From Myanmar and Mozambique to the US and Egypt, 90 participants from 22 countries around the world traveled to Seattle August 26-30 for the University of Washington Department of Global Health intensive summer course in The Fundamentals of Implementation Science in Global Health. The one-week course taught participants systematic approaches that can be used to bring research findings to on-the-ground settings, with the ultimate aim of improving health for people around the world.

The course offered participants — who represented diverse professional backgrounds, including researchers, clinicians, policymakers, donor agencies, and NGOs — a unique opportunity to learn from a renowned team of UW Department of Global Health implementation science experts, who are among the world’s leading experts in the cutting-edge field of implementation science.

“I’ve learned how to use appropriate strategies for implementation science. The course elements were well-organized, and I found it helpful how presenters shared what they were working on in their own research. I will now be able to apply relevant concepts in my future research, “ said Judy Machuka, a Psychologist from Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya, who participated in the course, and is also a UW IARTP Fellow/NIH Fogarty Training Program.

The week-long course included learning on conceptual frameworks and appropriate methodologies for implementation science, and explored case studies that apply the frameworks in different contexts. The course also addressed barriers to effective replication and scale-up in local settings.

Paola Friedrich, a pediatric oncologist from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, USA, shared that “The key ideas from implementation science are ‘fidelity’ and ‘adaptation.’ We saw the strength of combining quantitative methods and other methods like qualitative research that allow you to capture a fuller picture of a program.”

 “What's dawned on me as a clinician is that a lot what we do in quality improvement (QI) is viewed as an audit more than a research process. I don't think they're mutually exclusive, and I think that clinical-implementation research partnerships allow for us to have, as clinicians, a theory framework, implementation strategy definition, and measurement and evaluation tools to do such work,” said Gregory Peck, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Associate Director of the Acute Care Surgery Fellowship, Rutgers University –RWJMS, “Also, it’s okay to not think linearly. Implementation science convinces you that thinking non-linearly is a strength.”

2019 UW Implementation Science Summer Course Students Group Photo

"The course is well-designed for people who are already implementing projects," said Neusa Bay, whose focus is pharmacy at MIHER in Mozambique, "To do implementation science well, you need to prep well. Preparation for programming is crucial for success of implementation science work. Here I'm learning exactly how to do that." 

Professor Bryan Weiner, who leads the UW Department of Global Health program in implementation science, explained “As we say in Seattle, there are any ways to climb a mountain. The sweet spot for implementation science is taking ’what works,’ figuring out how much it can be adapted without losing its effectiveness, and then scaling it up. Learning can and should go in many directions — for example, we’ve seen strong evidence supporting the role of community health workers globally to provide basic health and medical care outside of a clinic or doctor’s office.”

The 2019 Fundamentals of Implementation Science Course directors are Professor Kenneth Sherr and Acting Assistant Professor Arianna Means; the course presenters included UW Department of Global Health faculty Judith Wasserheit, Bryan Weiner, Ruanne Baranabas, Judd Walson, Anjuli Wagner, and Kristin Beima-Sofie and others. The course is held in Seattle annually every August.

Course photos available here.