Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Political Science


Brinck Kerr

Committee Member

Louise E. Parker

Second Committee Member

Geoffrey M. Curran


Social sciences, Evidence-based practice, Facilitation, Implementation research, Policy implementation


Evidence-based practices and programs can improve healthcare quality but many organizations lack the ability to implement and sustain them. Skilled implementation facilitators applying a range of interventions can enable healthcare systems to address these challenges. However, we have limited knowledge about skills facilitators need and no studies examine how experts can transfer skills to others to build capacity for implementation efforts. The purpose of this study is to address these gaps.

For this qualitative descriptive study, I conducted content analysis of data previously collected from an expert and two novice facilitators to whom she was transferring skills for supporting implementation of evidence-based programs mandated by VA policy. This study explores what knowledge and skills the expert transferred and how she transferred them. Because no studies have explored the latter, a literature review on other methods that foster learning through Social interactions informed the analysis.

The findings confirm that implementation facilitators need a range of complex knowledge and skills. I identified, operationalized and categorized these into communication skills and five overarching skillsets for (a) building relationships and creating a supportive environment, (b) changing the system of care and the structure and processes that support it, (c) transferring knowledge and skills and creating infrastructure support for ongoing learning, (d) planning and leading change efforts, and (e) assessing people, processes and outcomes and creating infrastructure for program monitoring. The findings also reveal that the expert utilized a wide variety of techniques and processes for transferring those skills, including active and participatory methods, cognitive, psychoSocial, self-learning and structural learning supports, and interactive relational processes. Additionally, the expert continuously monitored and assessed facilitators she was training and adapted both the content and process to learner characteristics and pre-existing skills, as well as the organizational context.

The findings address gaps in the current literature and can inform the design, creation, and administration of facilitation programs by policy designers or managers, experts’ transfer of implementation facilitation knowledge and skills, and materials for supporting these efforts. Application of findings has the potential to improve implementation of evidence-based programs in healthcare delivery systems.

Included in

Public Policy Commons