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DO BETTER: A Framework for Organizations to Implement Translational Research Knowledge for Clinical Practice


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

​​The passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in 2018 includes new rules for social service organizations to formally follow practices that are supported by clinical research ([1]; U.S. Bipartisan Act, 2018). In recognition of these important changes to the law, researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital, led by Patrick Tyler, Ph.D., Director of Research Translation, have published a framework to help organizations meet the new requirements [2].

Simply put, research translation means taking the findings from controlled research studies and applying them to protocols for use in treatment. This broad term can cover any area of medical or behavioral therapy applications. The DO BETTER framework is built on published studies on translational research practices as well as the extensive experience of our team at the Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center in order to produce a clear plan for implementing research into practice [2]. A summary of the framework can be viewed in the accompanying PDF.

As organizations look to implement their own research requirements for the FFPSA, they will want a research model that adds seamles​sly to their current practices. The DO BETTER framework acknowledges the need for research programs that specifically responds to the needs of practitioners and families. Those needs can be identified based on views from practitioners and consumers using surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The organization can then identify the practitioners, clients and researchers who will collaborate to help solve the problem.

The team approach is critical to the DO BETTER framework. This ensures that the research addresses the issues specific to the treatment programs and that the findings are not blind to the practical limitations of providing care. Involving practitioners and families in the research also increases confidence that the results are relevant to their needs. For the researchers, this collaboration will help improve their future experimental designs, as well as its relevance to society. Additionally, successful collaborations can increase the prominence and visibility of a research program through word of mouth and project successes.

The overarching goals of the FFPSA are to provide the best care to families by following practices that are supported by good research. The inclusion of a collaborative research program that monitors clinical data can also help practitioners identify issues that may not be overtly obvious and help improve treatment programs. Our goal with DO BETTER is to make that process easier to achieve with a clear set of steps that are outlined in the accompanying PDF. A more detailed description is published in the article Practice to Research and Back in a Social Service Agency: Trying to DO BETTER in the journal Child & Youth Care Forum [2].


  1. Wilson, S., Price, C. S., Kerns, S. E. U., et. al. (2019). Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse. Handbook of standards and procedures. Version 1.0. Office of Planning Research and Evaluation. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Tyler, P. M., Mason, W. A., Vollmer, B., Trout A. L. (2020) Practice to Research and Back in a Social Service Agency: Trying to DO BETTER. Child & Youth Care Forum,

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