UNC hosts inaugural training institute on dissemination research and implementation science

August 17, 2011
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Dr. Alice Ammerman

Dr. Alice Ammerman

Thirty-four researchers from around the country gathered in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 1-5 to participate in the Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health, hosted by the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP). The Center is directed by Alice Ammerman, DrPH, professor of nutrition in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The Institute is a new federally sponsored 5-day workshop that aims to introduce resources, enhance skills and provide strategies for those involved in dissemination and implementation research.
 
The training institute focuses on connecting the gap between research and practice by increasing researchers’ abilities to conduct dissemination and implementation research. Dissemination research is the systematic study of processes and factors that lead to widespread use of an evidence-based intervention (such as a stop-smoking or physical activity program). Implementation research seeks to understand the impact of the processes and factors associated with successfully integrating an evidence-based intervention in a particular setting, such as at a school or work site.
 
Dr. Carmen Samuel-Hodge

Dr. Carmen Samuel-Hodge

Carmen Samuel-Hodge, PhD, research assistant professor of nutrition and HPDP investigator, described how Weight-Wise, a program she developed that has resulted in significant weight loss for participants, has been implemented in local health departments. Samuel-Hodge studied the implementation of the program and found that it was about as successful when conducted by trained health department staff members as when conducted by the research team.

 
Dr. Marci Campbell

Dr. Marci Campbell

Marci Campbell, PhD, professor of nutrition, member and program leader for prevention and control at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and principal investigator for HPDP’s HOPE projects, described how community-based participatory research can guide translation and dissemination. Campbell presented an overview of the nearly 18-year partnership between the HOPE project team and women in eastern North Carolina, which mutually has benefitted researchers and the communities in which they work.

 
Originating in 1993 as Health Works for Women, Campbell’s project, now called Seeds of HOPE, examines how support groups can help women achieve their goals for health, financial success and happiness. “We would never be here without the community,” said Campbell, who received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the project. “It all came from the community. We listened.”
 
Kristen Hasmiller Lich, PhD, assistant professor, and professors Joseph P. Morrissey, PhD, and Bryan Weiner, PhD, all in the UNC public health school’s Department of Health Policy and Management, also served on the Institute faculty, as did Timothy Carey, MD, director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services research and adjunct faculty member in the School’s epidemiology department.
 
“The training provided us with a wealth of useful information, from theoretical frameworks to examples of high-quality, rigorous dissemination and implementation research studies in the field,” said Lori Carter-Edwards, deputy director for research and operations at HPDP and a workshop participant. “Just as important, we had the opportunity to engage with the training program faculty who are leaders in this emerging field, and begin building networks with a cohort of colleagues with similar research interests.”
 
The Institute is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR); the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), organizations within the National Institutes of Health; and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The conveners chose HPDP to host the inaugural event because of its experience with dissemination and implementation research. The workshop will take place annually at different locations across the country.
 
 

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.