Forthcoming Issue

Spring 2018, Volume 54, Supplemental Issue

Special Issue on Integrating  Evidence-Based Practice & Implementation Science in Academic & Field Curricula

Guest Editors:  Rosalyn Bertram and Suzanne Kerns


Preparing Youth and Family Social Workers for Evidence Informed Community-Based Practice: An Integrative Framework
Genevieve Graaf & G. Allen Ratliff       
This article proposes the Evidence Informed Social Work (EISW) framework for use in preparing child and family social workers for community-based practice. The framework includes teaching a modification of the five-step EBP process, emphasizing how the process interfaces with a system of care and the wraparound process. An EISW curriculum would be designed to equip direct-practice graduates with transportable evidence-informed tools including common factors, common elements, and relevant clinical and practice theory. It will prepare students to create and work in organizations that can access, absorb, and apply knowledge while identifying, implementing, and sustaining specific empirically-supported interventions as needed.


Integrating Implementation Science and Evidence-Based Practice in Academic and Field Curricula
Rosalyn Bertram, Soo-Whan Choi, & Megan Gillies

The authors present content, structure, and process adjustments that integrate implementation science and evidence-based practice in select masters in social work courses and field curricula. Content and assignments focus through frameworks identified by the National Implementation Research Network and upon specific evidence-based practices. Structure and process adjustments in field curricula include mid-semester site rotations, a field instructor academy, a weekly cohort seminar, and semester-end focus groups. Field learning plans focus through implementation frameworks and a weekly field portfolio requires student selection of evidence-informed literature for discussion with their field instructor. The authors conclude with results from a systematic qualitative review of field portfolios that identified content and process patterns of student learning.  

Using the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare as a Tool for Teaching Evidence-Based Practice
Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya, Jared Martin, & Cambria Walsh

Using practical examples from a child welfare research capstone class, this paper discusses how the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) can be used as a tool to teach social work students how to access, analyze, and interpret current research related to child welfare practice and help them apply their understanding of evidence-based practice (EBP) to their work in the field. We showcase CEBC’s selection and implementation materials, including a framework for implementation, to help students learn how to apply research-supported interventions to real-world situations in child welfare or other family-serving organizations. We hope that by providing such an illustration, social work educators can apply the CEBC in their teachings on research-supported interventions.

Social Work Training in Use of Evidence-based Treatments for Children: What Works?
Sonya Leathers & Tonya Strand

Despite the benefits of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for client outcomes, social service systems have struggled to disseminate EBTs. Effective graduate-level training in EBTs is critical to increase use given the strong effect of initial training on future practices. This study examined outcomes of a graduate-level training program in EBTs. Questionnaires while in the program and post-graduation were administered to 66 students. Regression analyses indicated an increase in post-graduation use occurred after the program incorporated strategies to support use of specific EBTs. Consistent with the implementation literature, initial planning with field sites, behavioral rehearsal of specific practice skills, focusing on EBT initiation, and targeted support for use of specific practices appear to increase graduates’ uptake of EBTs in mental health settings.

The Large-Scale Implementation of Evidence-Informed Practice Into Specialized MSW Curriculum
Ferol Mennen, Julie Cederbaum, Bruce Chorpita, Kimberley Becker, Omar Lopez, & Michal Sela-Amit

Social work is embracing scientific inquiry as a guiding principle; however the pace of scientific advancement has often outpaced modifications in the academic arena necessitating the re-envisioning of curriculum. This paper describes how one school of social work addressed the need to create a practice curriculum rooted in empirical evidence. In a large western School of Social Work, a department-wide adoption of the evidence-based clinical decision making intervention Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) was undertaken. MAP is an evidence-informed framework that includes components to guide the delivery, supervision, consultation, and quality management of children’s mental health services. The implementation included over a year of planning, the training of 50 faculty members, and the dissemination of MAP to 250 students. This large scale implementation was the first known of its kind and along with benefits, came with challenges. Processes, anticipated and unanticipated issues, and lessons learned are discussed.


Centers of Excellence: An Opportunity for Academic Training in Social Work
Cheri Shapiro

Evidence-based psychosocial interventions are often required for use by behavioral health organizations serving children, youth, and families; however, professionals entering the workforce may not be prepared to meet these demands. To address this concern, barriers to workforce training and preparation for implementation of EBI’s in both academic social work and community intervention settings are examined using an implementation science framework. An opportunity for integration of academic and community workforce training efforts is proposed capitalizing on recent growth of Centers of Excellence (COE’s). Facilitators and barriers to linking COE’s to academic training efforts in social work are explored. A case study of one recently established COE is provided and recommendations for both training and research are made. 

From Clinic to Classroom: Creating EBP Champions in a Graduate Level Social Work Program
Cynthia Rollo & Daniel Kleiner

Meaningful integration of evidence-based practice (EBP) in graduate school curricula may be best achieved by partnerships between service agencies and academia. This article provides a concrete example for teaching EBP in a master’s level social work course through collaboration with an agency with a strong track record of EBP implementation. The article presents a template for structuring a course on EBP and illustrates how social work students can help bridge the gap between science and service in the community. It includes examples of activities, role-plays and assignments that have been effective in supporting students’ knowledge of EBP, understanding of bringing EBP to a practical reality and their potential role as a champion for EBP in the clinical workplace.

Teaching Empirically-Supported Substance Use Interventions in Social Work: Navigating Instructional Methods and Accreditation Standards
Lori Egizio, Douglas Smith, Kyle Bennet, Liliane Windsor, and Kelly Valencik

Changes to the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards encourage students to develop competencies in empirically supported treatment models. Although there is discretion in how educators may build such competencies, studies on training suggest combining didactic and interactive classroom techniques with supervised practice experiences would produce the best training outcomes. Screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment has become a valuable empirically supported treatment model for addressing substance use. Since social workers work with patients in diverse settings, EST models such as SBIRT are useful for students to practice as part of their course work and internship experiences. This paper explains a university’s SBIRT training model, demonstrates how it addresses CSWE competencies, and presents preliminary outcomes.


Integrating Motivational Interviewing Into Social Work Education: A Practical Example
Aidyn Iachini, Jon Lee, Rhonda DiNovo, Amy Lutz, & Andy Frey

This article describes an ongoing effort to train MSW students to practice motivational interviewing (MI) competently within the context of a university-community field education partnership model. Students in [name] field placement are trained using the Motivational Interviewing Training and Assessment System (MITAS), and participate in a field seminar to hone MI proficiency. Mixed-method preliminary evaluation data were collected to understand the impact of the training. Results suggest the MITAS is promising for preparing social work students to use this evidence-supported practice competently. Implications from this practical example are discussed in relation to integrating an evidence-based practice such as MI into the social work curriculum.


Contributions of the Process of Evidence-Based Practice to Implementation: Educational Opportunities
Eileen Gambrill

Values, knowledge, and skills integral to the process of evidence-based practice have much to offer efforts to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) including recognizing ignorance as well as knowledge and identifying the need for deviations from mandated programs due to individual variations in client characteristics and circumstances including cultural differences. Other contributions include highlighting the importance of creating cultures of inquiry in which participants are encouraged to use active open-minded thinking to critically appraise claims,gathering and collating vital questions that arise, recognizing how decisions may go wrong including lack of deliberation concerning possible goals and actions,involving clients as informed participants,and increasing transparency of what is done to what effect.