Iowa Board of Regents

Request for UI Implementation Science Center

At its June meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval of a new center at the University of Iowa. If approved, the university will establish the Implementation Science Center (ISC), establishing a central home for the emerging field of implementation science. 

Implementation science is a growing field in the health sciences defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as “the study of methods to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies into routine health care and public health settings to improve our impact on population health.” The ISC would build on current strengths in the Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy and others at UI to create a collaborative, innovative space. 

Key to the project is support of evidence-based practice in rural health. While implementation science is rapidly expanding, less attention has been paid to the uptake of evidence-based practices and the latest research in rural settings. UI is well-situated to contribute to expanding implementation science into rural health due to its geographic location and the rural focus of many of its centers and institutes on campus. However, none have a specific focus on the science of implementation—studying the organization and behavioral factors that contribute to ensuring research and evidence reaches all who could benefit.

“As a research institution with multiple health science colleges, we are continually contributing to the evidence base for preventing and treating disease,” said Dr. Heather Schacht Reisinger, UI professor of internal medicine. Reisinger will direct the center upon Board approval. “We also recognize what we develop and test at UI may not translate easily for a family physician who is serving her town and the surrounding area. Implementation science seeks to answer those questions—how to we translate these research findings to your setting—and improve everyone’s access to the latest evidence-based care.”

Additionally, many funding agencies from NIH, Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and Health Resources and Services Administration are supporting a growing number of implementation science requests for applications. The ISC will assist faculty and staff across the university in preparing and applying for these funding opportunities.

Implementation science is a rapidly growing field and UI has the unique opportunity to contribute to innovations in the field through the ISC. The ISC will strive for a “Transformative Societal Impact” through these unique innovations to ensure all Iowans have access to evidence-based healthcare and public health.

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