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1.  The Chilling Effect: How Do Researchers React to Controversy? 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(11):e222.
Background
Can political controversy have a “chilling effect” on the production of new science? This is a timely concern, given how often American politicians are accused of undermining science for political purposes. Yet little is known about how scientists react to these kinds of controversies.
Methods and Findings
Drawing on interview (n = 30) and survey data (n = 82), this study examines the reactions of scientists whose National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grants were implicated in a highly publicized political controversy. Critics charged that these grants were “a waste of taxpayer money.” The NIH defended each grant and no funding was rescinded. Nevertheless, this study finds that many of the scientists whose grants were criticized now engage in self-censorship. About half of the sample said that they now remove potentially controversial words from their grant and a quarter reported eliminating entire topics from their research agendas. Four researchers reportedly chose to move into more secure positions entirely, either outside academia or in jobs that guaranteed salaries. About 10% of the group reported that this controversy strengthened their commitment to complete their research and disseminate it widely.
Conclusions
These findings provide evidence that political controversies can shape what scientists choose to study. Debates about the politics of science usually focus on the direct suppression, distortion, and manipulation of scientific results. This study suggests that scholars must also examine how scientists may self-censor in response to political events.
Drawing on interview and survey data, Joanna Kempner's study finds that political controversies shape what many scientists choose not to study.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Scientific research is an expensive business and, inevitably, the organizations that fund this research—governments, charities, and industry—play an important role in determining the directions that this research takes. Funding bodies can have both positive and negative effects on the acquisition of scientific knowledge. They can pump money into topical areas such as the human genome project. Alternatively, by withholding funding, they can discourage some types of research. So, for example, US federal funds cannot be used to support many aspects of human stem cell research. “Self-censoring” by scientists can also have a negative effect on scientific progress. That is, some scientists may decide to avoid areas of research in which there are many regulatory requirements, political pressure, or in which there is substantial pressure from advocacy groups. A good example of this last type of self-censoring is the withdrawal of many scientists from research that involves certain animal models, like primates, because of animal rights activists.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some people think that political controversy might also encourage scientists to avoid some areas of scientific inquiry, but no studies have formally investigated this possibility. Could political arguments about the value of certain types of research influence the questions that scientists pursue? An argument of this sort occurred in the US in 2003 when Patrick Toomey, who was then a Republican Congressional Representative, argued that National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants supporting research into certain aspects of sexual behavior were “much less worthy of taxpayer funding” than research on “devastating diseases,” and proposed an amendment to the 2004 NIH appropriations bill (which regulates the research funded by NIH). The Amendment was rejected, but more than 200 NIH-funded grants, most of which examined behaviors that affect the spread of HIV/AIDS, were internally reviewed later that year; NIH defended each grant, so none were curtailed. In this study, Joanna Kempner investigates how the scientists whose US federal grants were targeted in this clash between politics and science responded to the political controversy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Kempner interviewed 30 of the 162 principal investigators (PIs) whose grants were reviewed. She asked them to describe their research, the grants that were reviewed, and their experience with NIH before, during, and after the controversy. She also asked them whether this experience had changed their research practice. She then used the information from these interviews to design a survey that she sent to all the PIs whose grants had been reviewed; 82 responded. About half of the scientists interviewed and/or surveyed reported that they now remove “red flag” words (for example, “AIDS” and “homosexual”) from the titles and abstracts of their grant applications. About one-fourth of the respondents no longer included controversial topics (for example, “abortion” and “emergency contraception”) in their research agendas, and four researchers had made major career changes as a result of the controversy. Finally, about 10% of respondents said that their experience had strengthened their commitment to see their research completed and its results published although even many of these scientists also engaged in some self-censorship.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, even though no funding was withdrawn, self-censoring is now common among the scientists whose grants were targeted during this particular political controversy. Because this study included researchers in only one area of health research, its findings may not be generalizable to other areas of research. Furthermore, because only half of the PIs involved in the controversy responded to the survey, these findings may be affected by selection bias. That is, the scientists most anxious about the effects of political controversy on their research funding (and thus more likely to engage in self-censorship) may not have responded. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the political environment might have a powerful effect on self-censorship by scientists and might dissuade some scientists from embarking on research projects that they would otherwise have pursued. Further research into what Kempner calls the “chilling effect” of political controversy on scientific research is now needed to ensure that a healthy balance can be struck between political involvement in scientific decision making and scientific progress.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050222.
