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.