Inj Prev 12:357-359 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.014159
  • Research–practice gap
  • Commentary

Bridging the gap between research and practice: a continuing challenge

  1. S Mallonee1,
  2. C Fowler2,
  3. G R Istre3
  1. 1Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
  2. 2Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Health and School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms S Mallonee
 Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299, USA;suem{at}
  • Accepted 15 September 2006

More commitment to deal with the research–practice gap

How best to put evidence into effective practice to achieve an intended reduction in morbidity, mortality or disability has long been an issue of concern in research on injury field. Research-to-practice gaps have always existed and progress in this subject has been slow. Factors that contribute to this problem include lapses in communication between researchers and practitioners, and service delivery issues such as lack of public awareness, poor financing and a non-supportive political atmosphere. Scientific publications of research on intervention effectiveness, which do not provide information useful for widescale public health dissemination, also add to the problem.1 Additional issues cited by public health practitioners are that interventions may be too narrowly focused, complex, difficult and costly, or may not engage or meet the perceived needs of the community.2–4 Once established, prevention programs must be sustained with adequate infrastructure and long-term intensity, requiring substantial resource investment.2

The process described in the article by Brussoni et al5 (this issue, p 373), began with the academic team accessing systematic reviews or meta-analyses to synthesize information from existing research and evaluation studies on a specific topic (eg, smoke alarm programs) to determine effectiveness of strategies.6 The researchers then convened local practitioners, policy makers and other professionals with the goal of planning potential programmatic action to deal with a targeted injury problem for which prevention strategies have proved successful. The process culminated with the production of an “effective action briefing”. We applaud the authors and Injury Prevention for providing a forum to continue these discussions.

By providing summaries of a large number of research or evaluation studies, a well-conducted systematic review can be invaluable to practitioners. In public health, the focus on evidence-based interventions has led to several frameworks …

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