The Consortium of Social Science Associations, an advocacy organization that provides a bridge between the academic research community and Washington policymakers, has more information about the political controversy initiated by Patrick Toomey
Some of Kempner's previous research on self-censorship by scientists is described in a 2005 National Geographic news article
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050222
PMCID: PMC2586361  PMID: 19018657
2.  UK research funding bodies’ views towards public participation in health-related research decisions: an exploratory study 
Background
A challenge facing science is how to renew and improve its relationship with society. One potential solution is to ensure that the public are more involved in the scientific process from the inception of research plans to scientific dissemination strategies. However, to date, little is known about how research funding bodies view public participation in research funding decisions, and how they involve the public into their strategies and practices. This paper provides insights into how key representatives working in the UK non-commercial research funding sector perceive public participation in health-related research funding decisions and the possible implications of these.
Methods
We conducted qualitative semi-structured interviews with 30 key stakeholders from 10 UK non-commercial research funding bodies that either partially or exclusively fund health-related research. The findings were written up in thematic narrative form.
Results
The different disciplines that encompass health research, and their differing frames of ‘science and society’, were found to influence how research funding bodies viewed and implemented public participation in research funding decisions. Relevant subsets of the public were more likely to be involved in research funding decisions than lay public, which could be linked to underlying technocratic rationales. Concerns about public participation stemmed from the highly professionalised scientific environment that the public were exposed to. Additionally, from a more positivist frame, concerns arose regarding subjective views and values held by the public that may damage the integrity of science.
Conclusion
Underlying assumptions of technocracy largely appear to be driving PP/PE within the research grant review process, even in funding bodies that have overtly democratic ideals. Some conceptions of technocracy were more inclusive than others, welcoming different types of expertise such as patient or research-user experiences and knowledge, while others suggested taking a narrower and more positivist view of expertise as techno-scientific expertise. For research to have its maximum impact when translated into healthcare, health policies and health technologies, there needs to be sensitivity towards multiple frames of knowledge, expertise and underlying values that exist across science and society.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-318
PMCID: PMC4115156  PMID: 25056498
Research funding; Public participation; Public engagement; Public involvement; Health; Decision-making
3.  The Impact of eHealth on the Quality and Safety of Health Care: A Systematic Overview 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(1):e1000387.
Aziz Sheikh and colleagues report the findings of their systematic overview that assessed the impact of eHealth solutions on the quality and safety of health care.
Background
There is considerable international interest in exploiting the potential of digital solutions to enhance the quality and safety of health care. Implementations of transformative eHealth technologies are underway globally, often at very considerable cost. In order to assess the impact of eHealth solutions on the quality and safety of health care, and to inform policy decisions on eHealth deployments, we undertook a systematic review of systematic reviews assessing the effectiveness and consequences of various eHealth technologies on the quality and safety of care.
Methods and Findings
We developed novel search strategies, conceptual maps of health care quality, safety, and eHealth interventions, and then systematically identified, scrutinised, and synthesised the systematic review literature. Major biomedical databases were searched to identify systematic reviews published between 1997 and 2010. Related theoretical, methodological, and technical material was also reviewed. We identified 53 systematic reviews that focused on assessing the impact of eHealth interventions on the quality and/or safety of health care and 55 supplementary systematic reviews providing relevant supportive information. This systematic review literature was found to be generally of substandard quality with regards to methodology, reporting, and utility. We thematically categorised eHealth technologies into three main areas: (1) storing, managing, and transmission of data; (2) clinical decision support; and (3) facilitating care from a distance. We found that despite support from policymakers, there was relatively little empirical evidence to substantiate many of the claims made in relation to these technologies. Whether the success of those relatively few solutions identified to improve quality and safety would continue if these were deployed beyond the contexts in which they were originally developed, has yet to be established. Importantly, best practice guidelines in effective development and deployment strategies are lacking.
