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Improvement and Implementation Science
in the Learning Health System

Course Description

This course provides a framework for examining improvement and implementation science and its application to clinical and community-based research. Because improvement and implementation science are rooted in real world clinical and community settings, the focus of the course is twofold:

  • First, the course focuses on examining different study designs in improvement and implementation science, and the strengths and limitations of different approaches.
  • Second, the course provides real world experience for the students by pairing them with a researcher and a topic expert to design an improvement and implementation science approach and dissemination activities that address a real-world clinical or community concern.

To meet these objectives, students will develop an implementation science proposal that addresses a real world clinical or community issue, in consultation with a researcher and a topic expert. Topic experts may include a collaborating clinician, community agency/group representative, technical expert, or Citizen Scientist. Students already conducting research that could benefit from improvement and implementation science may choose to select their own topics and collaborators. Students may also select topics through the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Learning Health System-Implementation Science (LHS-IS) Program, the Quality Improvement Project Registry (QIPR), and other UF Health initiatives. The engagement of researchers is essential to ensure that the appropriate scientific expertise is available to guide the development of the proposal. The engagement of topic experts is essential to ensure that the proposal effectively addresses critical health or community issues facing our patients. During the course, the students will develop their projects in consultation with their selected researcher and topic expert and engage in didactic videoconference discussion sessions. At the end of the semester, students will present their projects to the class. Study collaborators, members of the CTSI leadership team, UF Health, and Faculty Group Practice will be invited to attend and provide feedback on the final presentations.


The course is designed for advanced masters-level and doctoral-level students in health outcomes, biomedical informatics, medicine, public health, and other health professions, as well as advanced students in public policy, sociology, psychology or other social sciences with plans for a career in health research.


GMS 6851 (Fundamentals of Dissemination and Implementation Research)

Student Learning Outcomes

The primary goals of this course are to enhance students’: (1) knowledge of improvement and implementation science; (2) ability to critically evaluate studies focused on improvement and implementation science; and (3) real-world experience in designing an implementation science study. More specifically, students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  1. Discuss the theoretical underpinnings of improvement and implementation science,
  2. Explain barriers and facilitators to implementation and dissemination of research findings and methods to address those barriers,
  3. Describe the major categories of study designs that are used in conducting improvement and implementation science and strategies for engaging key stakeholders, and including clinicians and policymakers, in the research process,
  4. Describe the importance of contextual factors and assessing multiple outcomes when designing improvement and implementation science studies, and
  5. Critically evaluate improvement and implementation science studies by assessing the strengths and limitations of the study design and measures selected for informing health care decision-making in real world settings

At a Glance