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A Health Equity Task Force (HETF) of members from seven Centers funded by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Implementation Science in Cancer Control Centers (ISC3) network sought to identify case examples of how Centers were applying a focus on health equity in implementation science to inform future research and capacity-building efforts.
HETF members at each ISC3 collected information on how health equity was conceptualized, operationalized, and addressed in initial research and capacity-building efforts across the seven ISC3 Centers funded in 2019–2020. Each Center completed a questionnaire assessing five health equity domains central to implementation science (e.g., community engagement; implementation science theories, models, and frameworks (TMFs); and engaging underrepresented scholars). Data generated illustrative examples from these five domains.
Centers reported a range of approaches focusing on health equity in implementation research and capacity-building efforts, including (1) engaging diverse community partners/settings in making decisions about research priorities and projects; (2) applying health equity within a single TMF applied across projects or various TMFs used in specific projects; (3) evaluating health equity in operationalizing and measuring health and implementation outcomes; (4) building capacity for health equity-focused implementation science among trainees, early career scholars, and partnering organizations; and (5) leveraging varying levels of institutional resources and efforts to engage, include, and support underrepresented scholars.
Examples of approaches to integrating health equity across the ISC3 network can inform other investigators and centers’ efforts to build capacity and infrastructure to support growth and expansion of health equity-focused implementation science.
Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program hubs are well-positioned to advance dissemination and implementation (D&I) research and training capacity nationally, though little is known about what D&I research support and services CTSAs provide. To address this gap, the CTSA Dissemination, Implementation, and Knowledge Transfer Working Group conducted an environmental scan of CTSAs (2017–2018).
Of 67 CTSA institutions, we contacted 43 that previously reported delivering D&I research services. D&I experts from these institutions were emailed a survey assessing D&I resources, services, training, and scientific projects. Responses were categorized and double-coded by study authors using a content analysis approach.
Thirty-five of the 43 D&I experts (81.4%) responded. Challenges to CTSAs in developing and supporting D&I science activities were related to inadequate D&I science workforce (45.7%) and lack of understanding of D&I science (25.7%). Services provided included consultation/mentoring programs (68%), pilot funding/grants (50%), and workshops/seminars/conferences (46%). Training and workforce development in D&I were frequently identified as future priorities. Recommendations included increase training to meet demand (68.6%), accessible D&I tools/resources (34.3%), greater visibility/awareness of D&I methods (34.3%), consultation services (22.9%), and expand D&I science workforce (22.9%).
CTSAs have tremendous potential to support the advancement and impact of D&I science across the translational continuum. Despite the growing presence of D&I science in CTSAs, continued commitment and prioritization are needed from CTSA and institutional leadership to raise awareness of D&I science and its value, meet training demands, and develop necessary infrastructure for conducting D&I science.
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has defined translation as the process of turning observations into interventions that are adopted, sustained, and improve health. Translation must attend to research and community systems and context at multiple levels, and to key stakeholders. Dissemination and implementation (D&I) sciences are informed by an understanding of the critical role of people and systems in disseminating, adopting, and sustaining innovations within real-world settings. Thus, the D&I sciences provides a set of principles that can guide the translational work of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) programs from basic research to public health. In this special communication, our cross-domain working group of the CTSA consortium, comprised of experts in methods and processes, workforce development, evaluation, stakeholder engagement, and D&I sciences, share a vision of how CTSAs can enhance translation across the translational spectrum through the integration of D&I sciences into the critical areas of methods and processes, workforce development, and evaluation. We propose a set of recommendations for NCATS national and local leaders that are intended to move D&I sciences out of a position of unfamiliarity and ancillary value and into the core identity of who CTSAs are, how they think, and what they do, to advance translation and health.
Implementation science offers a compelling value proposition to translational science. As such, many translational science stakeholders are seeking to recruit, teach, and train an implementation science workforce. The type of workforce that will make implementation happen consists of both implementation researchers and practitioners, yet little guidance exists on how to train such a workforce. We—members of the Advancing Dissemination and Implementation Sciences in CTSAs Working Group—present the Teaching For Implementation Framework to address this gap. We describe the differences between implementation researchers and practitioners and demonstrate what and how to teach them individually and in co-learning opportunities. We briefly comment on educational infrastructures and resources that will be helpful in furthering this type of approach.
Understanding, categorizing, and using implementation science theories, models, and frameworks is a complex undertaking. The issues involved are even more challenging given the large number of frameworks and that some of them evolve significantly over time. As a consequence, researchers and practitioners may be unintentionally mischaracterizing frameworks or basing actions and conclusions on outdated versions of a framework.
This paper addresses how the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework has been described, summarizes how the model has evolved over time, and identifies and corrects several misconceptions.
We address 13 specific areas where misconceptions have been noted concerning the use of RE-AIM and summarize current guidance on these issues. We also discuss key changes to RE-AIM over the past 20 years, including the evolution to Pragmatic Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model, and provide resources for potential users to guide application of the framework.
RE-AIM and many other theories and frameworks have evolved, been misunderstood, and sometimes been misapplied. To some degree, this is inevitable, but we conclude by suggesting some actions that reviewers, framework developers, and those selecting or applying frameworks can do to prevent or alleviate these problems.
Dissemination and implementation (D&I) science is dedicated to studying how to effectively translate and apply research in real-world contexts. There has been increasing interest in health equity within the D&I field to ensure the equitable implementation of evidence-based programs/practices across a range of diverse populations and settings. At the same time, health equity researchers recognize the potential of D&I science to promote the more widespread dissemination, implementation, and sustainment of evidence-based interventions to address health inequities. The National Center for Accelerating Clinical and Translational Science Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program has been a champion for community engagement and translational scholarship in its mission to improve individual and population health. The overall CTSA infrastructure and resources within and among CTSA hubs are well-equipped to facilitate a health equity focus to D&I across the phases of translational research. This paper proposes a framework that demonstrates the interaction and opportunities between health equity and D&I science and highlights how CTSAs can support and facilitate wider efforts in translational research with a focus on equitable D&I.
We conducted a content analysis of public comments to understand the key framing approaches used by private industry v. public health sector, with the goal of informing future public health messaging, framing and advocacy in the context of policy making.
Comments to the proposed menu-labelling policy were extracted from Regulations.gov and analysed. A framing matrix was used to organize and code key devices and themes. Documents were analysed using content analysis with Dedoose software.
Recent national nutrition-labelling regulations in the USA provide a timely opportunity to understand message framing in relation to obesity prevention and policy.
We examined a total of ninety-seven documents submitted on behalf of organizations (private industry, n 64; public health, n 33).
Public health focused on positive health consequences of the policy, used a social justice frame and supported its arguments with academic data. Industry was more critical of the policy; it used a market justice frame that emphasized minimal regulation, depicted its members as small, family-run businesses, and illustrated points with humanizing examples.
Public health framing should counter and consider engaging directly with non-health-related arguments made by industry. Public health should include more powerful framing devices to convey their messages, including metaphors and humanizing examples.