Conclusions
There is a large gap between the postulated and empirically demonstrated benefits of eHealth technologies. In addition, there is a lack of robust research on the risks of implementing these technologies and their cost-effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated, despite being frequently promoted by policymakers and “techno-enthusiasts” as if this was a given. In the light of the paucity of evidence in relation to improvements in patient outcomes, as well as the lack of evidence on their cost-effectiveness, it is vital that future eHealth technologies are evaluated against a comprehensive set of measures, ideally throughout all stages of the technology's life cycle. Such evaluation should be characterised by careful attention to socio-technical factors to maximise the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
There is considerable international interest in exploiting the potential of digital health care solutions, often referred to as eHealth—the use of information and communication technologies—to enhance the quality and safety of health care. Often accompanied by large costs, any large-scale expenditure on eHealth—such as electronic health records, picture archiving and communication systems, ePrescribing, associated computerized provider order entry systems, and computerized decision support systems—has tended to be justified on the grounds that these are efficient and cost-effective means for improving health care. In 2005, the World Health Assembly passed an eHealth resolution (WHA 58.28) that acknowledged, “eHealth is the cost-effective and secure use of information and communications technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including health-care services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education, knowledge and research,” and urged member states to develop and implement eHealth technologies. Since then, implementing eHealth technologies has become a main priority for many countries. For example, England has invested at least £12.8 billion in a National Programme for Information Technology for the National Health Service, and the Obama administration in the United States has committed to a US$38 billion eHealth investment in health care.
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite the wide endorsement of and support for eHealth, the scientific basis of its benefits—which are repeatedly made and often uncritically accepted—remains to be firmly established. A robust evidence-based perspective on the advantages on eHealth could help to suggest priority areas that have the greatest potential for benefit to patients and also to inform international eHealth deliberations on costs. Therefore, in order to better inform the international community, the authors systematically reviewed the published systematic review literature on eHealth technologies and evaluated the impact of these technologies on the quality and safety of health care delivery.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers divided eHealth technologies into three main categories: (1) storing, managing, and transmission of data; (2) clinical decision support; and (3) facilitating care from a distance. Then, implementing methods based on those developed by the Cochrane Collaboration and the NHS Service Delivery and Organisation Programme, the researchers used detailed search strategies and maps of health care quality, safety, and eHealth interventions to identify relevant systematic reviews (and related theoretical, methodological, and technical material) published between 1997 and 2010. Using these techniques, the researchers retrieved a total of 46,349 references from which they identified 108 reviews. The 53 reviews that the researchers finally selected (and critically reviewed) provided the main evidence base for assessing the impact of eHealth technologies in the three categories selected.
In their systematic review of systematic reviews, the researchers included electronic health records and picture archiving communications systems in their evaluation of category 1, computerized provider (or physician) order entry and e-prescribing in category 2, and all clinical information systems that, when used in the context of eHealth technologies, integrate clinical and demographic patient information to support clinician decision making in category 3.
The researchers found that many of the clinical claims made about the most commonly used eHealth technologies were not substantiated by empirical evidence. The evidence base in support of eHealth technologies was weak and inconsistent and importantly, there was insubstantial evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of these technologies. For example, the researchers only found limited evidence that some of the many presumed benefits could be realized; importantly, they also found some evidence that introducing these new technologies may on occasions also generate new risks such as prescribers becoming over-reliant on clinical decision support for e-prescribing, or overestimate its functionality, resulting in decreased practitioner performance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers found that despite the wide support for eHealth technologies and the frequently made claims by policy makers when constructing business cases to raise funds for large-scale eHealth projects, there is as yet relatively little empirical evidence to substantiate many of the claims made about eHealth technologies. In addition, even for the eHealth technology tools that have proven to be successful, there is little evidence to show that such tools would continue to be successful beyond the contexts in which they were originally developed. Therefore, in light of the lack of evidence in relation to improvements in patient outcomes, as well as the lack of evidence on their cost-effectiveness, the authors say that future eHealth technologies should be evaluated against a comprehensive set of measures, ideally throughout all stages of the technology's life cycle, and include socio-technical factors to maximize the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption in a given context. Furthermore, it is equally important that eHealth projects that have already been commissioned are subject to rigorous, multidisciplinary, and independent evaluation.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000387.
