Commentary on “Researcher readiness for participating in community-engaged dissemination and implementation research: a conceptual framework of core competencies”

May 4,2017 | Allyson Varley Featured Articles

Commentary: Shea et al.’s “Researcher readiness for participating in community-engaged dissemination and implementation research: a conceptual framework of core competencies”1 advances the field by creating a framework for community-engaged dissemination and implementation (CEDI), which will allow researchers to assess their readiness to conduct this type of research. Members of a CTSA group, with expertise in both community engagement (CE) and dissemination and implementation (DI) research, developed the framework by compiling a list of CE principles and then modifying the list based on recommendations from the experts and community stakeholders. This approach resulted in a framework that consists of 40 competencies grouped into the following nine domains: perceived value of community engagement in dissemination and implementation research, introspection and openness, knowledge of community characteristics, appreciation for stakeholder’s experience with and attitudes toward research, preparing the partnership for collaborative decision making, collaborative planning for the research design and goals, communication effectiveness, equitable distribution of resources and credit, and sustaining the partnership. These domains outline the ideal attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of a researcher who is ready to initiate/conduct CEDI research.

How to train the next generation of implementation researchers is a prominent challenge highlighted in recent DI publications.2-7 As the authors mention, engagement of community partners is a necessity in DI research. Building strong, sustainable partnerships with stakeholders is not only a requirement in recent funding announcements but crucial to enhancing the quality and success of DI efforts. As training programs in DI research emerge, the CEDI framework is a useful tool to ensure students gain the necessary knowledge and skills for successful future community and stakeholder engagement. The domains outlined by the framework have the potential to guide the development of training materials and courses for those planning to do this type of research. The authors also propose a future assessment tool to measure readiness for CEDI, which fills a gap in current DI measurements. Such an assessment has the potential to act as both a needs assessment and an evaluation tool for training programs aimed to prepare researchers for CEDI projects. While, as noted by the authors, further validation of the framework is necessary, it provides a much-needed roadmap for assessing researchers’ readiness to engage in CEDI.

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1Shea CM, Young TL, Powell BJ, et al. Researcher readiness for participating in community-engaged dissemination and implementation research: a conceptual framework of core competencies. Transl Behav Med. 2017.

2Padek M, Brownson R, Proctor E, et al. Developing dissemination and implementation competencies for training programs. Implementation Science. 2015;10(S1).

3Tabak RG, Padek MM, Kerner JF, et al. Dissemination and Implementation Science Training Needs: Insights From Practitioners and Researchers. American journal of preventive medicine. 2017;52(3S3):S322-S329.

4Burton DL, Levin BL, Massey T, Baldwin J, Williamson H. Innovative Graduate Research Education for Advancement of Implementation Science in Adolescent Behavioral Health. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2016;43(2):172-186.

5Morrato EH, Rabin B, Proctor J, et al. Bringing it home: expanding the local reach of dissemination and implementation training via a university-based workshop. Implementation science : IS. 2015;10:94.

6Stamatakis KA, Norton WE, Stirman SW, Melvin C, Brownson RC. Developing the next generation of dissemination and implementation researchers: insights from initial trainees. Implementation science : IS. 2013;8:29.

7Norton WE. Advancing the science and practice of dissemination and implementation in health: a novel course for public health students and academic researchers. Public Health Rep. 2014;129(6):536-542.