Academic journal article Generations

External Validity and Translation from Research to Implementation

Academic journal article Generations

External Validity and Translation from Research to Implementation

Article excerpt

One of the greatest challenges is overcoming the considerable hurdles of translating research findings into evidence-based practices.

The translation of scientifically tested research findings to community programs is often slow, fragmented, and subject to interpretation by the practitioner community (Prohaska, Peters, and Warren, 2000). As a result, only a small portion of published interventions developed for older adults become evidence-based programs and fewer yet become widely adopted in either clinic or community settings. Many programs with documented efficacy and effectiveness often experience years of delay in the progression from research to practice.

One of the greatest challenges for health promotion and disease prevention for older adults is overcoming the considerable hurdles of translating research findings into evidence-based practices that are widely disseminated, implemented, and ultimately maintained (Kerner, Rimer, and Emmons, 2005). Despite the health benefits shown by numerous clinical trials on health promotion interventions for older adults; there exists a lack of understanding of the needs of health care practitioners and community providers in their consideration of adopting, implementing, and maintaining these programs in their settings. The objective of this article is to provide an overview of issues and recommend strategies that facilitate the translation and dissemination of evidence-based health promotion interventions into community settings. Specifically, we will define and describe the overall process of translation of research interventions into community settings; identify key issues and barriers in translation and dissemination of research to practice; apply the RE-AIM framework to research translation and program dissemination; and provide strategies to facilitate translation of research into widely disseminated and maintained evidence-based programs.

Definitions of translational research and evidence-based programs

Several definitions of translation and translation research are relevant here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define translational research as a process of institutionalizing evidence-based public health interventions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). Institutionalization is the process by which evidence-based programs are applied across settings, populations, and conditions not previously applied. Translation has also been defined as the science of the acceleration of research to its useful application (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 2009). It has also been used as a term to reference the multi-phased process by which research-generated knowledge, directly or indirectly relevant to health outcomes, serves the general public (Sussman, et al., 2006). The concept of implementing intervention programs in other, more diverse older groups and settings is a fundamental component of translation of research to practice. Similarly, the process of facilitating the speed in which successful programs for older adults are implemented in community practice is also a primary objective in translational research.

The National Institutes of Health have identified two major areas of translation research. Type I translation applies to the transition of research findings resulting from highly controlled laboratory and preclinical research to the development and testing of treatment and prevention approaches. It is generally called "bench to bedside" and refers to applying discoveries generated through basic science research to the development and testing of preventive and treatment interventions.

Type II translation is aimed at enhancing adoption, implementation, and sustainability of effective practice into real world applications in community settings (Rohrbach, et al., 2006). This article focuses on Type II translation with a specific focus on evidence-based health promotion and chronic disease management programs in community settings for older adults. …

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