Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Dean Fixsen

Dean Fixsen

Dean Fixsen is an implementation scientist. In the 1960s he was a co-developer of the Teaching-Family Model, an early example of an evidence-based program. In the 1970s he and his colleagues began replicating the program. That experience introduced Dean and his colleagues to implementation practice and science. Over the next 20 years successful replication and scaling supports were developed and evaluated and those became the foundations of the Active Implementation Frameworks (AIF). Dean led a comprehensive review and synthesis of the interdisciplinary implementation research literature in 2003-2005 that added to the evidence base for the AIF. Since then Dean has led proactive use of AIF methods and measures to establish and study the development of implementation capacity in human service systems.

Karen Blase, PhD, is Co-Founder, Director, and Implementation Scientist with the Active Implementation Research Network (AIRN). Karen, together with Dean Fixsen, also was a Co-Founder of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and formerly a Senior Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An overarching interest for the last decade has been the development of strategies for effective implementation, scale-up and systems change using implementation science and The Active Implementation Frameworks across multiple domains (e.g. education, child welfare, early intervention). As part of a research team, Karen was a co-author of a major review and synthesis of the implementation literature in 2005, Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature. And is a co-author along with Dean Fixsen and Melissa Van Dyke of the 2019, Book Authority’s Best Science Books for 2020, Implementation Practice and Science. Current interests include the application of implementation science to support scaling systems for civic and voter education, voter registration and ensuring voting rights.

Karen Blase

Melissa Van Dyke

Melissa is an Implementation Scientist-Practitioner and the Director of the Active Implementation Research Network (AIRN).  In 2005, Melissa joined Karen and Dean at the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and provided implementation science expertise while leading and coordinating community, state, and federal initiatives to support effective practices in mental health, child welfare, education, criminal justice, and early childhood. In 2015, Melissa was recruited to serve as the International Expert Advisor on Implementation at the Centre of Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.  Currently, Melissa is on the Board of Directors for the Global Implementation Society (GIS) where she serves as President. Melissa continues to provide leadership on grants and contracts to build capacity in governmental and NGO organizations, communities, and systems, within the United States and internationally, to support effective implementation of evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and policies.

Amanda Fixsen has a background in applied behavior analysis, social work research, and implementation practice. For more than 10 years Amanda has worked to understand how human and health services can be effectively implemented and scaled-up in real world contexts. Amanda currently focuses her efforts in Colorado as the Director of Implementation at Invest in Kids, an intermediary organization, and supports the adoption, scale-up and high quality use of evidence-based programs throughout the state.

Amanda Fixsen

Fiona Mitchell

Fiona Mitchell comes to AIRN with more than 20 years of experience working in evidence translation, implementation support, and evaluation expertise in the United Kingdom.  She is a trained Implementation Practitioner who is experienced at guiding individuals, teams, and organizations to integrate knowledge and skills in applying evidence to practice development, building implementation capacity, and in the collection and use of data to evaluate progress. From 2015 to 2021, Fiona worked at the Centre of Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde. During this time, she led and contributed to strengthening evidence-informed practices in child welfare and protection and was part of implementation capacity building efforts across Scotland.  In 2018 – 2019, Fiona was co-chair of the program planning committee for the 2019 Global Implementation Conference, hosted in Glasgow, Scotland.



Senior Administrator

Peggy McElgunn, Esq., has over thirty years of experience working with over fifty national and international nonprofit organizations.  While her role has been primarily as the Executive Director or CEO, she has held positions at all levels and managing all aspects of nonprofit work.  Peggy has been responsible for activities related to project management and systems administration for organizations ranging in budget size from $250k to $10 million. Her responsibilities include managing workflow and providing support across employees in order to provide meet and exceed customer expectations. She has been responsible for development of projects necessary to meet customer outlined goals. This includes establishment of review courses, exam enhancement and promotion, as well as developing a public relations program designed to recognize the credentials and to support the implementation of internationally recognized accreditation programs.

Peggy McElgunn

Peggy McElgunn