Spotlight on Implementation Science: Robyn Mildon, Ph.D.

November 26, 2018

Robyn Mildon, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director, Centre for Evidence and Implementation

How diverse your center is in terms of their background?

At the core of CEI’s work is the improvement of policies, practice and programs to change lives for the better. We are experts in accessing, synthesizing and analyzing high quality research to provide insights into what the evidence says is effective. These insights can be used in a range of ways – for example, to inform the development of program logics, as a relevant consideration in funding decisions, or as an indicator of where further research and evaluation funding could be targeted. We also use our expertise in implementation science to identify ways to increase the uptake of research findings into practice and policy.  And finally, we apply rigorous methods and tools to trial, test and evaluate policies, practice and programs to ensure they are delivering the best possible outcomes for the communities they serve. 

This all means that we need people that have training and experience in a range of areas, including Implementation Science. We have people with academic backgrounds in public health, child welfare, parenting, early childhood, and education. We also have people with strong practice background (practitioners) and people with strong backgrounds and experience in either conducting a range of research and evaluation projects – in particular, ensuring that Implementation Science informs the design and delivery of these.

How do you engage with your stakeholders?

Developing relationships is key to this but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging stakeholders—we tailor our approach to suit each project. We acknowledge that stakeholders have different expertise, objectives and capacity to engage with us and other partners and never assume that what worked for one situation will work for another. Often a mix of approaches will be needed and we have learned we need the flexibility to adjust our approach quickly

What take-home message can you share with our audience, especially those who are new to Implementation Science?

First, I think it is awesome that you have a focus on applying and using implementation science in your work. I would have so many messages to share but if I had to choose one or two, especially for those new to Implementation Science, they would be 1) Implementation Science applies research findings and methods to real-world settings. The outcome of a successful Implementation Science project is the integration of findings into practice or policy; and 2) Implementation Science questions are driven by implementation problems and should be designed for action-oriented research in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.