Pursuing the Equitable Implementation of Effective Programs

Posted February 12, 2019
Group of young people giving each other a "high five."

Evi­dence-based pro­grams that improve the lives of res­i­dents in white neigh­bor­hoods don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly reap the same results in com­mu­ni­ties of color.

This dis­con­nect drew 21 researchers togeth­er in late 2018 to dis­cuss impor­tance of inte­grat­ing racial and eth­nic equi­ty and inclu­sion into imple­men­ta­tion sci­ence and prac­tice. The group — host­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, the William T. Grant Foun­da­tion and the Nation­al Imple­men­ta­tion Research Net­work (NIRN) — gave par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the role that a community’s cul­ture, his­to­ry, val­ues and needs play in a proven program’s success.

The meet­ing end­ed with researchers iden­ti­fy­ing what it will take to advance the equi­table imple­men­ta­tion of proven pro­grams for com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. This guid­ance includes:

Focus­ing on learn­ing from and with the com­mu­ni­ty. By immers­ing them­selves in the com­mu­ni­ty, researchers will begin to iden­ti­fy sys­temic issues rather than focus on spe­cif­ic prob­lems or con­di­tions. The goal is to place com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers — and their val­ues and per­spec­tives — at the heart of research.

Shift­ing insti­tu­tion­al incen­tives to pro­mote equi­ty. Research and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions will need to shift their ori­en­ta­tion and incen­tives to bet­ter pro­mote the equi­table imple­men­ta­tion of evi­dence-based pro­grams in com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. For instance, these insti­tu­tions should enable researchers to explore:

  • devel­op­ing met­rics of suc­cess that pri­or­i­tize cul­ti­vat­ing strong com­mu­ni­ty rela­tion­ships and com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven solutions;
  • shift­ing their lan­guage and labels about res­i­dents; and
  • build­ing mech­a­nisms for uti­liz­ing and fair­ly com­pen­sat­ing com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers for their expertise.

Togeth­er with NIRN and the William T. Grant Foun­da­tion, Casey is com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure that imple­men­ta­tion research and prac­tice include strong equi­ty com­po­nents,” said Bead­sie Woo, a senior asso­ciate in Casey’s Evi­dence-Based Prac­tice Group. If we can get equi­table imple­men­ta­tion right, we will be able to build stronger pro­grams and prac­tices that meet the needs of kids, fam­i­lies and communities.”

Learn how orga­ni­za­tions are con­sid­er­ing cul­ture in using evi­dence-based programs

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