The authors' broader study is: Car J, Black A, Anandan C, Cresswell K, Pagliari C, McKinstry B, et al. (2008) The Impact of eHealth on the Quality and Safety of Healthcare. Available at: http://www.haps.bham.ac.uk/publichealth/cfhep/001.shtml
More information is available on the World Health Assembly eHealth resolution
The World Health Organization provides information at the Global Observatory on eHealth, as well as a global insight into eHealth developments
The European Commission provides Information on eHealth in Europe and some examples of good eHealth practice
More information is provided on NHS Connecting for Health
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000387
PMCID: PMC3022523  PMID: 21267058
4.  Eurocan plus report: feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities 
Summary
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project, called for by the European Parliament, was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities in Europe. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people, the largest Europe–wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research.
Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
It is essential to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community is evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form), leading to the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventive strategies. Translational research ranges from bench–to–bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project recommends the creation of a small, permanent and independent European Cancer Initiative (ECI). This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The ECI should assume responsibility for stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes, becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ organizations, European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), putting into practice solutions aimed at alleviating barriers to collaboration and coordination of cancer research activities in the European Union, and dealing with legal and regulatory issues. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this entity should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co–operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe and (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level.
The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control in Europe, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
Executive Summary
Cancer is one of the biggest public health crises facing Europe in the 21st century—one for which Europe is currently not prepared nor preparing itself. Cancer is a major cause of death in Europe with two million casualties and three million new cases diagnosed annually, and the situation is set to worsen as the population ages.
These facts led the European Parliament, through the Research Directorate-General of the European Commission, to call for initiatives for better coordination of cancer research efforts in the European Union. The EUROCAN+PLUS Project was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people. In this respect, the Project became the largest Europe-wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research, implicating researchers, cancer centres and hospitals, administrators, healthcare professionals, funding agencies, industry, patients’ organizations and patients.
The Project first identified barriers impeding research and collaboration in research in Europe. Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain the formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
In addition, there is a shortage of leadership, a multiplicity of institutions each focusing on its own agenda, sub–optimal contact with industry, inadequate training, non–existent career paths, low personnel mobility in research especially among clinicians and inefficient funding—all conspiring against efficient collaboration in cancer care and research. European cancer research today does not have a functional translational research continuum, that is the process that exploits biomedical research innovations and converts them into prevention methods, diagnostic tools and therapies. Moreover, epidemiological research is not integrated with other types of cancer research, and the implementation of the European Directives on Clinical Trials 1 and on Personal Data Protection 2 has further slowed the innovation process in Europe. Furthermore, large inequalities in health and research exist between the EU–15 and the New Member States.
The picture is not entirely bleak, however, as the European cancer research scene presents several strengths, such as excellent basic research and clinical research and innovative etiological research that should be better exploited.
When considering recommendations, several priority dimensions had to be retained. It is essential that proposals include actions and recommendations that can benefit all Member States of the European Union and not just States with the elite centres. It is also essential to have a broader patient orientation to help provide the knowledge to establish cancer control possibilities when we exhaust what can be achieved by the implementation of current knowledge. It is vital that the actions proposed can contribute to the Lisbon Strategy to make Europe more innovative and competitive in (cancer) research.
