Issue No. 16




Leadership Letter: 

The Importance of Dissemination Readiness  
 
Did you know that Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development lists dissemination readiness as one of four formal requirements for meeting its standard of evidence? This means that, before an intervention is listed as Blueprints-certified, we verify that there is a clear description of its activities and explicit implementation materials or procedures. Blueprints’ other standards are intervention specificity, evaluation quality, and intervention impact; the dissemination readiness dimension is evaluated only for interventions that satisfy these first three requirements.
 
According to Blueprints’ dissemination readiness criteria, well-evaluated interventions must have materials or instructions that specify the intervention content and guide the implementation of the intervention, such as manuals, training, and technical assistance, and (where available) specify costs associated with implementation (such as those for start-up, implementation, and support) and staff resources (for example, staff qualifications and time commitments) needed to deliver the intervention with fidelity.
 
Thus, interventions that meet the Blueprints standard of evidence must be available for use.
 
Blueprints certifies programs that meet all four of its standards (intervention specificity, evaluation quality, intervention impact, and dissemination readiness) as Model/Model Plus or Promising.
 
We recently conducted a study to determine whether online clearinghouses rate and provide information about the degree to which well-evaluated programs can be well-implemented. Our goal was to fill a knowledge gap by examining if and how the dissemination readiness of evidence-based interventions has been defined, evaluated, and communicated to potential users. To do so, we compared 11 different U.S.-based online private and federally funded clearinghouses on (1) the degree to which they use dissemination readiness as a criterion for inclusion/exclusion of evidence-based interventions, and (2) the extent of information and support they provide about dissemination readiness to facilitate real-world implementation.
 
We found wide variability, with few having standards about dissemination readiness or making information about implementation of evidence-based interventions easily accessible to users. Across the 11 clearinghouses we examined, only Blueprints has both a requirement for dissemination readiness and provides relatively complete information relevant to dissemination readiness.
 
Our findings indicate the need for online clearinghouses to (1) do more to assess dissemination readiness and (2) offer more complete information on dissemination readiness and implementation support to users. Doing so, however, requires a commitment from funders (who have finite resources) to invest in the dissemination readiness of evidence-based interventions. That is, funding is needed for developers to provide robust dissemination materials and time is needed for clearinghouse staff to collect this information. We therefore want to recognize the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which provided funding to Blueprints to develop the tools we currently use to gather information on dissemination readiness and historically paid contractors to collect this information as part of its Evidence2Success initiative.
 

Why Conduct this Study?
 
This is important work to share because we want to convey to users our process for listing on our website interventions rated as Model/Model Plus or Promising. If an intervention does not meet most or any of Blueprints dissemination readiness criteria but has a high-quality design, that intervention will receive a “not dissemination ready” rating – meaning it has met criteria for evaluation quality (as determined by the Blueprints Advisory Board) but has not yet met the dissemination readiness criteria. This could be one reason why certain interventions are identified with an effective rating on other clearinghouses but not listed as a Blueprints-certified intervention on our website.
 
If you are interested in reading more, the full study was published in Evaluation Review, a peer-reviewed academic journal that aims to advance the practice of evaluation and to publish the results of high-quality evaluations. The abstract and full text have been published as an open-access article and can be accessed through the publications page of the Blueprints website as well as on PubMed.gov.
 

Recognizing These Challenging Times 
 
In closing, we cannot ignore that many communities, families, and individuals continue to struggle. With a global pandemic, protests and riots in parts of the United States and world, divisive elections, online learning and remote work, and – for some parts of the US – extreme weather conditions, this past year will go down as one of the most devastating in modern history. As we all continue to cope with and adapt to these realities, Blueprints will persist in working on our mission of promoting effective preventive interventions and helping governmental agencies, foundations, and practitioners use strong evidence to make informed decisions when identifying interventions that provide a high probability of success when taken to scale in communities. It is this commitment that helps us persevere through these challenging times. We thank each one of you for your part in our community and for your involvement in this important effort.
 
