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Improving the implementation and sustainment of evidence-based practices in community mental health organizations: a study protocol for a matched-pair cluster randomized pilot study of the Collaborative Organizational Approach to Selecting and Tailoring Implementation Strategies (COAST-IS).


Implementing and sustaining evidence-based programs with fidelity may require multiple implementation strategies tailored to address multi-level, context-specific barriers and facilitators. Ideally, selecting and tailoring implementation strategies should be guided by theory, evidence, and input from relevant stakeholders; however, methods to guide the selection and tailoring of strategies are not well-developed. There is a need for more rigorous methods for assessing and prioritizing implementation determinants (barriers and facilitators) and linking implementation strategies to determinants. The Collaborative Organizational Approach to Selecting and Tailoring Implementation Strategies (COAST-IS) is an intervention designed to increase the effectiveness of evidence-based practice implementation and sustainment. COAST-IS will enable organizational leaders and clinicians to use Intervention Mapping to select and tailor implementation strategies to address their site-specific needs. Intervention Mapping is a multi-step process that incorporates theory, evidence, and stakeholder perspectives to ensure that implementation strategies effectively address key determinants of change. COAST-IS will be piloted with community mental health organizations that are working to address the needs of children and youth who experience trauma-related emotional or behavioral difficulties by engaging in a learning collaborative to implement an evidence-based psychosocial intervention (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy). Organizations will be matched and then randomized to participate in the learning collaborative only (control) or to receive additional support through COAST-IS. The primary aims of this study are to (1) assess the acceptability, appropriateness, feasibility, and perceived utility of COAST-IS; (2) evaluate the organizational stakeholders' fidelity to the core elements of COAST-IS; and (3) demonstrate the feasibility of testing COAST-IS in a larger effectiveness trial. COAST-IS is a systematic method that integrates theory, evidence, and stakeholder perspectives to improve the effectiveness and precision of implementation strategies. If effective, COAST-IS has the potential to improve the implementation and sustainment of a wide range of evidence-based practices in mental health and other sectors. This study was registered in (NCT03799432) on January 10, 2019 (last updated August 5, 2019).

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