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Marking Five Great Years of D&I Training

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We at the Implementation Science Team are now on the other side of the 5th Annual Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH), held in the last week of July in Pasadena, California.  Co-hosted by Kaiser Foundation Research Institute and the Cancer Research Network, TIDIRH brought together 41 trainees from across the United States, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and other such places, for a week of presentations from core and guest faculty members, small group exercises, and dedicated work on individual dissemination and implementation (D&I) research projects.

From my perspective, the goals of TIDIRH are multiple: 1) to provide intensive training on the core components of conducting D&I research; 2) to engage faculty from host institutions with expertise in D&I science; 3) to encourage trainees to return to their home institutions and local networks and lead additional D&I research training there, and 4) to foster high-quality studies in response to ongoing research funding opportunities.  After five years, we have been excited by the progress of many of the 200 or so trainees who have now completed the weeklong training.  An increasing number have joined the ranks of successful NIH and VA grantees, funded by small, medium and large research grants, career development awards, and other opportunities.  TIDIRH alumni have developed new resources for the field to improve accessibility of models and measures, among other things.  TIDIRH alumni have also developed lectures, webinars, and courses to educate the next generation of D&I researchers. 

We’ve recognized both the strengths and the limitations of this training model.  On the plus side, it has brought together cohorts of investigators new to implementation science, but with a diverse set of experiences, expertise and interests that have made learners not only of the trainees but of the participating core and guest faculty, as well.  Trainees have worked together with funders and subject matter experts to advance their research concepts and, through exposure to a range of frameworks, methods, measures and examples of studies, have been in a better position to create fundable applications.  At the same time, we’ve recognized that the 200 trainees are dwarfed in numbers by the several thousand applicants for whom there hasn’t been space.  The weeklong course has provided a base level of understanding for trainees, but should there be a mechanism for ongoing support of our alumni, too.  Finally, we know that much of the strength in implementation science comes from the collaborations across research, practice and policy, while TIDIRH has almost exclusively focused on training for researchers.  

Akin to where we were following the first five Conferences on Advancing the Science of Dissemination and Implementation, we again find ourselves navigating crossroads.  We see the great value in the TIDIRH program as it has evolved (and we believe improved) over the five years, but are interested in additional efficient and effective ways to optimize the training opportunities for our broader community.  With that, we turn our eyes and ears to the community itself. 

Please join us in sharing your thoughts about needs and preferences for dissemination and implementation research training:  How can we:

  • foster ongoing connections among trainees,
  • consider alternative models for mentoring, and
  • support those in a position to train others with the resources they need to be successful in further building the field’s capacity?  

Let us know your questions and suggestions related to TIDIRH and other D&I research training efforts. 


Thanks, David, for keeping us

Thanks, David, for keeping us in the loop on these things.

I was fortunate enough to be a trainee in the most recent (and apparently best) TIDIRH program. I thought it was an outstanding experience and it is hard for me to imagine how you could get much more value out of that format.

Along those lines, I'd hate to see TIDIRH go away. I'm assuming you're considering supplementing TIDIRH in some way?

To your points about ongoing connections and mentoring and capacity building, I think these things are all great ideas for maintaining engagement and commitment to the field (if that is at all a problem). For those that clearly are engaged and motivated to contribute, maybe there should be some sort of mechanism for facilitating and encouraging that.


Hi David and other

Hi David and other TIDIRHers,

I  have benefitted tremendously from the training in 2013. I was successful in getting funded for my implementation RCT in cancer prevention based on the project I refined during the training. Thanks very much to the superb faculty and design used to help us hone our skills in IS.

Having said that, I am acutely aware that many others are or unable to attend due to a combination of system, financial, provider, learner barriers. So as you describe, we have problems with scale up and I wonder if we apply an Implementation Science model to address this problem? 

I have been transforming my inperson  5 day intensive training to an online course/ community ( and believe a well designed on line course ( ensuring that the active ingredients are not lost) and community of practice can address all the questions you have posed.  Since 2013 we have trained about 500 learners with about half the budget . Timeline for development is 52 weeks for about 40 hours of content. Our preliminary results suggest that there is no difference between the two at 6 months while addressing our wait list. Satisfaction amongst faculty is good as well. Once the online course is developed ( 52 weeks depending on depth and complexity) multiple iterations can run simultaneously facilitated by a trained faculty member. Therefore this can become a resource that new practice leaders can then use to train their learners in turn potentially creating a force multiplier effect in IS competencies. Accreditation can be offered by the host institution if needed.

The interactivity between learners and between mentors and learners can be fostered on a state of the art learning platform and allows for one to many and many to many. Certainly there need to drivers for the activity but they are not onerous. It addresses the barriers of time zone, connectivity speeds, travel, availability of key faculty and also creates equal access to experts from beyond the home insititution without needing the expert to travel across the country.

I do hope we can collectively address this wicked problem of success and the need to scale up.







Addendum actually since 2013


actually since 2013 we have trained 865 learners over 9 courses. Sorry about that. in person offerings we train about 250 per year with two offerings per year.


