The RISE Project, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), will take place over 3.5 years, and is informed by a novel application of the Active Implementation Framework (AIF). The AIF is an evidence-based synthesis of frameworks derived through a systematic review of implementation successes and failures in the areas of education, nursing, mental health, social services (e.g., child welfare), as well as others. Specifically, the AIF outlines five components for implementation and evaluation success (see Figure 1), including: (1) a Usable Intervention; (2) Implementation Stages; (3) Implementation Teams; (4) Implementation Drivers; and (5) Quality Improvement Cycles. Briefly, a core component of the AIF, Implementation Stages, guides the entirety of implementation and evaluation efforts. Within each of the four stages are a set of processes and activities that are carefully considered to support implementation and evaluation success.
Informed by the AIF and with the view of supporting PHAC’s goal of ‘increasing the capacity of health and social service providers to recognize and respond safely to family and gender-based violence,’ the RISE Project team are collaborating with eight national professional associations to: (a) understand the family violence learning needs and preferences of social work and physician trainees and practitioners in Canada; and (b) determine whether the Violence, Evidence, Guidance, and Action (VEGA; vegaproject.mcmaster.ca) family violence educational resources support improvements in practitioner knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours related to recognizing and responding to family violence (including intimate partner violence and child maltreatment) in their practice encounters. More specifically, the present project will:
(1) Conduct a formative evaluation for the pan-Canadian dissemination and implementation of family violence education among health and social service providers, with a specific emphasis on social workers and physicians. The formative evaluation will include Collaborator Organization engagement and: (a) a mixed method evaluation of family violence learning needs and learning preferences related to recognizing and responding to family violence among members of our Collaborating Organizations; (b) the development of additional tools or resources to meet Collaborator Organization learning needs and preferences related to family violence; and (c) an environmental scan to identify supplementary resources to have the potential to improve practitioner KASB related to recognizing and responding to various the forms of family violence experienced by children, youth and their families.
(2) Pilot the implementation of VEGA with trainee and licensed physician and social work members of our Collaborating Organizations in Alberta, Ontario, and Québec through the application of user-testing methodology. This pilot work will determine: (a) the usability of the VEGA intervention (i.e., the extent to which members of our Collaborating Organizations can achieve their family violence learning goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction); and (b) the extent to which changes to the VEGA technology are necessary to optimize VEGA usability.
(3) Evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial in Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec to evaluate the efficacy of VEGA to improve the health and wellbeing of children, youth and their families affected by family violence via improvements to practitioners’ knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours related to recognizing and responding to family violence in the ‘real world.
FIGURE 1 – Overview of the Active Implementation Framework and Associated Activities for the RISE Project