Implementation of Research in Community Mental Health Centers: The Challenge of Provider Engagement

Ukamaka M. Oruche, Ora Nakash, Cynthia Holladay, Anil Chacko, Susan M. Perkins, Claire Burke Draucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conducting clinical research in public sector community mental health centers (CMHCs) can be challenging. The purpose of this report is to describe the challenges our research team encountered in engaging CMHC providers in a clinical trial aimed at testing an intervention to improve parent activation and engagement in their child’s behavioral healthcare. We discuss the intervention we aimed to test, the challenges we encountered engaging providers, and the barriers to engagement that we identified. The barriers included restrictive inclusion criteria, an ambitious randomized controlled design, a dyadic (provider-parent) recruitment plan, a requirement to record provider-parent sessions, and high day-to-day practice demands on providers. The strategies we used to address the barriers and a discussion of the “trade-offs” these strategies introduced are presented. Improving provider engagement in research in CMHCs can avoid research delays or termination of studies and ultimately mitigate an early blockage in the research-to-practice pipeline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunity mental health journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Clinical research
  • Community mental health centers
  • Implementation science
  • Parent activation
  • Provider engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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