Practical solutions for sustaining long-term academic-community partnerships.

The science—practice gap in the treatment of mental health is most pronounced in community settings, where clients with the highest needs often receive their care. Implementation science and community-based participatory research strategies aim to effectively address this gap by establishing partnerships that focus on scientifically rigorous, as well as clinically and socially relevant, research. Despite significant benefits, the community-based participatory research implementation framework has a unique set of challenges. The current article describes evidence-supported implementation strategies that were deployed to address various barriers to the implementation and long-term sustainability of an innovative cognitive-behavioral theory (CBT) life skills program identified during a feasibility trial. Through the committed work of an established partnership between a community-based nonprofit organization and researchers, barriers and the strategies for mitigating these obstacles were jointly identified. Specific challenges included fidelity (variability in staff’s CBT competency and delivery), sustainability, and the cost of guideline implementation (data collection, time, and resources) of the CBT curriculum. We also provide details on the partnership’s solutions to these major obstacles, including the development of an intensive 3-month training and coaching phase. The results of this rigorous training suggest improvement in staff’s overall CBT competency and fidelity, increased participant engagement in the CBT curriculum, and enhanced data-collection procedures; yet, sustainability difficulties remained. General recommendations for long-term community research partnerships include early organizational buy-in; comprehensive needs assessments, including the organization’s research building capacity; and sustained training and coaching models. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)