Sincerely,


Pamela Buckley, PhD
Director and Co-Principal Investigator
Blueprints Initiative
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Pamela.Buckley@Colorado.edu


Karl G. Hill, PhD
Principal Investigator
Blueprints Initiative
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Karl.Hill@Colorado.edu

Reference: Buckley, P. R., Fagan, A., Pampel, F. & Hill, K. (2020). Making evidence-based interventions relevant for users: A comparison of requirements for dissemination readiness across program registries. Evaluation Review, 44(1), 51-83. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193841X20933776

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder, Institute of Behavioral Science, with current funding from Arnold Ventures and former funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Each intervention included in the Blueprints database has been reviewed carefully by an independent advisory panel that looked at research on the intervention’s impact, practical focus and potential for implementation in public systems.

Featured Model Plus Program
GenerationPMTO

Blueprints Certified: 2020 (Moved from Model to Model Plus)

Ages Served: Early Childhood (3-4) – Preschool, Late Childhood (5-11) – K/Elementary, Early Adolescence (12-14) – Middle School, Late Adolescence (15-18) – High School 

Program Outcomes: Antisocial-aggressive Behavior, Conduct Problems, Delinquency and Criminal Behavior, Emotion Regulation, Externalizing, Internalizing, Positive Social/Prosocial Behavior.  
 

A family training program that aims to teach effective family management skills in order to reduce antisocial and problematic behavior in children through trainings implemented in a variety of formats and settings.

Learn more > >

Featured Promising Program
Bounce Back

Blueprints Certified: 2020

Ages Served: Late Childhood (5-11) – K/Elementary

Program Outcomes: Anxiety, Emotional Regulation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
 

Bounce Back is a school- and group-based program designed to improve symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety among children with posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Learn more > >

Blueprints Interventions in the News
In case you have missed them, here are a few newspaper articles and web postings that feature activities of some Blueprints-certified interventions: 
  • Child First (a Blueprints promising program) is a home visitation program that works to heal and protect young children and their families from the devastating effects of chronic stress and trauma. With a $700,000 grant awarded in 2018, The Duke Endowment is supporting a randomized controlled trial of Child First in eastern North Carolina. Arnold Ventures is providing funding to study Child First in Connecticut. MDRC is conducting research in both states and Meghan McCormick (an MDRC research associate) explains more about evaluating Child First and about finding a silver lining in COVID-19. Go here to read the full interview.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) is a Blueprints promising program that matches an adult volunteer mentor with an at-risk child or adolescent to delay or reduce antisocial behaviors and improve academic success. Emily Johnson, CEO of BBBS of Southwest Idaho, says their chapter is matching kids with adult mentors based on compatibility. Go here to learn more about the procedures BBBS of Southwest Idaho is following to help mentors and mentees interact while ensuring the safe continuity of programming during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Communities That Care (CTC) chapter of West Chester (a township in Pennsylvania) is providing resources for parents to help them deal with the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. CTC (a Blueprints promising program) is a prevention system designed to reduce levels of adolescent delinquency and substance use through the selection and use of effective preventative interventions. The CTC chapter of West Chester has dedicated its 2021 Parent Speaker series to the topic of emotional health to keep parents connected, and to offer concrete solutions concerning today’s parenting challenges. To learn more about the speaker series and the efforts being made by the West Chester CTC chapter, go here.
  • The Pace Center for Girls in Alachua (a county in Florida) recently received a $5,000 Golden Grant award from the North Florida McDonald’s Operators Association. Pace Center for Girls (a Blueprints Promising program) is a set of gender-responsive prevention and early intervention programs for girls with multiple risk factors for juvenile justice system involvement, which uses a holistic approach to re-engage girls with learning, improve academic performance, and address underlying trauma. Natalya Bannister, the executive director for Pace Center for Girls Alachua, says the program was vulnerable due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the funds will go towards supporting their reading initiatives. Go here to learn more.

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Our mailing address is:
University of Colorado Boulder | Institute of Behavioral Science
483 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309