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Melanie Livet, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Melanie Livet is a specialist in Implementation Science working within the Center for Medication Optimization in her role as Research Assistant Professor.  Her expertise enriches research efforts at the Center from conception and development through implementation, evaluation, andreporting.  Her work helps to assure that the Center’s research yields results that are not only impactful, but also are replicable, sustainable, and scalable.

Tell me about your relevant background and experiences?

Prior to joining CMOPP, I worked in both the private and academic sectors, in applied research and management roles, for a behavioral health technology R&D firm, a public health government contracting organization, and another university-based Center. Over the past 13 years, I have been engaged with more than 40 projects in a number of different areas, including behavioral health, chronic disease prevention, violence prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, emergency preparedness, and now pharmacy practice. While the content of these projects ranged widely, they all involved application and/or testing of implementation science and evaluation methodologies to solve real-world health challenges.

What is your position within the school?

I am an applied researcher with specialized expertise in implementation science, technology validation, and program evaluation. My role at CMO is to infuse and test relevant principles and best practices from these disciplines into our projects, to facilitate their success and optimize their real-world impact.

As an applied methodologist and implementation professional, I am really interested in understanding what it takes for a practice setting to adopt and implement an evidence-based innovation and do it well enough to drive its effectiveness…regardless of what that innovation is (e.g., intervention, process, technology, set of guidelines).

What attracted you to the role you are in today?

Having spent the majority of my career in public health and mental health, I was really interested in having an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that I gained through my previous experiences to healthcare. Implementation science evolved most rapidly in public health and education, with healthcare (and pharmacy in particular) lagging behind. My current role affords me a great opportunity to integrate implementation science into pharmacy practice to benefit patients.

In addition, after working in the private sector for 10 years (and having worked for an academic Center in the past), I was ready to return to an environment that emphasized scholarly pursuits but also shared the characteristics of a start-up. With its focus on applied research to bridge the research-to-practice gap in pharmacy practice, the newly created CMO was the perfect fit for me.

What projects are you working on right now and what do you want the public to know about your research?

I am working on a number of projects, including a large multi-million dollar grant, the CMM in Primary Care study, that was designed to improve implementation of CMM in 40 primary care settings with embedded pharmacists. This project is a great opportunity to create and tailor the fundamentals of implementation science for pharmacy practice. For example, we were able to create an implementation roadmap for CMM that included specific steps, strategies, and tools to help pharmacists deliver CMM as intended. I am also leading efforts to adapt a set of measures to assess implementation outcomes in pharmacy practice, one of the building blocks for any type of implementation research; and to better understand the feasibility of using improvement cycles as an implementation strategy for pharmacists. In addition, I am involved in a number of smaller projects, including use of an implementation readiness process for pharmacists faced with delivering a new service; a transitions-of-care project involving community pharmacy for COPD patients; and a cross-cultural exploration study to understand how to adapt performance-based pharmacy payment models.

In my opinion, implementation science plays an important role in our quest to help patients in need for three reasons. First, because this help often takes the shape of a health service or intervention that is offered to the patient, we need to ensure that this service is implemented with quality. If the service is implemented as intended, it should increase its likelihood of having a beneficial impact on the patient. Second, previous research has highlighted the fact that without proactive implementation, it takes an average of 17 years for research evidence to reach clinical practice. Use of an active implementation strategy can significantly accelerate this process. Finally, implementation science is instrumental in generating practical learnings, strategies, and tools needed for successful replication, sustainability, and scaling of the services that have been found to be effective in small scale field tests. If a service has been found to significantly impact patients, we obviously want to be able to replicate success over a much larger scale.

What do you enjoy most about what you are doing?

Being able to do what I love (and have fun doing it), i.e., translating, applying, and infusing implementation science principles into a new discipline, pharmacy practice, and conducting applied research that can have a meaningful impact on patients’ well-being.

I also enjoy having the opportunity to build CMO, very similarly to my experience with private sector start-ups, by contributing to strategic planning, writing proposals and publications, hiring and mentoring staff and students, and helping establish operational processes. The CMO family is fantastic to work with, and I am grateful to be part of this team.

If you won the lottery what would you buy?

After taking care of the essentials, like paying off our house and stashing sufficient funds for my kids’ college years? I would buy a coffee shop, where everybody knows your name. And I would get involved with philanthropic programs designed to help older adults combat loneliness and isolation.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Moussaka, with beef not lamb. My mother makes a mean moussaka and it has been my favorite dish ever since I can remember. In my mind, it’s associated with happy childhood memories, and large family gatherings.

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