Petition for a Division of Implementation Science in Psychology

Broadly, implementation science can be defined as the scientific evaluation of methods and strategies used to integrate evidence and change practice patterns in real world settings (NIH, 2010; Implementation Science, 2006). There is concern that the demand for implementation is so strong that the work is outpacing the science. Widespread collaboration, coupled with a high level of methodological rigor, is necessary to drive continued innovation and simultaneously advance science and practice. Without such a Division to bring together expertise from all areas of psychology (e.g., counseling, consulting, clinical, health, social, industrial and organizational, educational, policy/advocacy, public service, consumer) we fear the field will remain fragmented and limited in terms of its scientific and public health impact.

Why is an Implementation Science in Psychology Division important? The purpose of this new division is to bring together members from all areas of psychology in the service of addressing the gap between science and practice. The opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration through a formal APA Division include capacity for: setting guidelines, sharing resources, influencing funding agencies, identifying and providing leadership, and engaging the public. To focus our initial efforts, we have articulated three main goals: 

1. facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration; 

2. improve knowledge dissemination with the creation of a high quality journal; and, 

3. offer professional development opportunities for junior colleagues.

In the past 20 years multidisciplinary research has not only identified pervasive challenges for implementation across disciplines (e.g., inconsistent and poor measurement tools, a disconnect between academic and community setting cultures), but also the potential for shared solutions (e.g., comprehensive review and evaluation of measurement tools, academic-community partnership models). Unfortunately, these creative solutions are not readily translated from one field to the other. The fragmentation or “silo effect” has manifested in a terribly slow and disappointing track record of bringing evidence based practices to the settings and populations for which they were developed, with this process requiring approximately 17 years for only 14 percent of original research to benefit consumers (Balas & Boren, 2000). Implementation science will become increasingly visible for psychologists as key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect and provide incentives and resources for health care organizations to integrate psychological, behavioral and lifestyle programs and services. We see the Implementation Science in Psychology Division as an avenue for bringing together the various fields within psychology, building on each field’s successes and knowledge, and moving the science of implementation forward at an accelerated pace.

Now we need the support of all psychologists working in the field of implementation.

We would be delighted if you would sign our petition for Division status and encourage your colleagues to sign also.

We will need approximately 800 signed petitions before we can take our request to the APA Council of Representatives. If you have any suggestions or comments, please email either Sara Landes or Cara Lewis. Please fax the signed forms to Sarah Jordan at (202) 218-3599 or mail your signed petitions to Sarah Jordan at Division Services, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.


Sara Landes, PhD
Cara Lewis, PhD
Rinad Beidas, PhD
Aaron Lyon, PhD
Bryan Weiner, PhD

Petition for Implementation Science in Psychology to become a Division of the American Psychological Association

I am a member or fellow of the American Psychological Association. I agree to have a continuing interest in the formation of an Implementation Science in Psychology Division and to become a member of the division when it is formed.

Printed Name and Address
APA Number (if Known)