Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Sunday, January 20, 2008: 8:45 AM-10:15 AM
Blue Room (Omni Shoreham)
[OTH] Effective Practice in Real World Settings: The Need to Expand Social Work Translational Research
Speakers/Presenters:John S. Brekke, PhD, University of Southern California
Lawrence Palinkas, PhD, University of Southern California
Kathleen Ell, DSW, University of Southern California
Jerry P. Flanzer, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Karen L. Parker, MSW, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Frances Ruth Nedjat-Haiem, MSW, University of Southern California
Abstract Text:
Social work practice must navigate our current era of rapid and dramatic change in human services that might be described as a very large, somewhat incoherent, national experiment with a laundry list of specific and sometimes competing aims, research questions and hypotheses, using an array of structured, pseudo structured and unstructured research designs. Practice guidelines and now routine quality of care/services, outcome assessments, and cost analyses are increasingly grounded in biopsychosocial evidence and clinical effectiveness trials, while new research methods and practice technologies are aimed at improving service outcomes, information transfer, and consumer/provider communication. Cost monitoring and cost reduction goals and service delivery decision-making increasingly are influenced by scientific evidence. Professional organizations and government have developed a wide array of specific practice guidelines that are available through the internet. Translational research such as testing of methods to improve implementation of these guidelines in real world practice is growing. Yet social work practitioners are left with the daunting task of evaluating a growing volume of guidelines and decisions about whether and how to adapt evidence in real world practice and with diverse populations. The term translational research and the concept of translating research are different and have unique meaning across disciplines and research communities. Research funders, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have become increasingly interested in the impact of research on practice. Translational research attempts to improve the gaps between science and practice through clinical research, training and mentoring programs; interdisciplinary approaches to extend this knowledge and opportunities for implementation science are important to the field of social work. This round table discussion will explore translational research and will aim to identify key characteristics in conducting translational research relevant to social work practice. Included will be a focus on: (1) varying definitions and methods that characterize translating research for practice; (2) how these methods can be applied in research on social work practice; (3) the importance of understanding that translational research is commonly interdisciplinary; and (4) how the focus on complex assessments of outcomes and cost will shape the future of social work practice, research and education. This round table will provide delegates with an opportunity to participate in active dialogue surrounding the issues of research translation and the importance of disseminating research findings to colleagues working in all contexts and across all social work practice areas. Concrete examples of programs in both translational research and research translation will be highlighted. A summary of this round table will be prepared and provided to participants.

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