In the last decade, the pace of activities involving the science of implementation has accelerated. This work focuses on compressing the time to move evidence from research into policy and practice. The science of implementation is at the heart of the mission of health services research, to ensure that the fruits of academic investments reach the public, policymakers, and practitioners through the dissemination of evidence-based practices. AcademyHealth has been at the forefront of building the science of dissemination and implementation in health to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice.
Much of the focus of implementation science has to date been directed at health care delivery and medically oriented settings of care. Yet, there are particular considerations that are unique to long-term services and supports (LTSS). The service delivery environments of LTSS are highly variable across local geographies. Knowledge translation strategies from medical settings may not be transferable to long-term services and supports because of the highly variable skill mix of the workforce, the delivery of care in home and community environments that were not developed with a primary focus on care provision, the complexity of individuals’ health conditions, and the special relevance of social and family resources.
Fortunately, there is pioneering work in motion to address the implementation science gap in LTSS. The AcademyHealth Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Interest Group recognized a key leader in this work at its 2020 annual meeting.
The interest group, in partnership with the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care at Johns Hopkins University, honored Thomas Edes, M.D. with the Roger C. Lipitz Leadership Award for his significant and lasting contribution to the field of health services research through the translation and/or application of evidence into policy and practice change that has benefitted the well-being and care delivery of persons with complex health needs and disabilities. Dr. Edes was selected by a committee of LTSS Interest Group leaders including Drs. Julia Burgdorf, Lynn Chevalier, Latarsha Chisolm, Walter Dawson, Howard Degenholz, Orna Intrator, and Tracy Mroz.
Dr. Edes was selected for the Leadership Award due to his tremendous impact on aging and disability care within the Veterans Administration. Currently, he is Senior Medical Advisor of Geriatrics and Extended Care for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He also had a foundational role at the VA in increasing the number of Veterans receiving home-based primary care, which grew from 7,500 Veterans served each day in 2000 to more than 30,000 today. Under his tenure, palliative care was established in every VA medical center, and medical foster home care grew from a pilot to a national program in 43 states. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Edes has established Geriatric Emergency Departments throughout the VA, implemented and evaluated practice changes to reliably identify unmet supportive care needs of older Veterans while in VA Emergency Departments, and arranging the services Veterans need to safely return to home and remain at home with optimal independence.
Dr. Edes’ passion for helping older adults is demonstrated through his longstanding interests in Home Based Primary Care, clinical nutrition, cancer detection and prevention, enhancing outcomes in home care, end of life care, and improving care for persons with chronic disease. He has been instrumental in developing programs to support the most vulnerable Veterans and their family care partners and caregivers.
The Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care and the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professorship were created in 1998 through a generous gift from Roger C. Lipitz and the Lipitz Family Foundation to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Roger C. Lipitz Leadership award is the result of a generous gift from his family in recognition of Roger’s professional contributions to health services in the private sector and his commitment to advancing evidence-informed health policy.