Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Friday, January 18, 2008: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
Palladian Ballroom (Omni Shoreham)
[OTH] Putting Evidence into Practice: Mobilizing University-Community Partnerships
Speakers/Presenters:Susan B. Stern, PhD, University of Toronto
Cheryl Regehr, PhD, University of Toronto
Faye Mishna, PhD, University of Toronto
Aron Shlonsky, PhD, University of Toronto
Michael Saini, PhD, University of Toronto
Eileen Gambrill, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Thyer, PhD, Florida State University
Abstract Text:
The gap between existing evidence and its use in practice and policy has long been a part of social work's academic discourse and has become even more salient with the inception of Evidence-based Practice (EBP). Academic discussions and scholarly publications involving EBP have mushroomed over the last few years, yet there remains a gap between the academic discourse and how social workers actually make decisions in practice. Our experience is that, rather than dictate how the community should utilize evidence, successful adoption of knowledge requires community involvement in both the generation of knowledge and its application.

In this roundtable, we will present three interlinked initiatives to move EBP forward through university-community partnerships in research, curriculum development and teaching, and evidence synthesis. We will share our conceptualization, development, progress, challenges, successes, failures, and next steps. Presentations will be brief with the intent of stimulating discussion and interaction to grapple with some of the issues raised and challenges we commonly face. Because we believe that innovative partnership models are essential to the success of bridging the research-practice gap, we will particularly highlight the processes involved in our initiatives. True to our collaborative ideals, our goal is to invite dialogue through audience participation and comments by leading EBP scholars, hopefully generating new ideas and strategies that are relevant for all universities attempting to incorporate EBP.

Two presenters will describe the aims, challenges and successes in the process of developing a university-based Institute for Evidence-Based Social Work with the goal of combining the research strength of the university with the professional expertise of a wide network of local and national community agencies. We will discuss current initiatives and collaborations to disseminate evidence broadly in order to effect social policy revisions and the development of effective practices.

Next, two presenters will highlight the community collaborative process in the development and ongoing delivery of an Ecological and Evidence-Based Curriculum using a Children and Their Families specialization as an illustration. The initial development involved bringing together key agency executive directors as an advisory board and representative practitioners across children's sectors as a collaborative working committee. A key challenge was translating into an integrative evidence-based curriculum a faculty decision to eliminate the split between clinical and policy students. Additionally, we experienced the tension, as have others, between being responsive to the field and “front line” realities and a university's leadership role in knowledge exchange.

Lastly, two presenters will discuss Systematic Reviews and Rapid Evidence Assessments. Part of the Institute mandate is to amass, evaluate and disseminate research relevant to current priorities in the field that have been identified in collaboration with our community partners. To that end, we have hired a systematic review specialist and a review coordinator to engage faculty members in the production of systematic reviews of topics relevant to them and the communities involved in their research. We currently have six reviews underway, each with a different faculty member and associated community; three have been registered with the Campbell Collaboration.

See more of Roundtable

See more of Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)