About Sustainability

Carefully planning for sustainability, at the start of your program, can improve your chances for long term continuation of your program

Defining Sustainability

Definitions of sustainability for evidence-based programs (EBP) vary widely in academic literature. They depend on how one answers each of the following four questions (adapted from Francis et al., 2016):

  1. What is the timeframe for a sustained program (for example, 1, 5, or 10 years)?
  2. What is being sustained: the program, the client outcomes, or the institutional processes?
  3. When do adaptations shift the program from being sustained to being a new type of program?
  4. What outcome measures will be used to determine whether sustainability goals have been met?

It is also essential to be aware, and have a plan for, sustaining implementation supports. As you define sustainability for your organization, keep in mind the need to have timely and effective training, coaching, fidelity assessments, and a continued commitment to quality improvement. For users who would like an in-depth review of scientific literature on Sustainability of Evidence-based practices, you may want to read this literature summary on Sustainability. 

The implementation section of the Learning Center can also assist you consider and plan for sustainability.

Last Updated: 09/27/2017