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2021 UNC Institute on Implementation Practice Virtual Series: Equitable Implementation In Action

September 30, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm




This event was co-hosted by the Jordan Institute for Families and the Collaborative for Implementation Practice at the UNC School of Social Work, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation.


The event shined a light on equitable implementation and engaged more deeply with the authors and articles highlighted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review supplement, Bringing Equity to Implementation, that was released in May 2021.


Welcome and Opening Plenary

Implementation science is uniquely positioned to address inequities by reducing the gap between research and practice across diverse community, healthcare and social service settings. Making progress toward achieving health equity, however, requires more explicit reflection about the role of structural racism as a fundamental driver of social and health inequities and how to address it. The opening plenary highlighted strategies, frameworks and approaches that can be applied in implementation efforts to more actively address structural racism.


Dr. Rachel Shelton, ScD, MPH is a social and behavioral scientist with training in cancer and social epidemiology, and expertise in implementation science, sustainability, health equity, and community-based participatory research. She is Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she is Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core Resource at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (CTSA), and leads a new university-wide initiative on Implementation Science. Dr. Shelton has taught a course in implementation science for nearly 10 years and has been a mentor in a number of training programs globally, including TIDIRC, TIDIRH, and the Institute for Implementation Science Scholars. Dr. Shelton has 15 years of experience conducting mixed-methods research focused on advancing the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based interventions in community and clinical settings to address health inequities, particularly in the context of cancer prevention/control; her research program is funded by NIA, NCI, NIMHD and American Cancer Society.

Dr. Prajakta Adsul, MBBS, MPH, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico and a member in the University of New Mexico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, within the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Research Program. Dr. Adsul’s research uses implementation science theories, methods and measures, keeping a multilevel perspective. Her research utilizes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods to incorporate the complexities of real-world practice and produce meaningful and useful products that are relevant to several stakeholders including fellow researchers and clinicians, community members, and most importantly, individuals that are directly affected by improving clinical and community practice.

Dr. April Oh, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Senior Advisor for Implementation Science and Health Equity in the Implementation Science (IS) Team in the Office of the Director in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She leads efforts to advance the intersection of implementation science and health equity research. Dr. Oh provides scientific leadership for NCI’s Implementation Science in Cancer Control (ISC3) Program which supports the rapid development, testing, and refinement of innovative approaches to implement a range of evidence-based cancer control interventions. Dr. Oh’s research interests in multi-level health communication, implementation science, social determinants of health, neighborhood and policy effects on community health, obesity-related behaviors, and digital health technologies to promote behavior change and cancer prevention and control.

Breakout Sessions

Eight breakout sessions featured conversations with authors of articles highlighted in Bringing Equity to Implementation. Links to each of these articles as well as the recorded conversations can be accessed below.


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.


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 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.


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-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-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.


Recommendations and Closing Plenary

The closing plenary explored ten recommendations for advancing equitable implementation and how they can be put into action. Read more about these ten recommendations in Equitable Implementation at Work.


Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, is a Research Professor of Public Policy and Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of children from low-income and ethnic minority households, such as through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. She has been engaged in addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, such as through development of a classroom observation measure, examination of non-traditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared toward early education practitioners and policymakers.

Additional Resources Shared by Speakers

Reading list on health equity, anti-racism, and implementation science available on the CTSA Implementation Science Initiative listserv

Video series on health equity/implementation science

Community-Defined Evidence: A Bottom-Up Behavioral Health Approach to Measure What Works in Communities of Color


September 30, 2021
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Past Events

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