Adapting a Compilation of Implementation Strategies to Advance School-Based Implementation Research and Practice

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Prevention Science


Schools, like other service sectors, are confronted with an implementation gap, with the slow adoption and uneven implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP) as part of routine service delivery, undermining efforts to promote better youth behavioral health outcomes. Implementation researchers have undertaken systematic efforts to publish taxonomies of implementation strategies (i.e., methods or techniques that are used to facilitate the uptake, use, and sustainment of EBP), such as the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) Project. The 73-strategy ERIC compilation was developed in the context of healthcare and largely informed by research and practice experts who operate in that service sector. Thus, the comprehensibility, contextual appropriateness, and utility of the existing compilation to other service sectors, such as the educational setting, remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to initiate the School Implementation Strategies, Translating ERIC Resources (SISTER) Project to iteratively adapt the ERIC compilation to the educational sector. The results of a seven-step adaptation process resulted in 75 school-adapted strategies. Surface-level changes were made to the majority of the original ERIC strategies (52 out of 73), while five of the strategies required deeper modifications for adaptation to the school context. Six strategies were deleted and seven new strategies were added based on existing school-based research. The implications of this study’s findings for prevention scientists engaged in implementation research (e.g., creating a common nomenclature for implementation strategies) and limitations are discussed.

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