Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

16739 Predicting Coordinated Agency-University Partnerships to Promote Evidence-Based Practice and Empirically Supported Interventions:

Saturday, January 14, 2012: 8:00 AM
Roosevelt (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Traci L. Wike, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Sarah E. Bledsoe, PhD, MSW, MPhil, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Jennifer L. Bellamy, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Erna Dinata, PhD, Researcher, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Candace Killian, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Karla Rosenberg, BA, Research Assistant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background and Purpose: Evidence-based practice (EBP) and empirically supported interventions (ESI) hold valuable potential for improving social work practice by making knowledge about research and best practices more accessible, timely, and informative for practitioners and clients. Partnerships between schools of social work and community agencies to promote EBP/ESI offer a promising strategy for increasing the implementation of EBP/ESI. Although partnerships between schools and agencies to support EBP have been implemented (McCracken & Corrigan, 2004; Bellamy, & Bledsoe, Mullen et al, 2008), little is known about these efforts. Moreover, Proctor (2004) and other EBP scholars have called for coordinated efforts to increase the uptake of EBP and ESI in social work practice. This paper presents results from a national survey of schools of social work about schools' efforts in partnering with agencies to promote EBP/ESI. Findings include the frequency and types of agency/university EBP/ESI partnerships with a specific focus on factors associated with coordinated partnership efforts.

Methods: Deans and directors of all CSWE-accredited schools received email invitations, along with a link and password for the survey website, to participate in a web-based survey (N=196; response rate >70%). The survey had 5 domains: 1) program and respondent information; 2) current and planned EBP partnership activities; 3) obstacles to EBP partnership activities; 4) advantages of EBP partnership activities; 5) promoters of EBP partnership activities. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multiple logistic regression.

Results: Fifty-two percent of schools endorsed school-wide coordinated EBP partnership efforts, and 48% endorsed school-wide coordinated ESI partnership efforts. Presence of a doctoral program was the strongest significant predictor of schools endorsing a coordinated EBP or ESI partnership effort. Schools that endorsed the barriers “Advancing EBP/ESI in agencies is not a priority.” or “No EBP/ESI champions in the program.” were significantly less likely to have coordinated EBP partnership efforts. Schools indicating “Faculty lacks expertise in EBP/ESI.” were significantly less likely to have coordinated ESI partnership efforts. Results showed a positive correlation between the size of a school's programs and endorsement of a coordinated EBP and/or ESI partnership effort. Multiple logistic regression models including variables that significantly predicted coordinated EBP partnership efforts were significant (p<.01) but only accounted for 10% of the variance. Identical results were found for coordinated ESI partnership efforts.

Conclusion and Implications: Approximately half of existing schools endorsed engaging in coordinated EBP and ESI partnerships with agencies. Having a doctoral program was strongly correlated with school wide efforts to promote EBP and ESI through university-agency partnerships, and schools with larger PhD and MSW programs were more likely to endorse these efforts. Larger schools and those with doctoral programs may also experience increased access to resources critical for supporting school-wide EBP/ESI-related efforts. However, 90% of the variance in multiple logistic models remains unaccounted for. While the barriers endorsed provide some insight into why schools might not have coordinated efforts, additional research is needed to fully understand the barriers and promoters of coordinated efforts by schools of social work to partner with agencies to promote the uptake of EBP/ESI.

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