Eight Expert Conversations on Building Equity Into Implementation

Posted October 10, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
An outdoorr scene featuring an older man of color laughing as he stands next to two younger men, both seated and smiling. One has a basketball in his hands.

How can prac­ti­tion­ers take equi­ty into con­sid­er­a­tion as they deliv­er pro­grams and inter­ven­tions for chil­dren, young peo­ple and fam­i­lies? How might they need to adapt those pro­grams to make them rel­e­vant and acces­si­ble to a par­tic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ty and make sure affect­ed par­tic­i­pants are at the deci­sion-mak­ing table? 

A new vir­tu­al series host­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion and the UNC School of Social Work cap­tured eight con­ver­sa­tions devot­ed to explor­ing answers to these ques­tions. The dis­cus­sions are tied to arti­cles in Bring­ing Equi­ty to Imple­men­ta­tion, a recent spe­cial sup­ple­ment to the Stan­ford Social Inno­va­tion Review that exam­ined crit­i­cal fac­tors and actions for advanc­ing equi­ty in implementation. 

What Is Imple­men­ta­tion Science?

Imple­men­ta­tion sci­ence is the study of fac­tors that influ­ence the effec­tive­ness of human ser­vice prac­tices, pro­grams and poli­cies. It is an evolv­ing field — one that bridges research evi­dence to the real-world set­tings of ser­vice deliv­ery — that ini­tial­ly focused on top­ics such as repli­cat­ing and scal­ing rig­or­ous­ly eval­u­at­ed evi­dence-based prac­tices. More recent­ly, lead­ers in imple­men­ta­tion sci­ence have exam­ined how to adapt evi­dence-based prac­tices to ensure that they are acces­si­ble and rel­e­vant to com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and to engage their res­i­dents in help­ing to define and apply evidence. 

Eight Con­ver­sa­tions About Equi­ty in Implementation

The con­ver­sa­tions, fea­tur­ing authors of the arti­cles in the sup­ple­ment, include:

Youth Lead­er­ship in Action

Leonard Bur­ton of the Cen­ter for the Study of Social Pol­i­cy and Elliot Hin­kle of Uni­corn Solu­tions LLC dis­cuss how young peo­ple helped shape an ini­tia­tive, Youth Thrive, that address­es the chal­lenges they faced in fos­ter care.

Com­mu­ni­ty-Defined Evi­dence as a Frame­work for Equi­table Implementation

Gilber­to Perez Jr. of Bien­venido Com­mu­ni­ty Solu­tions and Lin­da Calle­jas of the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Flori­da intro­duce the Bien­venido pro­gram, which engages Lati­no com­mu­ni­ties to bet­ter under­stand their men­tal health con­cerns and devel­op pro­gram­ming that bet­ter meets their needs.

Com­mu­ni­ty Takes the Wheel

Win­some Stone of the Rhode Island Depart­ment of Chil­dren Youth and Fam­i­lies and Matthew Billings of the Chil­dren and Youth Cab­i­net of Rhode Island talk about com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment in Evidence2Success™, a Casey Foun­da­tion frame­work that helps com­mu­ni­ties make smart invest­ments in evi­dence-based programs.

Trust the People

Blake Strode of ArchC­i­ty Defend­ers and Amy Mor­ris of Ampli­fy Fund dis­cuss how to shift deci­sion-mak­ing pow­er to peo­ple clos­est to the prob­lems that fun­ders are try­ing to solve.

Equi­ty in Imple­men­ta­tion Sci­ence is Long Overdue

Ana Bau­mann of the Brown School of Social Work at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis high­lights about the need for a sys­temic approach to advanc­ing equi­ty across the imple­men­ta­tion sci­ence field. 

Lis­ten­ing to Black Parents

William Jack­son, Dawn X. Hen­der­son and Denise Page of Vil­lage of Wis­dom and Black par­ent researcher Court­ney McLaugh­lin par­tic­i­pate in a pan­el dis­cus­sion devot­ed to Vil­lage of Wis­dom, an effort led by Black par­ents to devel­op class­rooms into wel­com­ing, equi­table learn­ing spaces. 

Faith-based Orga­ni­za­tions as Lead­ers of Implementation

Ruben Par­ra-Car­dona of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin and Ofe­lia Zap­a­ta of Austin’s San José Catholic Church par­tic­i­pate in a pan­el dis­cus­sion that explores the role that faith-based orga­ni­za­tions can play in imple­ment­ing pro­grams with­in immi­grant communities. 

Com­mu­ni­ty-Dri­ven Solu­tions to Address Hyper­ten­sion on Chicago’s South Side

Paris Davis of Total Resource Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment Orga­ni­za­tion and JD Smith of the Fein­berg School of Med­i­cine at North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty talk about lever­ag­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships involv­ing trust­ed orga­ni­za­tions and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to reduce mor­tal­i­ty in com­mu­ni­ties expe­ri­enc­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar health disparities.

More on the Imple­men­ta­tion Prac­tice Vir­tu­al Series

The event began with a ple­nary talk on imple­men­ta­tion approach­es to reduce health inequities fea­tur­ing Pra­jak­ta Adsul of the Depart­ment of Inter­nal Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co, April Oh of the Nation­al Can­cer Insti­tute and Rachel Shel­ton of the Mail­man School of Pub­lic Health at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty. Iheo­ma U. Iru­ka of the Frank Porter Gra­ham Child Devel­op­ment Insti­tute and the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy at UNC Chapel Hill deliv­ered clos­ing remarks.

Health inequities are not new,” said Shel­ton at the event. But I do think that this is an impor­tant time for us to reflect on not only nam­ing struc­tur­al racism but tak­ing action to address it.”

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