Far too often in public health, there is a gap between knowing and doing – i.e., between the time discoveries that would benefit people’s health are made and when they are put into practice. At the Gillings School, we are impatient for change that improves public health. That’s why more than 100 people across the School conduct research on implementation. Timely adoption of proven solutions for the world’s great public health threats can save lives. Getting these solutions to people faster and more efficiently saves even more lives.

What is Implementation Science?

Implementation science is the study of methods to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions and policies into routine health care and public health settings.

Implementation research involves looking at barriers and constraints, identifying potential solutions to those barriers, testing the solutions and integrating those solutions. IR addresses scale, feasibility, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, health maintenance, acceptability, equity, coverage, access, and compliance of programs and interventions.

Current Research

Implementation science is one of the most important areas of growth in public health and we have outstanding expertise across the Gillings School of Global Public Health. It has become increasingly clear that evidence-based interventions are rarely adopted on their own merits.  Researchers may discover how to address a specific problem, but many implementation bottlenecks (social, behavioral, economic, and management) stand in the way of quickly and efficiently integrating the research findings into clinical practice and public health programs. At the Gillings School, we are putting science into service to get our research findings and effective interventions to the people who need them. Over 100 Gillings School faculty members are engaged in implementation science research and many of our students participate in the Implementation Science Student Group (ISSG), a graduate student organization that seeks to increase exposure to high quality implementation science research, training, and resources and organizes the Implementation Science Seminar Series.

MEASURE Evaluation, a large practical research program, is led by a team of Gillings School faculty members and funded by USAID to strengthen capacity in developing countries to gather, interpret, and use data to improve health. It’s one of the largest implementation science programs anywhere.

Additional Research in the Field of Implementation Science

Implementing Innovations in Global Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health: Realizing the Potential for Implementation Science

Pence, Hosseinipour to lead NIMH grant on mental health treatment in sub-Saharan Africa

Study finds infants prescribed antibiotics less frequently following implementation of vaccination programs

Tracking implementation strategies: a description of a practical approach and early findings

Finding what works: identification of implementation strategies for the integration of methadone maintenance therapy and HIV services in Vietnam

Can Learning Collaboratives Support Implementation by Rewiring Professional Networks?

Gillings WHO Collaborating Center awarded multimillion-dollar DHHS grant for implementation science

Implementation Science Courses

The following list highlights implementation science courses that are offered at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Additional courses in implementation science are offered through the School of Nursing, Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Media and Journalism, School of Education, and School of Social Work. A comprehensive list of those courses can be found here.

  • HBHE 730 Theoretical Foundations of Social and Behavioral Science
  • HBHE 772 Planning Public Health Interventions
  • HPM 320 Introduction to Strategic Planning and Marketing
  • HPM 620 Implementing Health Informatics Initiatives
  • HPM 767 Disseminating Evidence and Innovation in Cancer Care
  • HPM 955 Strategic Thinking and Implementation
  • ENVR 683 Water-Health Research I
  • PUBH 767 Team Leadership in Research Navigation
  • PUBH 717 Gillings Global Implementation Lab
  • PUBH 716 Implementing Global Health Interventions
  • PUBH 730 Quality Improvement and Leadership
  • MHCH 890 Implementation Science for Global Maternal & Child Health

Highlighted Leaders in the Field