    • Breakout B: Using Data to Promote Equitable Implementation: Decision-Making, Data, and Uncertainty in Complex Systems (Kirsten Kainz and Rohit Ramaswamy)
    • Breakout C: Assessing Fit and Feasibility for Implementation: A Country Wide Case Example (Allison Metz, Laura Louison, Judy Thomson and Marita Brack)
    • Breakout D: Interrogating “Community” and Equity in Implementation: Lessons Learned from the Community Defined Evidence Project (Linda Callejas)
  • 3:30 – 4:30 – Plenary: Implementation Science Using a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens (Paul Elam)
  • 5:00 – 6:30 – Reception and Networking

Summer Institute Day 2: Practicing Implementation Strategies to Advance Equity (June 12, 2019)

  • 8:30 – 8:45 – Reflections from Day 1 (Allison Metz and Sarah Verbiest)
  • 8:45 – 10:00 – Plenary: Implementation Strategies and Stakeholder Engagement
    • The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Stakeholder Engagement: Developing and Tailoring Implementation Strategies (Amber Haley and Byron Powell)
    • Stakeholder Engagement: Finding the Fit through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Lisa Saldana)
  • 10:30 – 12:00 – Group Breakout:
    • Breakout A: Is My Implementation Practice Culturally Responsive? (Paul Elam and Jen Schroeder)
    • Breakout B: Building Equitable Implementation Teams (Oscar Fleming and Angela Lewis)
    • Breakout C: Building Trust to Lead Implementation (Leah Bartley and Allison Metz)
    • Breakout D: When Less Really is More: Putting Data Visualization Best Practices to Work (Audrey Loper, Todd Jensen, and Jenille Morgan)
  • 12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch
  • 1:00 – 1:45 – Plenary: Advancing Equity through Policy Implementation: Seizing the Opportunity within the Family First Prevention Services Act (Alexandra Citrin)
  • 2:15 – 3:45 – Application Labs: What, So What, Now What?
  • 4:00 – 4:30 – Closing Remarks: Reflections on the Intersection of Implementation Science and Equity


Information About Lodging

If you require lodging, there will be a room block reserved for the evenings of June 9th, 10th and 11th at the Carolina Inn (https://www.carolinainn.com). To make a reservation under the room block, click this direct link HERE or enter group code 733040 when booking on the Carolina Inn website. The discounted rate for the room block is only available through April 30th. Rooms might be available after this date at regular pricing.

In addition to the Carolina Inn, here are some nearby hotels to consider:

  • The Franklin Hotel Chapel Hill
    • 311 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
    • *This hotel is a 0.6-mile walk away (about 13 min.) from the School of Social Work.
  • Aloft Chapel Hill
    • 1001 South Hamilton Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
    • *This hotel is a 15-minute bus ride away from the School of Social Work via the Chapel Hill Transit V and S lines (free).

Information About Parking

The most reliable place to park is in the UNC Hospital lot on Manning Drive. The parking fee is $1.50/ hour. The Carolina Inn next door on Pittsboro Street has space-available pay parking for a flat fee of $20/day. There are also numerous “park & ride” locations in Chapel Hill, with bus service to (or near) the School of Social Work.

Visit https://ssw.unc.edu/about/directions for more details.


June 10 @ 8:00 am
June 12 @ 5:00 pm
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UNC School of Social Work
Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building - 325 Pittsboro St #3550
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States
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