Interdisciplinary research to enhance the national capacity to effectively disseminate and implement research interventions in community practice is an important goal of the NIH Roadmap Initiative. Ruth O’Brien, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing, has been a national leader in this area over the past 14 years through her research on the Nurse-Family Partnership, a home visitation program for low-income, first time parents. As co-investigator with David Olds, PhD and colleagues from the School of Medicine for a clinical trial that examined the effectiveness of nurses, compared to paraprofessionals, she helped to establish the requisite for using nurses in delivering the home visitation intervention.
Dr. O’Brien’s early work in the translation and dissemination of the home visitation intervention, used in over 20 states, has included the development of a web-based Clinical Information System to track characteristics of families served, services provided, and maternal and child outcomes among the families enrolled in community practice settings. Dr. O’Brien also was instrumental in facilitating the translation of the research protocols used in the trials into visit-by-visit guidelines for nurses engaged in delivering the home visitation intervention. Currently, through funding from CDC she is comparing alternative training approaches for increasing nurses’ knowledge and clinical skills for program implementation with diverse populations. Through a second grant from NIMH, she and colleagues with expertise in public affairs and communication are exploring contextual factors at the organizational and community level that may help to explain variations in program implementation across Nurse-Family Partnership sites.
In collaboration with Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Invest in Kids and Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office, Dr. O'Brien provides consultation on implementation of the Nurse-Family Partnership program in Colorado.