July 1, 2021

✪ Building Implementation Science Capacity in Academic Pharmacy: Report of the 2020-2021 AACP Research and Graduate Affairs Committee


Kimberly B. Garza, Ephrem Abebe, Jennifer L. Bacci, Nitesh K. Kunda, Kajua B. Lor, Nathaniel Rickles, Nathan Shankar, and Dorothy Farrell

University of Washington affiliated authors are displayed in bold.

✪ Open Access

Published: July 2021

Read the full text in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Executive Summary

The 2020-2021 AACP Research and Graduate Affairs Committee (RGAC) continued the work begun by the 2019-2020 RGAC to increase awareness of and capacity for implementation research to advance practice transformation in academic pharmacy. AACP President Anne Lin charged the RGAC with developing resources and programs for training faculty and graduate students in implementation science. The committee was further charged with developing a mechanism to pair pharmacy faculty and implementation experts on practice advancement projects. In its work, the committee focused on generating near-term opportunities for pharmacy practice faculty to pursue projects while developing programs that would support ongoing career development and future implementation practice and research by pharmacy faculty and trainees.

To support training, the RGAC developed a competency framework for graduate education that builds on the six domains of graduate education in pharmaceutical sciences put forward by the 2016-2017 RGAC. The new, specialized framework identifies and organizes those competencies that should be cultivated to successfully pursue implementation research in pharmacy, with utility beyond graduate education. The identified competencies could act as the base for pharmacy-specific implementation science training materials suitable for faculty development. The committee proposes a faculty development program that leverages the framework and existing implementation science training resources offered by federal agencies and universities to provide facilitated learning opportunities and peer support for faculty who wish to pursue implementation research.

The committee considered multiple approaches AACP could take to promote collaboration between pharmacy faculty and implementation experts. While recognizing the importance of individual development support for pharmacy faculty, the committee felt that a focus on supporting interdisciplinary teams that span practice and research and engage faculty, trainees and preceptors would have the greatest impact on enabling practice advancement projects in the near term while increasing capacity in the long-term. The committee envisions a program in which AACP creates opportunities for pharmacy faculty and implementation experts to come together with the purpose of matching researchers and projects. AACP support for these collaborations should begin prior to any such matching event, for example by helping pharmacy faculty articulate the scope and value of their proposed practice advancement projects, and extend beyond the initial match to include assisting nascent collaborations establish connections and secure institutional and external backing.

The RGAC made specific recommendations to AACP about how the framework and proposed programs could be used to further develop pharmacy faculty and graduate students as researchers while advancing the goal of sustainable transformation of pharmacy practice. A key recommendation is that AACP cultivate an inclusive community of interest in implementation science in pharmacy that will promote adoption of the framework, act as facilitators and coaches for training programs and assist in planning and supporting collaborative research projects.