Building capacity in dissemination and implementation science: a systematic review of the academic literature on teaching and training initiatives

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Background: The field of dissemination and implementation (D&I) science has grown significantly over recent years. Alongside this, an increased demand for training in D&I from researchers and implementers has been seen. Research describing and evaluating D&I training opportunities, referred to here as ‘capacity building initiatives’ (CBIs), can help provide an understanding of different methods of training as well as training successes and challenges. However, to gain a more detailed understanding of the evidence-base and how D&I CBIs are being reported in publications, a field-wide examination of the academic literature is required. Methods: Systematic review to identify the type and range of D&I CBIs discussed and/or appraised in the academic literature. EMBASE, Medline and PsycINFO were searched between January 2006 and November 2019. Articles were included if they reported on a D&I CBI that was developed by the authors (of each of the included articles) or the author’s host institution. Two reviewers independently screened the articles and extracted data using a standardised form. Results: Thirty-one articles (from a total of 4181) were included. From these, 41 distinct D&I CBIs were identified which focussed on different contexts and professions, from 8 countries across the world. CBIs ranged from short courses to training institutes to being part of academic programmes. Nearly half were delivered face-face with the remainder delivered remotely or using a blended format. CBIs often stipulated specific eligibility criteria, strict application processes and/or were oversubscribed. Variabilities in the way in which the D&I CBIs were reported and/or evaluated were evident. Conclusions: Increasing the number of training opportunities, as well as broadening their reach (to a wider range of learners), would help address the recognised deficit in D&I training. Standardisation in the reporting of D&I CBIs would enable the D&I community to better understand the findings across different contexts and scientific professions so that training gaps can be identified and overcome. More detailed examination of publications on D&I CBIs as well as the wider literature on capacity building would be of significant merit to the field.




Davis, R., & D’Lima, D. (2020, December 1). Building capacity in dissemination and implementation science: a systematic review of the academic literature on teaching and training initiatives. Implementation Science. BioMed Central Ltd.

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