Broadening measures of success: Results of a behavioral health translational research training program

Julie A. Baldwin, Heather J. Williamson, Emery R. Eaves, Bruce L. Levin, Donna L. Burton, Oliver T. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: While some research training programs have considered the importance of mentoring in inspiring professionals to engage in translational research, most evaluations emphasize outcomes specific to academic productivity as primary measures of training program success. The impact of such training or mentoring programs on stakeholders and local community organizations engaged in translational research efforts has received little attention. The purpose of this evaluation is to explore outcomes other than traditional academic productivity in a translational research graduate certificate program designed to pair graduate students and behavioral health professionals in collaborative service-learning projects. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews with scholars, community mentors, and academic mentors were conducted regarding a translational research program to identify programmatic impacts. Interviews were transcribed and coded by the research team to identify salient themes related to programmatic outcomes. Results: Results are framed using the Translational Research Impact Scale which is organized into three overarching domains of potential impact: (1) research-related impacts, (2) translational impacts, and (3) societal impacts. This evaluation demonstrates the program's impact in all three domains of the TRIS evaluation framework. Graduate certificate participants (scholars) reported that gaining experience in applied behavioral health settings added useful skills and expertise to their present careers and increased their interest in pursuing translational research. Scholars also described benefits resulting from networks gained through participation in the program, including valuable ties between the university and community behavioral health organizations. Conclusions: This evaluation of the outcomes of a graduate certificate program providing training in translational research highlights the need for more community-oriented and practice-based measures of success. Encouraging practitioner involvement in translational research is vital to translate knowledge into practice and to enable practice-based needs to inform research and policy. A more flexible approach to measuring programmatic success in research training programs can help bridge the knowledge translation gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number92
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 24 2017


  • Behavioral health
  • Community engagement
  • Implementation science
  • Program evaluation
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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