South Asia Implementation Research Fellowship in Mental Health

The South Asia Implementation Research Fellowship in Mental Health aims to increase the capacity of researchers from India and Bangladesh in implementation science. Through this fellowship, participants will gain the skills and knowledge needed to effectively implement a new program in a (mental) health care setting, as well as the knowledge and skills needed to design and conduct research on how new programs or policies are implemented in (mental) health care settings.

We are now accepting applications for a one-year research fellowship (2021-2022 cohort) in implementation science in mental health care.

The fellowship aims to:

  • Strengthen regional research capacity in implementation science through training implementation researchers from Bangladesh and India
  • Equip fellows with the skills needed to develop and carry out implementation studies

After this program, the fellow will:

  • Have the skills to critically appraise evidence-based interventions in mental health care
  • Have a strong working knowledge of key implementation science articles, particularly articles from studies conducted in low and middle-income countries and on studies related to mental health care
  • Understand implementation and implementation science concepts, theories, strategies, and research methods
  • Be able to develop and use an implementation strategy to support the implementation of a new program in a health care setting

The year-long fellowship will require about 25 hours a month of each fellow’s time. It can be scheduled flexibly around the fellow’s employment situation. You can read more about SPIRIT here.

Key definitions
  • Implementation is “the process of putting to use or integrating evidence-based interventions within a setting”. (Rabin et al, 2008)
  • Evidence-based interventions are programs, policies, or practices that have been shown to be effective at addressing a particular condition or concern.
  • Implementation strategies are the “methods or techniques used to enhance the adoption, implementation, and sustainability of a clinical program or practice”. (Powell et al, 2015)
  • Implementation science is “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services”. (Eccles et al, 2006)
  • Dissemination is “an active approach of spreading evidence-based interventions to the target audience via determined channels using planned strategies”. (Rabin et al, 2008)
How is the fellowship structured?

The year-long fellowship will require about 25 hours a month of each fellow’s time. It can be scheduled flexibly around the fellow’s employment situation. The fellowship includes:

  • Online lectures and assignments once or twice a month (1-2 hours a month)
  • Monthly reading assignments (6-10 hours a month)
  • Mentoring sessions and assignments (6-10 hours a month)
  • Two intensive residential study visits to the Mehsana District (three weeks in total/120 hours)
    OR
  • An intensive online workshop with offline assignments, readings, research, and preparation (three weeks/120 hours)

The didactic component of the fellowship will be structured through lectures, assignments, readings, case studies, and discussion sessions.

Two intensive residential study visits are required components of the fellowship. These visits include on-site learning and research as part of SPIRIT’s scale-up study in the Mehsana district. The study visits will be divided into one two-week segment and one one-week segment to allow fellows to manage their employment as well as demands of the fellowship.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the residential study visits may be replaced with an intensive online workshop; this will depend on the circumstances at the time. The intensive online workshop will include assignments, readings, real-time lectures and discussion sessions, practical skills sessions, and mentorship meetings.

Who is eligible to apply for the fellowship?

We invite applications from healthcare providers, public health professionals, and researchers from India or Bangladesh who wish to develop an in-depth knowledge of implementation science. A clinical degree or Master’s degree from one of the following fields is required:

  • Public health
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Health science
  • Social work
  • Health policy
  • Law (with a concentration in health)

Preference will be given to candidates who have not yet completed their doctoral studies.

What is expected of the fellows?

Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend online or in-person lectures once or twice a month
  • Complete writing and group assignments
  • Meet with their mentor remotely (online) on a monthly basis during the second half of the fellowship
  • Complete the assigned readings
  • Complete quizzes and other assessments of skills
  • Participate in the residential study visit to Mehsana, Gujarat or the intensive online workshop
  • Design and conduct a small-scale research study during the fellowship
  • Write a report on the outcomes of their small-scale research study
  • Complete an assessment in order to be awarded a certificate of completion
What are the costs associated with being a fellow?

The fellowship is offered free of charge. However, fellows are required to participate in three weeks of study visit to the Mehsana district, which will be funded by the fellow. The SPIRIT team can assist with providing information about logistics related to cost. Fellows are encouraged to look for additional funding from employers or other sources.

Fellows are also expected to attend online lectures and Skype/phone meetings with their mentors; this requires a high-speed internet connection.

What kind of readings and assignments will fellows do?

Fellows will read two to five academic journal articles or book chapters each month. These readings focus on the practical skills needed to conduct implementation science studies, as well as on the theoretical background of implementation science.

Assignments will focus on the readings, lectures, and on the development of the research plan.

What kind of information is covered in lectures?

Lectures will include information on:

  • Implementation science frameworks
  • Developing implementation science research questions and proposals
  • Research study designs
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Economic evaluation methods
Who are the instructors and mentors of the fellowship?

The instructors and mentors of the fellowship include implementation scientists, health policy professionals, health economists, qualitative and quantitative health services researchers, and clinicians.

The instructors and mentors come from institutions in the Netherlands, Germany, Bangladesh, and India.

How do I apply?

All applicants are required to submit a 400-word application essay, which should include information about:

  1. Their educational and employment background
  2. Their prior research experiences
  3. What the applicant hopes to learn as a participant in the fellowship
  4. How the knowledge and experience gained through participation in the fellowship will enhance their career

Applications should also include a CV (PDF format), two reference letters and, if applicable, a statement of support from their current employers.

Applications can be sent by email to spiritcmhlp@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Application for SPIRIT Implementation Research Fellow’ by 27 June 2021.