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Open Access Research article

A systematic exploration of differences in contextual factors related to implementing the MOVE! weight management program in VA: A mixed methods study

Laura J Damschroder*, David E Goodrich, Claire H Robinson, Carol E Fletcher and Julie C Lowery

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research, 2215 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:248  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-248

Published: 30 September 2011



In January 2006, Veterans Affairs (VA) disseminated the MOVE!® Weight Management Program to VA medical centers to address the high prevalence of overweight/obesity. In its second year, MOVE! implementation varied widely across facilities. The objective of this study was to understand contextual factors that facilitated or impeded implementation of MOVE! in VA medical centers in the second year after its dissemination.


We used an embedded mixed methods cross-sectional study design. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected simultaneously with the primary purpose to explore contextual factors most likely to influence MOVE! implementation effectiveness at five purposively selected facilities. Facilities were selected to maximize variation with respect to participation in MOVE! by candidate Veterans. Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with 24 staff across the five facilities. Quantitative responses were elicited followed by open-ended questions. The quantitative measures were adapted from a published implementation model. Qualitative analysis was conducted using rigorous content analysis methods.


Qualitative and quantitative data converged to strengthen findings that point to several recommendations. Management support can help increase visibility of the program, commit needed resources, and communicate the importance of implementation efforts. Establishing a receptive implementation climate can be accomplished by emphasizing the important role that weight management may have in reducing incidence and severity of obesity-related chronic conditions. Coalescing highly functioning multi-disciplinary teams was an essential step for more effective implementation of MOVE!. In some situations, local champions can overcome challenging barriers in facilities that lack sufficient management support.


Key organizational factors at local VA medical centers were strongly associated with MOVE! implementation. Results pointed to recommendations that can help accelerate large-scale dissemination of complex weight management programs.