A Community Planning Process for the Implementation of Evidence-Based Practice

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evidence-based practice, diffusion research, technology transfer, substance abuse treatment

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Over the past 10 years, increasing attention has been paid to the development and implementation of ‘evidence-based’ practices or EBPs. In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine began drawing attention to the discrepancy between research findings and practice patterns in the treatment of substance abuse. The community coalition described in this study was developed to create a partnership between substance abuse treatment providers, policy makers, university-based researchers, and consumers to examine treatment advances and evaluate their possible application in local community settings.

In the first year the community coalition conducted a needs assessment, with the goal of prioritizing areas for practice change. The needs assessment process included focus groups, key informant interviews, and a survey of substance abuse treatment providers. The questions addressed at each stage of the assessment varied, but collectively all methods formed the basis for consensus-building for a change in practice in substance abuse treatment. The results of the needs assessment were further refined and influenced the development and implementation of two evidence-based practices (EBPs) within multiple agencies. Implications for using a community needs assessment to highlight coalition building and identify and adopting EBPs are discussed.

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Evaluation and Program Planning, v. 34, issue 1, p. 39-36