One of the greatest challenges for improving population health is ensuring that new innovations and discoveries are used in the real world and reach those most in need. For the country and world to benefit from investments in research and discovery, we must do a better job of accelerating and improving their use in clinical and community settings. UTHealth Houston is leading efforts to close this “research-to-practice” gap with the launch of the UTHealth Houston Institute for Implementation Science.
“Despite substantial and rapid advances in health innovations we’ve seen in recent years, there is still a significant research-to-practice gap across all health science disciplines, including public health and medicine. We simply aren’t always doing what we know works,” said Maria E. Fernández, PhD, inaugural co-director of the institute. “This greatly limits our ability to improve health and quality of life. Implementation science, as a field, has the potential to bridge this gap and help us turn research into effective clinical and public health practice and policy.”
UTHealth Houston faculty include experts and global leaders in implementation science, as well as researchers with expertise in scientific disciplines necessary to conduct transdisciplinary dissemination and implementation research. The institute will bring these experts together to conduct research and to train more health scientists in the discipline, developing a network of researchers to conduct implementation research and boost UTHealth Houston’s profile as a leader in the field.
“With the establishment of the UTHealth Houston Institute for Implementation Science, President Giuseppe Colasurdo has set us on a course to improve population health in Texas, the nation, and the world,” said Bijal Balasubramanian, MBBS, PhD, inaugural co-director of the institute. “Our aim is to be a world leader in implementation science.”
The institute is composed of an administrative core, a research core focused on research initiatives and training, and a practice core focused on putting knowledge into the hands of health practitioners. Under the research core, the institute hosts an annual implementation science seminar series and workshop. The 2022 event is underway now and open for registration.
The practice core will collaborate with clinical and community partners, as well as existing UTHealth Houston programs, such as the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and various centers and institutes across UTHealth Houston, to create a network of “co-laboratories.” This innovative form of mutually beneficial partnerships will go beyond individual collaborations, allowing for two-way learning between health care/community organizations and academic researchers for broader and more efficient research and implementation.
“The Institute for Implementation Science will accelerate delivery of evidence-based innovations into practice and takes advantage of the world-class faculty expertise here at UTHealth Houston,” said Kevin Morano, PhD, the university’s senior vice president and chief academic officer ad interim. “I urge colleagues with an interest in this fast-growing area to explore affiliation with the institute.”
The institute is seeking members from all UTHealth Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center departments. Membership is open to faculty at both institutions. To become a member, visit https://www.uth.edu/implementation-science/membership.