Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 149–161 | Cite as

Putting program evaluation to work: a framework for creating actionable knowledge for suicide prevention practice

  • Natalie Wilkins
  • Sally Thigpen
  • Jennifer Lockman
  • Juliette Mackin
  • Mary Madden
  • Tamara Perkins
  • James Schut
  • Christina Van Regenmorter
  • Lygia Williams
  • John Donovan
Original Research


The economic and human cost of suicidal behavior to individuals, families, communities, and society makes suicide a serious public health concern, both in the US and around the world. As research and evaluation continue to identify strategies that have the potential to reduce or ultimately prevent suicidal behavior, the need for translating these findings into practice grows. The development of actionable knowledge is an emerging process for translating important research and evaluation findings into action to benefit practice settings. In an effort to apply evaluation findings to strengthen suicide prevention practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supported the development of three actionable knowledge products that make key findings and lessons learned from youth suicide prevention program evaluations accessible and useable for action. This paper describes the actionable knowledge framework (adapted from the knowledge transfer literature), the three products that resulted, and recommendations for further research into this emerging method for translating research and evaluation findings and bridging the knowledge–action gap.


Suicide prevention Youth Actionable knowledge Knowledge to action Knowledge–action Research-to-practice Implementation Knowledge transfer Public health 



The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Richard Puddy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Violence Prevention) and Dr. Richard McKeon (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for their leadership and contributions to the Enhanced Evaluation Project. The authors would also like to recognize the contributions of Dr. Chad Rodi (ICF MACRO) and ICF MACRO in the Enhanced Evaluation Project and actionable knowledge tool development.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Wilkins
    • 1
  • Sally Thigpen
    • 1
  • Jennifer Lockman
    • 2
  • Juliette Mackin
    • 3
  • Mary Madden
    • 4
  • Tamara Perkins
    • 3
  • James Schut
    • 2
  • Christina Van Regenmorter
    • 2
  • Lygia Williams
    • 5
  • John Donovan
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Centerstone Research InstituteBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.NPC ResearchPortlandUSA
  4. 4.College of Education and Human Development, University of MaineOronoUSA
  5. 5.Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental DisabilitiesNashvilleUSA
  6. 6.Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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