Byron Powell, PhD is the newly appointed associate director for the Center for Dissemination and Implementation at the Institute for Public Health. Powell says he’s excited to help “promote the center’s mission of advancing research methods in implementation science and ensuring that the most effective services are delivered in clinical and public health settings.” His aims include assessing the quality of behavioral health services by designing, tailoring, and assessing the effectiveness of implementation strategies and advancing implementation research methods. Powell is also president of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration and the associate director designee for WashU’s Implementation Research Institute. He is core faculty for HIGH IRI; TIDIRH-Australia; and the Irish Implementation Science Training Institute.
We caught up with Powell and asked about his goals for the center, alongside Director, Elvin Geng, MD, and how he plans to lead the new Methods and Metascience Initiative.
Q: In your new role as center AD, what do you see as your focus?
I am thrilled to join the Center for Dissemination & Implementation at the Institute for Public Health as associate director and look forward to working closely with Elvin. My role will be to support the center’s overall strategic development and help the university’s efforts to build capacity for faculty, students and other partners who wish to conduct and apply implementation science. Through my role as lead of the Methods & Metascience Initiative, I am particularly excited to help advance rigorous and innovative methods in implementation science.
Q: How do you think the Center for Dissemination and Implementation aligns with the D&I program at WashU? Would you encourage other practitioners to get involved?
Yes! Washington University in St. Louis is an unparalleled environment for dissemination and implementation research. As shown on the university’s D&I website, WashU is home to institutes, centers, labs, and investigators who are national and international leaders in implementation science. The Institute’s Center for Dissemination & Implementation is uniquely positioned to facilitate communication and cross-disciplinary collaboration across WashU’s campuses. The university has numerous training, mentorship, and collaboration opportunities suited to those who are new to the field and those seeking advanced training. For example, those wishing for an initial introduction to the field may benefit from D&I workshops or bootcamps, whereas, those looking to engage in more intensive training may want to take advantage of the university’s graduate-level courses in implementation science.
Across the university, the Washington University Network for Dissemination and Implementation Research (WUNDIR) sparks connections and collaborations. There are also numerous sources of pilot funding for implementation science, including funding through the Center for Dissemination & Implementation. We welcome students, staff, faculty, practitioners, and others who would like to engage in WashU’s implementation science and practice community. Moreover, we are keen to learn of gaps in the university and center’s current programming so that we seize opportunities to advance implementation science and make it more accessible to our partners locally, nationally and internationally.
What is the Methods & Metascience Initiative and what do you view as the importance of these elements to the field?
I am very excited to collaborate with Elvin and so many other great colleagues on this initiative! The purpose of implementation science is to develop generalizable knowledge about how to improve the speed and quality at which effective interventions are delivered. The promise of implementation science will not be realized unless we attend to the methodological quality of implementation research.
The Methods & Metascience Initiative will build upon Washington University’s strong foundation of conceptual and methodological contributions to the field of implementation science in several ways. The initiative will: 1) produce research and scholarship that advances methods and metascience in implementation research; 2) build capacity for local and international investigators to conduct methods and metascience research in implementation science and infuse rigorous methods into applied implementation research and practice efforts; and 3) disseminate the products of research, scholarship, and capacity building efforts internationally to improve the rigor, relevance, and public health impact of implementation research and practice. The scope of this initiative is intentionally broad, and it will include methodological issues specific to implementation science such as adapting interventions and tailoring implementation strategies to address the needs of specific populations and settings, and, more foundational issues related to the design, conduct and reporting of research.
We intend this work to be highly collaborative and transdisciplinary, leveraging the expertise of those at Washington University and other international experts. We also plan for the products of this work to be rapidly integrated into local training and capacity-building efforts.