Dean Fixsen and his colleagues completed an interagency review of research related to implementing evidence-based and promising practices in 2005. This review provides a framework for implementing large-scale technical assistance and training efforts. Programs and projects in mental health, education, intellectual and developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, and related human services were evaluated in this synthesis. Read Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature by Dean Fixsen and Colleagues (2005).

In this research synthesis, key elements were identified that are associated with the successful implementation of evidence-based and promising practices. Schools and school districts, organizations supporting persons with disabilities, and mental health centers across the United States are using these systems change strategies to improve implementation outcomes. The systems change strategies described by Fixsen and his colleagues are referred to as Implementation Science.

Organization-wide, School-wide, Facility-wide, and Center-wide Systems Change

The goal of positive support at an organizational level is to first form a team that will work together to assess the strengths and needs of an organization. The team will represent all of the different types of individuals involved including those receiving services, staff members, administrators, family and community members to work together to solve problems. The types of problems that are identified will guide the group to select a positive support practice. Together, the team uses the information gathered to share the decision making process will everyone. Consensus building and buy-in increases when all individuals within a setting contribute to important decisions that are made. Empowering all individuals to work together to using information collected for progress monitoring and systems change helps improve outcomes. Celebration of success using the information gathered provides a powerful model for building community.

Organization-wide teams choose to participate in positive behavior support knowing it requires a long-term commitment. Administrator leadership and direct participation is essential to the change process. Buy–in and consensus-building processes using a team approach with all individuals (people receiving services, staff, management, family members, etc.) within a particular setting increases the likelihood of effective implementation. Regular team meeting processes employ the use of data to drive action planning over time. Positive recognition and reinforcement are used to acknowledge the hard work of systems change efforts.


Implementation Research Synthesis