Volume 32, Issue 1 (2003)
Commentary: Addressing the Gap Between Science and Practice for Vulnerable Children
Hill M. Walker
In the mid 1700s, a British naval surgeon discovered the cure for scurvy, which would often so decimate the crews of sailing vessels that they would have to terminate their voyages and return to port in order to re outfit their ships in human resources. In spite of the severe human and economic consequences of scurvy, the simple dietary solution for it was not fully implemented across the British naval fleet and merchant vessels for another hundred years (Valente & Rogers, 1995). These events serve to illustrate the natural barriers that support resistance to the adoption of even the simplest and most powerful of innovations. The gap between science and practice appears to be a chasm that exists in many fields, but nowhere is it greater than in the field of children’s mental health. In the past several decades, great progress has been made in the understanding and treatment of children’s mental health, but the broad adoption and implementation of evidence-based interventions (i.e., the practice)continues to lag far behind the research (i.e.,the science) that accounts for these advances.
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