The SESS multisite collaborative research initiative: Establishing common ground

Elizabeth E. Iida, J. Fred Springer, Peter J. Pecora, Emmalee S. Bandstra, Mark C. Edwards, Michele M. Basen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Multidisciplinary intervention approaches are needed for meeting service needs for families in which substance abuse and mental health disorders may be interfering with child-rearing. Experiences from the Starting Early Starting Smart (SESS) initiative, a 12-site national collaborative investigation of integrating behavioural health services in early childhood and primary health care service settings for children aged 0-5 years and their families and caregivers, are described. This 4-year applied research initiative was co-funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services and Casey Family Programs, a private operating foundation. SESS, which was developed and implemented in 12 geographically and culturally diverse cities in the USA during 1997-2001, encouraged federal, state, and local public/private partnerships. Opportunities and challenges in using an inclusive, consensus-based, stakeholder model to maximize study relevance and utility for researchers, practitioners, and fiscal sponsors are discussed, and lessons for multidisciplinary, multisite research collaborations are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Behavioural health services
  • Early care and education research
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • Public/private partnerships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health(social science)


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