Skills for Developing and Maintaining Community-Partnerships for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Children’s Behavioral Health: Implications for Research Infrastructure and Training of Early Career Investigators

  • Geetha GopalanEmail author
  • Alicia C. Bunger
  • Byron J. Powell
Original Paper


By engaging with community partners, dissemination and implementation scholars can enhance research relevance and translation. We illustrate the skills needed for developing and maintaining community partnerships by presenting two case studies of partnerships between early-career investigators and child welfare systems to implement mental health interventions. The cases represent two models of partnership (investigator-led and agency-led), highlighting the value and difficulty of conducting community-engaged implementation research. The experiences described feature strategies for building and managing relationships, navigating rules and regulations, adaptation, and securing resources. We offer suggestions for improving training and research infrastructures to support community-engaged implementation scholars.


Community partnerships Implementation research Children’s mental health Child welfare 



This work was supported in part from grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health. The Implementation Research Institute has provided training to GG, AB, and BP (NIMH R25 MH080916, Proctor, PI). GG acknowledges support from the National Institute of Mental Health (R21 MH102544; Gopalan, PI). AB was supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau [Grant Number 90CO1104]. The findings and discussion do not represent the official view of Children’s Bureau. BJP was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (L30 MH108060; R01MH106510; K01MH113806) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (UL1 TR001111).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.College of Social WorkThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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