News & Updates



Volume 50 Number 4 
Fall 2017

News & Updates

Written by Pamela S. Imm,


Almost 20 years ago at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Abe Wandersman and two graduate students, Matt Chinman and Pam Imm responded to a request from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to develop a manual that would facilitate community planning, implementation, and evaluation in communities funded to reduce alcohol and drug use. The first manual, Getting To Outcomes:  Methods and Tools for Self Assessment and Accountability was launched for those communities receiving funds for the Drug Free Communities and Support Program. The GTO model (GTO®)[1] is based on a series of 10 accountability questions which includes key elements of planning, implementation and evaluation.  Over the years, the authors have partnered with a variety of state agencies, local organizations and foundations to customize GTO for different content areas (e.g., underage drinking, youth development, home visiting programs, pregnancy prevention).

GTO is an operation of empowerment evaluation theory (Fetterman and Wandersman, 2005), which states that positive results are more likely when program implementers receive the opportunity and support to plan, implement, and evaluate their own programs. Getting To Outcomes (GTO) was developed to address the gap between prevention research and practice by building capacity (self-efficacy, attitudes, and behaviors) at the individual and program levels for effective prevention practices (e.g., choosing evidence-based practices; and planning, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining those practices). 

Over the years Drs. Wandersman, Chinman, and Imm have developed and conducted face-to-face training, onsite technical assistance modules, and various implementation support tools designed to improve the quality of programs. The GTO team in collaboration with partners have received research funding to test the effectiveness of GTO as a model to achieve positive results. The GTO system and related research are available free of charge at the RAND website, 

Most recently, SAMHSA has identified GTO as a best practice implementation framework and features it on their Learning Center at the following link


Chinman, M., Hunter, S. B., Ebener, P., Paddock, S. M., Stillman, L., Imm, P., & Wandersman, A. (2008). The Getting to Outcomes demonstration and evaluation: An illustration of the prevention support system. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41(3-4), 206-224.

Fetterman, D.M., and Wandersman, A. (2005). Empowerment evaluation in practice(pp. 123-154). New York, NY: Guilford.

[1] Getting To Outcomes and GTO are trademarks registered by University of South Carolina and RAND