Although experts know the best evidence-based strategies to treat many conditions, health care providers do not always practice those strategies. How to conduct research to close this gap (called dissemination and implementation health research) will be the subject of a five-day training session that the National Institutes of Health will hold Aug. 1-5, 2011.

The sessions, the first NIH Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health, will feature a faculty of leading experts from a variety of behavioral and social science disciplines. Participants will develop a thorough knowledge of how to conduct dissemination and implementation health research. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention will host the institute at its Rizzo Conference Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Such research addresses one of the most critical issues hindering improvements in public health today — the enormous gap between the best evidence-based strategies to improve health and the methods used in clinical and public health practice. For example, two-thirds of people with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively, even though experts have identified the best practices for doing so.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), part of NIH, collaborated with the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health to sponsor the training institute. Drawing from a variety of behavioral and social science disciplines, dissemination and implementation research uses approaches and methods that in the past have not been taught comprehensively in most graduate degree programs.

Dissemination research is the systematic study of the processes and factors that lead to widespread use of evidence-based interventions (based on findings gleaned from rigorous scientific methods) by the target population. Implementation research seeks to understand the factors associated with integration of evidence-based interventions in particular settings (e.g., worksite or school) and also examines whether the components of the original intervention were faithfully transported to the real-world setting. The training institute was developed to increase research capacity, as a natural outgrowth of NIH's annual conference on the science of dissemination and implementation.

"We're not employing all the benefits from modern treatments and medications. To change this, NIH is committed to investing in the relatively new, rigorous science of dissemination and implementation. If we can accelerate these sciences, we can have a great impact on improving our health and well-being. This training institute will help empower scientists to conduct this research," said Robert M. Kaplan, Ph.D., the director of OBSSR and NIH associate director for behavioral and social sciences research.

Topics include: designing for dissemination and implementation; design, measurement and evaluation; global health; participatory approaches to dissemination and implementation; addressing health disparities; cost effectiveness and economics and dissemination and implementation in the context of health care reform. Applications are being accepted through April 15, 2011. To register and for more information on the agenda and faculty, please visit:

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise, thereby improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit