Putting Implementation Science into Practice: Lessons from the Creation of the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center
Purpose This article describes how implementation science informed the design of a national training and technical assistance (TA) center, and how implementation best practices have been used to improve the quality of training and technical assistance services offered to states/jurisdictions. Description An existing tool, based on the Implementation Drivers Framework (in: Fixsen et al., Implementation research: a synthesis of the literature, University of South Florida, The National Implementation Research Network, Tampa, 2005), was adapted to assess efforts of the National MCH Workforce Development Center (the Center) against known implementation best practices. Staff identified specific examples of effective practice and gaps for inclusion in this article. Assessment Using implementation science to establish, assess and improve Center practice was both feasible and practical, requiring intentionality, dedicated time, and staff committed to deepening their understanding of implementation science. The Implementation Drivers framework proved useful for creating a shared approach to analysis and identification of opportunities for improvement of Center practice. Conclusion Policymakers and funding agencies should consider how training and technical assistance programs demonstrate knowledge and use of implementation science best practices among other evidence based practices in their work. Increasing attention to the use of implementation science can contribute to a higher quality of service among technical assistance centers, with the long term goal of improving outcomes for training and assistance recipients and the communities they serve. Establishing the link between customer satisfaction and quality of technical assistance, on the one hand, and long term outcomes, on the other, remains a challenge and an area of focus and learning for the Center.
KeywordsImplementation science Workforce development Maternal and child health Title V workforce
The National MCH Workforce Development Center is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Grant Number UE7MC26282 for $1,740,000 with no support from nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. government. We thank Michelle Tissue, the project officer, for her thoughtful guidance and contributions to the Center.
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