Thanks both to Aaron and

Thanks both to Aaron and Peter for sharing your experiences, both in TIDIRH and beyond.  We are acutely aware of the benefits of the intensive discussions that have formed the basis of our in-person training activities for dissemination and implementation research, as well as the drive for greater accessibility, flexibility, and efficiency to meet more needs of the growing research and practice community.  Terrific to see that models are continuing to be developed, like what Peter shares above, and that hybrid approaches combining face-to-face, remote and even asyncronous methods can all be employed to serve the needs of the field.  We are of course wanting (with the help of our broader community) to think through next steps for training, and greatly appreciate these comments and the suggestions of others to come.  Please do keep the discussion going so we can benefit from everyone's experience and expertise.


I'm so glad to see that

I'm so glad to see that TIDIRH is going strong!  I feel very lucky to have participated back in 2011 as a post-doc - the training facilitated collaborations, and helped me launch my first D&I study. 

Since then, I began a faculty position and was asked to teach a doctoral class on D&I research here at our College of Social Work (Ohio State). When outlining the syllabus, I borrowed heavily from TIDIRH and IRI. The general structure of both training institutes mapped on to a traditional semester calendar neatly, and the materials distributed (slides, handouts, articles) came in very handy (thank you!). It took a little while for us to reach that realization that D&I extends far beyond fidelity monitoring in an RCT, but we got there. And since social work doctoral students bring a wide range of interests, it was fun to see applications of D&I questions, designs, and methods to human service contexts that might not have as much D&I research activity yet.

While I'm excited to be able to bring D&I to my home institution, I realize that my class is just a class... and I wonder how many students will actually pursue D&I research. Based on findings in our field, we know that that it’s tough to take what you learn in a class or training and apply it in a meaningful way without the support of your colleagues, mentors, and general institutional context. To optimize the impact of TIDIRH and other D&I training programs (especially for students and early career scholars), I feel as though we still need some supports from our home institutions... a well-connected, critical mass of researchers at our home institutions (at all levels) who also do D&I research or can at least provide informed assessment/feedback when reviewing dissertations, papers, grant proposals, and tenure materials. So perhaps the next era of D&I training might target institutional (in addition to invidividual investigator) capacity for D&I. 



I want to take this

I want to take this opportunity to share some information with the R2R community about the Mentored Training in Dissemination and Implementation Research in Cancer (MT-DIRC) program at Washington University in St. Louis. MT-DIRC is an exciting training program for cancer control researchers who are interested in gaining expertise in dissemination and implementation science. Our fellows are early to mid-career PhDs or MDs. We currently have 28 fellows enrolled in the program who come from a wide variety of disciplines as well as geographic areas (we currently have 3 international fellows- Canada & Australia!).

The MT-DIRC program is uniquely positioned to build capacity in D&I research in cancer prevention and control. It is significant because it addresses cancer risk factors and populations with high burden, where intervention knowledge on evidence-based programs and policies is substantial, yet not commonly applied, and where a large reduction in cancer mortality is feasible if this knowledge was more widely taken up. The MT-DIRC program also uses evidence-based mentor training to equip its faculty to be better and engaging mentors to our fellows during their time in the program. We have partnered with Christine Pfund, a mentoring education expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to provide training to both our mentors & fellows.


Every year, we accept 12-15 researchers into the program for a two-year tenure. Benefits of this program include attending an intensive one-week on-site training during June each year of the program (for a total of two times); access to limited pilot funds during first year of the program; monthly mentoring meetings throughout the duration of the program with an assigned mentor/expert in the field of Dissemination and Implementation; access to a large network of D&I researchers and resources.

For more information about the program, please visit our website: . Here you can read the profiles of our faculty members as well as our current cohort of fellows. Our blog highlights some of the experiences our fellows have encountered during their time in the MT- DIRC program. We have also highlighted our team and fellows accomplishments as well as links to additional resources.

We recently published an article on our competency development for D&I research training, which can be found here:  We are continuing to refine and enhance this work and have more information in development for the broader D&I community.


We are currently recruiting for our 2016 cohort. Applications will be available on our website starting Nov. 2nd, 2015. Applications are due Monday, January 11th 2016 and applicants will be notified of their acceptance by late February. Our 2016 June institute will be taking place June 6th-10th in St. Louis, MO.


If you have any additional questions about the MT-DIRC program or would like more information, please contact our Program Coordinator, Maggie Padek at

Cheers, Ross Brownson

Training programs are an

Training programs are an important component of advancing the science and building the practice of dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices and programs. In addition to those listed above or others that have been mentioned over the past few weeks (thank you!), seniors members on the editorial board for the journal Implementation Science recently published an editorial ( expressing renewed interest in manuscripts that describe education and training materials for implementation science. Importantly, as they note, “we are most interested in manuscripts that describe the rigorous (i.e., using systematic, replicable, and valid methods) development and/or evaluation of educational and training interventions and resources to build capacity in the science or practice of evidence implementation in health care.” Further, they are interested in studies that examine how to build capacity in the science of implementation (e.g., graduate curricula) and/or the practice of implementation (e.g., continuing professional educational courses).

We encourage you to consider submitting a manuscript on this topic if you have conducted studies on training in implementation science and/or practice, and look forward to sharing more information about D&I training opportunities as they continue to be developed and reported on in the field!