Applying insights from behavioral economics to implementation of evidence-based practices in mental health

April 17, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Brown Lounge, Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School, St. Louis, MO 63130

Implementation studies historically have been premised on the assumption that clinicians make rational clinical choices that maximize utility for themselves and their clients. The growing field of behavioral economics suggests that this is not how clinicians make decisions. Behavioral economics includes a set of models and frameworks that recognize that individuals tend to make decisions under the constraints of bounded rationality. This presentation will describe efforts to apply the tools and insights from behavioral economics to improve upon implementation of evidence-based practices. The application of this approach necessarily moves the field away from implementation strategies designed to increase knowledge, and toward strategies such as changing the environment (i.e., choice architecture) to make it easier to do the desired thing, making EBP use the default, and using incentives and rewards to leverage cognitive heuristics.

Dr. Rinad S. Beidas, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Ethics & Health Policy, at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the ARCH (Accelerating Research-to-Practice in Community Health) Lab. which has two primary foci: (1) improving behavioral health and the quality of behavioral health services for traditionally underserved patients; and (2) advancing the study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services (i.e., implementation science).

Dr. Beidas is an established expert in implementation science; a recent social network analysis conducted by Norton and colleagues identified her as among the top 10 implementation science experts nationally. Dr. Beidas has published over 100 articles and is the co-editor of the only book published on EBPs in youth, Dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices in child and adolescent mental health.

Dr. Beidas’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 2012 totaling over 10 million dollars. She is principal investigator on an R01 on fidelity measurement of cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth in the community; multiprincipal investigator on a T32 and P50 on implementation science; and serves as the implementation science methodologist on a number of grants from NCI, NHLBI, and NIMH. Dr. Beidas is deeply committed to partnering with community stakeholders to understand the best way to implement evidence-based practices and improve behavioral health and health services across a variety of settings including community mental health, pediatric primary care, and schools.

Dr. Beidas is tremendously invested in building capacity in implementation science and growing the next generation of implementation science investigators. In that vein, Dr. Beidas directs the Penn Implementation Science Center at the Leonard Davis Institute (PISCE@LDI). Since Dr. Beidas assumed a leadership position in 2013, PISCE@LDI has brought together approximately 100 experts across campus who now have over 20 NIH research grants totaling over $35 million in fiscal year 2018. They are actively involved in running regular events for scientists and educational events for trainees.

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