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3 Pioneers in the Field of Implementation Science 

Published: June 17th, 2024

Category: General

Individuals who work in implementation science are tasked with an essential role: bridging the gap between recent research findings and practical implementation in real-world settings. 

Whether you’re implementing new diabetes management strategies in areas where the condition is prevalent or increasing vaccination rates among children in underserved communities, implementation scientists work tirelessly to create interventions that improve the quality of life for people in a diverse range of settings. 

But how did implementation science become the successful field that it is today? 

Several esteemed pioneers paved the way to create an impactful industry that’s improving the way we implement medical interventions all over the world. Today, we’re exploring three professionals who’ve made significant contributions along the way. 

#1 Everett Rogers 

In 1962, sociologist Everett Rogers published a book called “Diffusions of Innovations.” In the book, he explored the “Diffusion of Innovations Theory,” which explained how, why and at what rate new ideas are spread through cultures over time, from ideation to widespread adoption.  

According to his theory, there are five main types of people responsible for spreading an idea to the world: 

  • Innovators 
    Innovators consist of individuals who are the most open to trying new ideas. 
  • Early adopters 
    Early adopters are visionaries who can visualize the potential innovations a new idea or trend can bring to society. 
  • Early majority 
    After seeing evidence of success, the early majority is more willing to jump on the bandwagon and adopt the new idea. This sector of the theory accounts for approximately 34% of the population
  • Late majority 
    The late majority is more skeptical of adopting new ideas, only implementing them after society accepts them. 
  • Laggards 
    Those bound by traditional interventions are the most resistant to change and only use recent innovations when absolutely necessary. 

Rogers’ theory has helped many implementation scientists better understand how society adopts interventions and the pace at which they are likely to spread. 

#2 Enola Proctor 

Enola Proctor is a pioneer in implementation science who’s completed extensive research and crafted publications on the outcomes of implementations. Her findings provide effective frameworks that evaluate the success of implementation efforts across various industries. 

The key implementation outcomes mentioned in her studies include: 

  • Acceptability 
    Acceptability refers to whether the people implementing and benefiting from the intervention like the idea of the initiative. 
  • Adoption 
    Adoption refers to whether people decide to start using the new intervention. 
  • Appropriateness 
    This factor assesses if the intervention or program aligns with the specific situation it set out to improve. 
  • Feasibility 
    Feasibility determines whether the intervention can be used in a given setting with the resources and conditions available. 
  • Fidelity 
    Fidelity refers to whether the intervention remains on task, using the implementation exactly as it was designed. 
  • Implementation cost 
    This factor assesses the amount of funds it will take to put the intervention into action. 
  • Penetration 
    Penetration measures how extensively the intervention is used within its intended setting. 
  • Sustainability 
    Sustainability determines if the program can be maintained in a long-term capacity. 

#3 Russell E. Glasgow 

Russell E. Glasgow is most certainly a pioneer who has made impactful contributions to the field of implementation science. His RE-AIM planning and evaluation framework has been cited in over 2,800 publications since its creation in the late 1990s. It is widely used in public-health-related interventions. 

The acronym RE-AIM stands for: 

  • Reach 
    Reach refers to the total number of individuals who participate in an intervention, assessing whether it has reached its intended population. 
  • Effectiveness 
    This component measures the impact of the intervention on several important outcomes, such as potential negative effects and whether it met its original goals. 
  • Adoption 
    Adoption refers to the willingness of healthcare providers and other stakeholders to utilize the intervention. 
  • Implementation 
    This dimension assesses if the intervention is being implemented as it was originally designed. 
  • Maintenance 
    Maintenance reviews the extent to which a behavior is sustained for six or more months after the intervention and if the program becomes institutionalized as one of the organization’s practices or policies. 

Find Your Path in Implementation Science at UF 

While many noteworthy professionals have contributed to the success of the implementation science field, there are still countless advancements being made in the field today. Whether you’re looking to transition into implementation science or advance within your current role, the University of Florida’s online Graduate Certificate in Implementation Science can help you pave the way to a lucrative career in a quickly expanding industry. 

Our 11-credit graduate certificate consists of four relevant courses that explore fundamental concepts of research designs commonly used in translational health research and explain key ideas that will help you successfully conduct implementation science studies. 

As a virtual student, you can complete the program in as little as two semesters or at a pace that aligns with your busy schedule. Contact us for more information, and when you’re ready, take the next step and fill out an application

Sources: 
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/diffusion-of-innovations-theory.asp
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/early-majority.asp
https://implementationscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13012-023-01286-z
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30984733/