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Vol. LX, No. 1
January 11, 2008

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OBSSR Holds First Dissemination Conference

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research recently hosted a conference on Building the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in the Service of Public Health. Held in partnership with NIMH, NCI, NIDA, NIAAA and NICHD, the 2-day conference gathered more than 500 people attending in person and hundreds more viewing the simultaneous webcast.

OBSSR director Dr. David Abrams says interest in the conference indicates the resonance of important themes with the research community. “Now is the time for us to recognize that we are not doing nearly enough to get what we know into everyday practice to impact the health of the American people at the population level,” he said. “The convergence of concerns about rising health care costs, lack of quality care and increasing disparities in access and quality of care has created a crisis which is ripe for action based on scientific evidence.”

Abrams identified building the science of dissemination and implementation— at the basic and mechanistic levels and the applied population-impact level—as critical. “If we are going to be able to take what we know and find ways to implement it effectively and efficiently with the ambitious goal of changing population health in just one generation, this emerging area of science will hold the key,” he said.

The conference gathered experts in a range of fields to showcase the state of dissemination and implementation science; identify challenges in theories, methods and practice; and foster new partnerships among diverse scholars. “This is an inherently interdisciplinary field,” noted keynote speaker Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Ottawa.

Progress will involve unique collaborations among clinical, health services, organizational, engineering and methodological researchers, among others. The conference sought to begin to build these bridges.

The idea for the conference emerged from a growing synergy between an existing trans-NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement, which aims to support dissemination and implementation research, and the launch of OBSSR’s new strategic prospectus. The prospectus sees increasing the science of implementation as a key avenue for moving behavioral and social science forward.

To continue the momentum from this kickoff, OBSSR has committed to five annual conferences on the science of implementation. Abrams said, “Strengthening the science of dissemination and the dissemination of science is necessary to ensure demonstrable and tangible benefits of the biomedical and behavioral scientific enterprise to the health of our nation.” In its work across disease-specific research, OBSSR hopes to reach out to even more NIH institutes in the development of future conferences.

Those working outside and within NIH hailed the significance and success of the conference. Noting the filled-to-capacity conference, Dr. Robert Croyle, director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, remarked, “This kind of response points to the rising interest in strengthening the science of dissemination and the dissemination of science. It is a critical area of research right now both here at NIH and externally.”

For more on the conference, see— NIHRecord Icon

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