This guide is for new and potential Service to Science participants, Single State Agency (SSA) and National Prevention Network (NPN) representatives, and other stakeholders interested in learning more about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Service to Science Initiative. The guide is organized around a list of questions and answers frequently asked about this initiative. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Contact information is provided at the end of this document.
Service to Science is a national initiative for locally-developed and innovative prevention programs interested in demonstrating more credible evidence of effectiveness. Established in 2005 by SAMHSA, the initiative's long-range purpose is two-fold:
Service to Science consists of a combination of training events and customized technical assistance (TA). Each year, SSA and NPN representatives nominate a new cohort of participating programs. Pending availability of FY2014 funds, selected programs are invited to attend a three-part Evaluation Primer Webinar Series and participate in an on-site consultation (see below). Programs may then request up to 30 hours of TA from our expert evaluation TA providers between December 2013 and July of 2014.
Service to Science is implemented by SAMHSA's Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT). SAMHSA's CAPT provides training and TA to states, tribes, jurisdictions, and communities across the United States to prevent and reduce substance abuse and related mental, emotional, and behavioral health problems across the lifespan. Service to Science training and TA events are offered by the CAPT's five Resource Teams, located in each of the CAPT's five Service Areas (see the map at the end of this document: "SAMHSA's Service to Science Initiative Contact Information").
SSA and NPN representatives nominate up to five programs in each state for participation in Service to Science. Programs interested in applying should contact their state's SSA or NPN and ask to be considered for nomination. Programs may also contact the appropriate CAPT Service to Science lead in their service area, whose contact information is provided at the end of this guide. Nominated programs are then invited to submit applications, which are scored according to a set of criteria and priorities that help to determine which programs are most appropriate and best fit for the initiative. Programs selected to participate in the Service to Science initiative are matched with expert evaluation TA providers who work with program representatives throughout the year.
The Service to Science TA phase begins with participation in a three-part Evaluation Primer Webinar series, which outlines some of the pathways to demonstrating evidence of effectiveness and helps program representatives to begin planning for their evaluation. Selected programs are then assigned an evaluation TA provider. This evaluation expert works with program representatives throughout the Service to Science process, starting with the pre-consultation assessment and through to the end of the follow-up TA period. Evaluation TA providers are matched to programs based on program needs, TA providers' areas of expertise, geographic considerations, and availability.
SSA and NPN representatives nominate programs for participation in Service to Science. Each year, SAMHSA asks each state to nominate up to five programs to participate in the initiative. Programs interested in applying should contact their state's SSA or NPN and ask to be considered for nomination. Programs may also contact the appropriate CAPT Service to Science Lead in their service area, whose contact information is provided at the end of this guide.
Programs eligible for Service to Science are locally developed, innovative, responsive, practice-based, mindful, and committed. Programs should meet all of the following criteria:
In addition to the above criteria, SAMHSA is interested in programs that address Goals 1 through 4 of SAMHSA's Strategic Initiative #1: Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness:
For more information on the SAMHSA Strategic Initiatives, see: http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA11-4629/01-FullDocument.pdf 
Programs nominated for participation will be asked to complete a Service to Science application. The application includes two parts: (1) a short form to collect contact and program information, and (2) a narrative section that asks applicants to provide the following information on which they will be scored (with the exception of their program evaluation):
Programs should submit their completed application to SAMHSA's CAPT (guidance on submission is provided in the Service to Science application, which is provided to all nominated programs). The CAPT will review all the applications it receives and select participants based on how well their application scores. Approximately one month after submitting their applications, programs will receive notification of their status—accepted or not accepted. Accepted applicants will also receive contact information for their assigned evaluation TA provider(s).
The Evaluation Primer Webinar Series is the first step in the Service to Science journey. The webinar series is designed to help program representatives begin the process of evaluating their prevention activities and learn more about the Service to Science initiative. It will encourage them to think through ways to make evaluation more feasible and useful, consider evaluation issues or gaps worth addressing, and clarify the questions that they may want to explore with the evaluation TA provider who has been assigned to work with them. The webinars cover the following topics:
The three-part Evaluation Primer Webinar Series (1.5-hour webinars over the course of three days) will be repeated three times between November 2013 and January 2014, pending availability of FY2014 funds.
Programs should select representatives to participate in the Evaluation Primer Webinar Series who are responsible for developing the program, implementing the program, and evaluating the program. SSA and NPN representatives who nominated programs for participation in Service to Science are not required to participate in the webinar series—however, we encourage them to do so. In some cases, programs may have already identified, or are currently working with, an evaluator. Note that the material covered may be too basic for such evaluators, but they may want to review the content separately.
Following participation in the Evaluation Primer Webinar Series, programs participate in an on-site consultation with their assigned evaluation TA provider. During the on-site consultation, the program's evaluation TA provider visits the program's home organization and meets with program representatives and stakeholders. The purpose of the consultation is to identify key areas of program need, answer questions about the current status of program evaluation plans, and provide targeted TA to address specific evaluation concerns or issues. Three overarching questions typically guide the discussion:
At the end of the on-site consultation, the evaluation TA provider will prepare an action plan that summarizes key highlights from the meeting and identifies follow-up action steps agreed to by all attendees.
Evaluation TA providers and program representatives collaborate to determine the date and location of the on-site consultation. Soon after notification of acceptance to Service to Science, the program's assigned primary evaluation TA provider will contact the program to schedule the consultation. Pending availability of FY2014 funds, on-site consultations should take place between December 2013 and March 2014. Consultations typically last between 8 and 16 hours (up to two days), depending on need and readiness to address evaluation issues.
Programs are responsible for identifying approximately five representatives to participate in the on-site consultations—any more than that makes evaluation planning difficult. We recommend that they include those who developed the program, who are responsible for implementing the program, and who are responsible for evaluating the program. Other stakeholders may also be invited. Additionally, other evaluation TA providers or CAPT staff may participate in the on-site consultation by phone. SSA and NPN representatives who nominated programs for participation in Service to Science are not required to participate in the on-site consultations—however, we encourage them to do so.
In addition to the materials submitted as part of their applications (which the evaluation TA providers will have in advance of the on-site consultation), program representatives should feel free to bring any other materials that they think would be helpful, such as a logic model, a description of the program's evaluation design, instruments (e.g., surveys, interview questions, focus group protocols), evaluation results, or evaluation reports. These materials can also be sent to the evaluation TA provider prior to the meeting.
Evaluation TA providers will work with program representatives before the on-site consultation to develop an agenda that will guide the meeting discussion. These agendas typically include opportunities to discuss:
After the on-site consultations, programs are entitled to up to 30 hours of follow-up TA. During the on-site consultations, programs will work with their evaluation TA providers to develop an action plan that will guide the follow-up TA they will receive. Follow-up TA is a key element of the Service to Science process and is meant to continue the learning community experience after the on-site consultations. Therefore, programs are encouraged to take advantage of the follow-up TA offered to them. Pending availability of FY2014 funds, programs can access this TA following the on-site consultation and until July 31, 2014.
To receive follow-up TA, programs can contact their assigned TA Providers directly. If program representatives have any questions or concerns about follow-up TA, they also should feel free to contact their Service to Science Lead (see contact information below). In addition, TA Providers will contact their assigned programs at fairly regular intervals to assess program progress on or desire to address items in their action plans.
Through follow-up TA, programs receive various types of assistance from their assigned evaluation TA providers to meet each program's specific needs. Examples of topic areas for TA include:
Although evaluation TA providers are prepared to help with program evaluation, they cannot actually conduct program evaluations or prepare materials as part of the evaluation process. For example, they do not collect program data, summarize evaluation results, or prepare evaluation reports. They are able to review and comment on materials, instruments, or reports.
Evaluation TA providers report to the CAPT Service to Science leads on the types of follow-up TA they provide to their assigned programs. This information is also shared with the nominating entity (SSA or NPN) to provide them with information about program progress. In addition, SAMHSA's CAPT evaluators will contact program participants approximately 15 months after selection into Service to Science requesting information about the progress of their evaluation capacity-building efforts. However, SAMHSA will not ask for participant data collected as part of evaluation efforts.
For information about Service to Science, please contact the Service to Science Lead in your CAPT service area:
CAPT Chief, SAMHSA's Service to Science Initiative
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Service to Science Lead
SAMHSA's CAPT Southeast Resource Team
Email: email@example.com 
Service to Science Lead
SAMHSA's CAPT Central Resource Team
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Service to Science Lead
SAMHSA's CAPT Southwest Resource Team
E-mail: email@example.com 
Service to Science Lead
SAMHSA's CAPT Northeast Resource Team
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Service to Science Lead
SAMHSA's CAPT West Resource Team
Email: email@example.com