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Clearinghouse Provides Searchable Database of Evidence-based Programs
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 05/13/2022

Are you interested in learning more about evidence-based programming? Would you like to know more about program implementation and evaluation? As an applied research center, the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State (Clearinghouse) provides information about programs and encourages professionals to make informed decisions based on their needs, situations, and resources.

"As a land-grant university, Penn State has always been about translating science-based information into action through application," said Daniel Perkins, founder and principal investigator of the Clearinghouse and professor of family and youth resiliency and policy. "The mission is really about using science to make life better and using science to make decisions from a practical standpoint. I think Penn State has demonstrated that time and time again."

The Clearinghouse has created a Continuum of Evidence to assist individuals in identifying evidence-based programs that can be used to improve the health and well-being of military and civilian families. The Continuum is a free, interactive, searchable database of more than 1,300 programs that address a wide variety of family concerns and mental health issues such as parenting, financial literacy, alcohol/drugs/tobacco use and misuse, sexual assault, anxiety, trauma, and depression.

When assessing programs on the Continuum, Perkins describes the goal as a more Consumer Reports effort than a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Programs are vetted and categorized as either "effective," "promising," or "unclear" based largely on the amount of evidence available to support a program's objectives and subsequent outcomes.

The Continuum website was created to share information about the Continuum and the program review process. Using this website, individuals can search for a specific program by name or with the use of filters. Search results provide general program information and a link to generate a "fact sheet," which is a two-page summary of key points about the program.

According to Perkins, the Clearinghouse has built a reputation on rapidly delivering high-quality practical research. "I think universities need to be relevant, and the land-grant university should be the most relevant because its whole purpose is taking science and applying it to issues facing the world," Perkins said.

For individuals who have further questions or who want to know more about any aspect of the Continuum or about program implementation and evaluation, the Clearinghouse provides free technical assistance (TA) and support. The TA staff share data and research findings and assist users with program implementation by providing guidance on recruiting and retaining participants, obtaining program and training materials, and finding funding sources. Specialists are available via live chat, email, or the phone helpline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and the Continuum database is just one click away anytime. Visit the Clearinghouse website at https://militaryfamilies.psu.edu/ to learn more. The Clearinghouse is a part of Penn State's Social Science Research Institute


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