The Project participants identified six areas for which consensus solutions should be implemented in order to obtain better coordination of cancer research activities. The required solutions are as follows. The proactive management of innovation, detection, facilitation of collaborations and maintenance of healthy competition within the European cancer research community.The establishment of an exchange portal of information for health professionals, patients and policy makers.The provision of guidance for translational and clinical research including the establishment of a translational research platform involving comprehensive cancer centres and cancer research centres.The coordination of calls and financial management of cancer research projects.The construction of a ‘one–stop shop’ as a contact interface between the industry, small and medium enterprises, scientists and other stakeholders.The support of greater involvement of healthcare professionals in translational research and multidisciplinary training.
In the course of the EUROCAN+PLUS consultative process, several key collaborative projects emerged between the various groups and institutes engaged in the consultation. There was a collaboration network established with Europe’s leading Comprehensive Cancer Centres; funding was awarded for a closer collaboration of Owners of Cancer Registries in Europe (EUROCOURSE); there was funding received from FP7 for an extensive network of leading Biological Resource Centres in Europe (BBMRI); a Working Group identified the special needs of Central, Eastern and South–eastern Europe and proposed a remedy (‘Warsaw Declaration’), and the concept of developing a one–stop shop for dealing with academia and industry including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) was discussed in detail.
Several other dimensions currently lacking were identified. There is an absolute necessity to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. It was a salutary lesson when it was recognized that all that is known about the quality of life of the cancer patient comes from the experience of a tiny proportion of cancer patients included in a few clinical trials. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community was evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form) and the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventative strategies in the European Union. Translational research ranges from bench-to-bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
Having taken note of the barriers and the solutions and having examined relevant examples of existing European organizations in the field, it was agreed during the General Assembly of 19 November 2007 that the EUROCAN+PLUS Project had to recommend the creation of a small, permanent and neutral ECI. This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The proposal is based on the successful model of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and its principal aims include providing a forum where researchers from all backgrounds and from all countries can meet with members of other specialities including patients, nurses, clinicians, funders and scientific administrators to develop priority programmes to make Europe more competitive in research and more focused on the cancer patient.
The ECI should assume responsibility for: stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes;becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ and organizations;European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises;putting into practice the aforementioned solutions aimed at alleviating barriers and coordinating cancer research activities in the EU;dealing with legal and regulatory issues.
Solutions implemented through the ECI will lead to better coordination and collaboration throughout Europe, more efficient use of resources, an increase in Europe’s attractiveness to the biomedical industry and better quality of cancer research and education of health professionals.
The Project considered that European legal instruments currently available were inadequate for addressing many aspects of the barriers identified and for the implementation of effective, lasting solutions. Therefore, the legal environment that could shelter an idea like the ECI remains to be defined but should be done so as a priority. In this context, the initiative of the European Commission for a new legal entity for research infrastructure might be a step in this direction. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass: (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co-operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe; (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level. Another topic deserving immediate attention is the creation of a European database on cancer research projects and cancer research facilities.
Despite enormous progress in cancer control in Europe during the past two decades, there was an increase of 300,000 in the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2006. The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
doi:10.3332/ecancer.2011.84
PMCID: PMC3234055  PMID: 22274749
5.  Facilitating the Recruitment of Minority Ethnic People into Research: Qualitative Case Study of South Asians and Asthma 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(10):e1000148.
Aziz Sheikh and colleagues report on a qualitative study in the US and the UK to investigate ways to bolster recruitment of South Asians into asthma studies, including making inclusion of diverse populations mandatory.
Background
There is international interest in enhancing recruitment of minority ethnic people into research, particularly in disease areas with substantial ethnic inequalities. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that UK South Asians are at three times increased risk of hospitalisation for asthma when compared to white Europeans. US asthma trials are far more likely to report enrolling minority ethnic people into studies than those conducted in Europe. We investigated approaches to bolster recruitment of South Asians into UK asthma studies through qualitative research with US and UK researchers, and UK community leaders.
