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 Promoting the National Home Visiting Research Agenda

An Update from the Home Visiting Research Network

By Kay M. Gonsalves, MSPH
Home Visiting Research Network Coordinator, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

This is a very exciting time to work in the field of home visiting research. The ACA invests an unprecedented $1.5 billion in home visiting through grants to states, territories and tribal organizations. Most of this funding is dedicated to the development or expansion of services. However, a portion of this funding is designated for home visiting research to strengthen the role of home visiting as part of the system of services for expectant families and families with young children. Part of the ACA investment has been the establishment of a national Home Visiting Research Network (HVRN). Funded by the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HVRN seeks to create a strong infrastructure for home visiting research to inform policy and practice.

One way in which HVRN is building this infrastructure is by the creation and promotion of a national stakeholder-driven home visiting research agenda. The agenda calls for research to address 10 priorities:

  1. Strengthen and broaden home visiting effectiveness
  2. Identify core elements of home visiting
  3. Promote successful adoption of home visiting innovations
  4. Promote successful adaptation of home visiting innovations
  5. Promote fidelity in implementing home visiting innovations
  6. Build a stable, competent home visiting workforce
  7. Promote family engagement in home visiting
  8. Promote home visiting coordination with other services for families
  9. Promote the sustainment of effective home visiting
  10. Build home visiting research infrastructure

HVRN is currently promoting research to advance this agenda in two major ways. The first way is by the development of the Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC), a national practice-based research network of local home visiting program sites. HARC will support collaborative research that addresses the 10 research priorities. All programs that use home visiting as their primary service strategy for expectant families and families of children birth to five years are welcome to participate in the HARC, as are researchers who study home visiting and coordinators of local home visiting networks. Member programs choose the studies in which they would like to participate and will be among the first to know results and their implications for policy and practice. E-mail Kay Gonsalves if you are interested in joining.

The second way to advance the research agenda is to provide consultation to promising early career researchers on the design of studies addressing these research priorities. The Early Career Home Visiting Research Scholar Program will provide scholars the opportunity to attend the Pew Charitable Trust Fourth National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting in Washington, DC and to receive consultation from HVRN leaders in designing a study addressing one or more of the national home visiting research agenda priorities. The HVRN is primarily interested in short-term studies that would be appropriate to conduct in collaboration with HARC. Applications have already been accepted for this year, but please visit hvrn. org to learn more.