Going to Scale: Disseminating Empirically Supported Social Work Interventions

Friday, January 16, 2015: 10:00 AM-11:45 AM
Balconies M, Fourth Floor (New Orleans Marriott)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Daniel B. Herman, PhD, Hunter College, Gilbert Botvin, PhD, Cornell University, Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Hunter College, Mark W. Fraser, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, J. David Hawkins, PhD, University of Washington and James Mandiberg, PhD, Hunter College
The existence of abundant evidence to support the effectiveness of specific social work interventions does not necessarily lead to their broad uptake. Furthermore, when organizations do adopt such innovations, they typically need significant training and coaching in order to successfully implement the practice. This results in the need for intervention developers to attend more explicitly to the process of dissemination if they are to maximize the impact of their work.

This roundtable session brings together a group of seasoned intervention developers who have both carried out effectiveness research on specific models and who have promoted implementation of their models in the practice world. These efforts reflect diverse approaches, ranging from contracting with a professional organization to distribute program materials to establishing partnerships with existing training organizations and/or the use of a for-profit business whose goal is to promote model uptake by selling training and implementation support products. These approaches have met with varying degrees of success.         

Roundtable participants will summarize their dissemination experiences, focusing on what strategy was employed and why it was selected. They will then discuss the successes and challenges they encountered and how these experiences may have directed them toward different approaches. Finally, participants will join in a conversation with each other and members of the audience to consider the implications of these experiences for improving the dissemination and uptake of empirically support social work interventions and, from an innovation diffusion perspective, for informing implementation research. The roundtable will be of interest to researchers who develop and evaluate interventions as well as those whose primary interest lies in implementation and implementation research. 

Participants include the developers of the following empirically supported interventions: 

  • Critical Time Intervention is a time-limited care coordination model that reduces the risk of homelessness and other adverse outcomes in high-risk populations following institutional discharge and other periods of transition.
  • Communities That Care is a data-driven, outcome-focused community-led prevention system proven to reduce youth health and behavior problems community wide.

  • Family Connections is a multi-modal social work intervention that works with families in their homes to reduce risks related to child maltreatment and promotes protective factors to strengthen the capacity of families to meet the basic safety and well-being needs of their children.

  • Life Skills Training is a classroom-based substance abuse prevention program that reduces the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors.

  • Making Choices is a social development program designed to promote the social competence of elementary school children. It is intended to disrupt developmental trajectories leading from early aggressive behavior to peer rejection and, more distally, to conduct problems in adolescence.
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