My Ah Ha! Moment: Beyond Evidence-Based Practice

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Remember the last time you had an Ah Ha! moment?

Mine was last Thursday morning, at work during a staff meeting.

In reviewing one of the agenda items, there was dialogue about the values and strategies of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. One of my colleagues pointed out that over the years the foundation has shifted their grant making efforts to a competitive and strategic process in order to achieve greater results, such as having a more significant impact with measurable outcomes.

The foundation has also shifted in a few other areas:

  • Five years ago, the foundation hired two full time individuals with lived mental health experience (consumers) as program officers.
  • We have incorporated the involvement of consumers, youth and family members in the design, development and implementation of the initiatives we fund.
  • We have appointed two individuals with lived mental health experience to the foundation’s National Advisory Council. The appointees provide guidance and expertise on matters related to strategic planning, major grant initiatives and other projects and activities.
  • We have funded consumer, youth and family centered recovery education initiatives

All of this has never been done before in the 74 year history of the foundation.

For years, the foundation has based much of its decisions on “Evidence Based Practice” (EBP). In layman’s terms EBP is:[1]

  • Based on a theory of change that is documented in a clear logic or conceptual mode.
  • Similar in content and structure to interventions that appear in registries and/or the peer-reviewed literature.
  • Supported by documentation that it has been effectively implemented in the past, and multiple times, in a manner attentive to scientific standards of evidence and with results that show a consistent pattern of credible and positive effects.
  • Reviewed and deemed appropriate by a panel of informed prevention experts that includes well-qualified prevention researchers who are experienced in evaluating prevention interventions similar to those under review; local prevention practitioners; and key community leaders as appropriate, e.g., officials from law enforcement and education

Then it hit me! Ah Ha! The Hogg Foundation has made some intentional decisions based on great ideas, not EBP! With this shift we are indeed having a more significant impact with measurable outcomes.

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One thought on “My Ah Ha! Moment: Beyond Evidence-Based Practice

    Oscar Bukstein, MD, MPH said:
    March 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Are you implying that Hogg should NOT base it’s decisions on EBP?
    What I would like to think you are trying to say is that the HF has a role in promoting “good ideas” that might be eventually be EBP but need pilot work and demonstration (in a scientifically valid manner). On the other hand, I hope you will agree the HF should carefully consider the evidence base when it advocates for large(r) scale implementation of clinical practices. Many “good ideas” do not pan out and are supported by the evidence.

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