The traditional view of the pathway from research to practice suggests linear development of interventions emerging from basic science insights, testing of those interventions through specific stages of investigative trials, publication of those results, and then consideration of how the interventions may be adopted, implemented and sustained in clinical and community systems of care. As implementation science has emerged to more systematically understand and improve the fit of research discoveries with service delivery, questions have arisen about the value of this pathway and the implications of the assumptions that an intervention can be fully “ready for implementation.” This presentation will present an overview to implementation science, review progress made in recent years of funding, training, and conceptual advances, and then critically examine where the field is headed in its effort to improve health and healthcare. We will consider the impact of traditional assumptions about the research development process on the ultimate ability to optimize the use of research findings and evidence-based interventions. In addition, we will discuss the need for a more dynamic, evolutionary consideration of the evidence base and the design, use and sustainment of health interventions. Reviewing recent efforts in the field to reconsider this terrain, the author will discuss future directions for the field and research opportunities for advancing these ideas.
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