Reeling him back in

We are ever grateful to all of our boards members, Doug Carnine, Georgia Layton, Jon Baker and Stephanie Bryson, for dedicating their valuable time to the mission of improving families' lives at Implementation Sciences International, Inc. (ISII). Another member who was recently elected to the board also happens to be part of our organization's history. He tells us more in his own words.

Eyvind Elgesem talks History

First of all I am grateful and humbled to be invited to be on the board of ISII (again!;-)). Nothing has been more meaningful in my professional life than taking part in the dissemination of GenerationPMTO. It has been a special privilege to participate in a movement that implements effective services and promotes science as a foundation for interventions. Personally, it has been more than 20 years of developing ever deeper relations with the best kind of people there are. For me, the take away has been learning at a level I would never have had access to - learning that made it possible for me to make contributions to the further development of Norwegian child welfare and mental health.

It all started in 1997 with an event I was not invited to, The Norwegian Expert Conference on effective treatments for children and adolescents with serious behavior problems. I should rather say “we” were not invited, the for-profit organizations developing “tailor-made” interventions for adolescents with special needs. Although these organizations were (and still are) an important part of Norwegian child welfare, they were not (and still are not) a politically welcome part of it. At the time I worked as a consultant with Ungplan, the largest of these organizations. We got a copy of the invitation by coincidence. We decided I should go. I went to a seminar given by Drs. Gerald Patterson and Marion Forgatch from “some place” in Oregon. I did not understand that the conference was a government-initiated kickoff event for processes that were meant to change Norwegian child welfare forever. I just went and listened. I heard Jerry speak and didn’t understand it all. But I understood that it was serious science. I heard Marion speak, and I thought that this way of working is just what we need! So, I went home and wrote Marion a long email asking if some of us could come and train with her. In her answer she asked me to coordinate with other Norwegians who also had expressed an interest. When I saw the names, I also saw the full picture; I was about to enter government territory! But the most unthinkable happened! A small group of people from the ministry, Ungplan and Oslo Municipality joined together to train in the intervention that would later be named GenerationPMTO, supervised by Marion. We based our work with families on Marion’s “Parenting Through Change” manual. My wife, psychologist Mona Duckert, supervised the translation of Marion and Jerry’s “Living with Adolescents.” Later she went on to become a GenerationPMTO Specialist and a regional coordinator of GenerationPMTO for many years. She also worked on the implementation of GenerationPMTO in Michigan.

The Norwegian training group travelled to Oregon in the fall of 1998 together with researchers and officials. The first of many travels.

After the visit to Eugene and OSLC in 1998 I went on to become first Director of Development at Ungplan, and then Director of Ungplan--demanding positions that made it impossible for me to complete GenerationPMTO Specialist training at first. I had to settle for a facilitating role until I left Ungplan with no job in sight in 2002. My leaving Ungplan coincided with the roll out of Marion’s study of the GenerationPMTO implementation in Norway, and I was offered the job as project coordinator in Norway. A fantastic job at the exact right time!

The transfer from the USA to Norway of a project like that is no easy thing. It involved legal questions, financial issues, competence building in many areas, and building a system to collect, receive, code and analyze observation data and other data from multiple instruments and multiple sites, as well as making it accessible to Marion’s team in Oregon. It could not have been done without my dear colleagues Kristin Nordahl and Carl Ivar Holmen.

The dollar to krone ratio was not favorable at the time and created problems towards the end of the project. In 2007 the money dried up and I had to find other ways of making a living. But in the meantime, I had, besides having set up and coordinated the Implementation Study in Norway, completed my GenerationPMTO Specialist training, been on the board of ISII, been the Deputy Director of ISII, and taken part in the GenerationPMTO implementation in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands I had multiple roles as negotiator on Marion’s team and therapist trainer and coach on Laura Rains’s team together with Margrét Sigmarsdóttir. It was a special pleasure and learning experience to work with Laura on training and supervision, Laura creating a unique learning atmosphere with her blend of gentleness, warmth and competence.

I took my learning and experience with me to my new job in the Directorate for Children, Adolescents and Families where I headed the Section for Evidence Based Practices and served as Director of the Child Welfare Department for two years. In 2012 I got a position with The Regional Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Health Region East and South, another center for knowledge transfer and competence building, working with strategic child welfare issues there. From 2014 to 2019 I was Deputy Director at the same place. I retired September 1st this year.

Note: Eyvind's previous roles within ISII include: Project Coordinator, Deputy Director, Negotiator, Trainer and Coach in the Netherlands and Board Member.

When asked why he is willing to attend meetings even though they will occur in this middle of his night, his reply was, "Working with good people for a good cause!"