In 2002, Dean L. Fixsen and Karen A. Blase founded the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN).  The purpose was to study implementation as implementation, separate and apart from evidence-based interventions and other innovations and apart from diffusion and dissemination and technical assistance.  Our goal was to identify, analyze, and develop the best available practice-based and research-based evidence regarding effective supports for the full and effective use of evidence-based programs and other innovations in typical human service settings.

Dean Fixsen, Frances Wallace, Karen Blase, Sandra Naoom, Melissa Van Dyke – NIRN Directors 2008, Tampa, FL

In 2018 Dean L. Fixsen, Melissa K. Van Dyke, and Karen A. Blase founded the AIRN Active Implementation Research Network™ as a learning organization to advance implementation practice, science, and policy and to support the development of implementation as a science, as a field, and as a profession.

The Active Implementation Research Network promotes the purposeful use and ongoing evolution of the Active Implementation Frameworks through the creation of a ‘virtuous cycle’ of research to practice and practice to research.  A virtuous cycle uses implementation best practices to establish high fidelity implementation independent variables that can be studied.  The results from research then inform improvements in implementation best practices that enable the next set of more precise research questions.  The goals are to support the use of innovations with fidelity and good outcomes and create research opportunities to test implementation predictions and theory to further develop the field.

Like all scientific and improvement endeavors, current efforts are most productive when built on past knowledge and experience.  We are grateful to Dr. David Shern and Dr. Robert Friedman, at the University of South Florida Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, who supported our work and created a learning culture willing to take risks.  We also are grateful to Dr. Sam Odom, at the University of North Carolina FPG Child Development Institute, for creating the opportunity to evolve and develop.  Our past and current colleagues at NIRN have provided inspiration and intelligence and we look forward to continuing to contribute to the evolution and improvement of the field of implementation science.