Prevention Research with Indigenous Communities to Expedite Dissemination and Implementation Efforts
Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Elizabeth J. D’Amico, and Joseph Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula
Effectively translating evidence-based interventions into clinic and community settings is an increasing priority for health researchers. The successful dissemination and implementation (D&I) of interventions found efficacious ensures that major health funders such as the National Institutes of Health can demonstrate a return on investment in biomedical and behavioral research and that all populations receive maximum benefit from scientific discoveries. However, the products of research efficacy trials, the evidence-based interventions, are rarely designed with D&I in mind, rendering these interventions fundamentally misaligned with real-world settings. Further, while some evidence-based interventions have been successfully adapted for implementation in indigenous communities, few such examples have been published. Literature regarding the adoption and implementation of evidence-based interventions in indigenous communities is scarce, and the feasibility of scaling up successful interventions is poorly understood, potentially widening health disparities. The Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health (IRINAH) partners are generating efficacy data on community-responsive and engaged interventions that are also designed to facilitate D&I efforts, reducing the time between research to practice to benefit indigenous communities, should these interventions prove effective. In this manuscript, we provide an overview and key challenges of D&I science with indigenous communities. We then use IRINAH case studies to highlight strategies that IRINAH partners are using to plan for the scale-up and implementation of the studies. We conclude with recommendations to inform the next phase of IRINAH research efforts.