Methods and Findings
Interviews were conducted with 36 researchers (19 UK and 17 US) from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and ten community leaders from a range of ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds, followed by self-completion questionnaires. Interviews were digitally recorded, translated where necessary, and transcribed. The Framework approach was used for analysis. Barriers to ethnic minority participation revolved around five key themes: (i) researchers' own attitudes, which ranged from empathy to antipathy to (in a minority of cases) misgivings about the scientific importance of the question under study; (ii) stereotypes and prejudices about the difficulties in engaging with minority ethnic populations; (iii) the logistical challenges posed by language, cultural differences, and research costs set against the need to demonstrate value for money; (iv) the unique contexts of the two countries; and (v) poorly developed understanding amongst some minority ethnic leaders of what research entails and aims to achieve. US researchers were considerably more positive than their UK counterparts about the importance and logistics of including ethnic minorities, which appeared to a large extent to reflect the longer-term impact of the National Institutes of Health's requirement to include minority ethnic people.
Conclusions
Most researchers and community leaders view the broadening of participation in research as important and are reasonably optimistic about the feasibility of recruiting South Asians into asthma studies provided that the barriers can be overcome. Suggested strategies for improving recruitment in the UK included a considerably improved support structure to provide academics with essential contextual information (e.g., languages of particular importance and contact with local gatekeepers), and the need to ensure that care is taken to engage with the minority ethnic communities in ways that are both culturally appropriate and sustainable; ensuring reciprocal benefits was seen as one key way of avoiding gatekeeper fatigue. Although voluntary measures to encourage researchers may have some impact, greater impact might be achieved if UK funding bodies followed the lead of the US National Institutes of Health requiring recruitment of ethnic minorities. Such a move is, however, likely in the short- to medium-term, to prove unpopular with many UK academics because of the added “hassle” factor in engaging with more diverse populations than many have hitherto been accustomed to.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In an ideal world, everyone would have the same access to health care and the same health outcomes (responses to health interventions). However, health inequalities—gaps in health care and in health between different parts of the population—exist in many countries. In particular, people belonging to ethnic minorities in the UK, the US, and elsewhere have poorer health outcomes for several conditions than people belonging to the ethnic majority (ethnicity is defined by social characteristics such as cultural tradition or national origin). For example, in the UK, people whose ancestors came from the Indian subcontinent (also known as South Asians and comprising in the main of people of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi origin) are three times as likely to be admitted to hospital for asthma as white Europeans. The reasons underpinning ethnic health inequalities are complex. Some inequalities may reflect intrinsic differences between groups of people—some ethnic minorities may inherit genes that alter their susceptibility to a specific disease. Other ethnic health inequalities may arise because of differences in socioeconomic status or because different cultural traditions affect the uptake of health care services.
Why Was This Study Done?
Minority ethnic groups are often under-represented in health research, which could limit the generalizability of research findings. That is, an asthma treatment that works well in a trial where all the participants are white Europeans might not be suitable for South Asians. Clinicians might nevertheless use the treatment in all their patients irrespective of their ethnicity and thus inadvertently increase ethnic health inequality. So, how can ethnic minorities be encouraged to enroll into research studies? In this qualitative study, the investigators try to answer this question by talking to US and UK asthma researchers and UK community leaders about how they feel about enrolling ethnic minorities into research studies. The investigators chose to compare the feelings of US and UK asthma researchers because minority ethnic people are more likely to enroll into US asthma studies than into UK studies, possibly because the US National Institute of Health's (NIH) Revitalization Act 1993 mandates that all NIH-funded clinical research must include people from ethnic minority groups; there is no similar mandatory policy in the UK.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The investigators interviewed 16 UK and 17 US asthma researchers and three UK social researchers with experience of working with ethnic minorities. They also interviewed ten community leaders from diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds. They then analyzed the interviews using the “Framework” approach, an analytical method in which qualitative data are classified and organized according to key themes and then interpreted. By comparing the data from the UK and US researchers, the investigators identified several barriers to ethnic minority participation in health research including: the attitudes of researchers towards the scientific importance of recruiting ethnic minority people into health research studies; prejudices about the difficulties of including ethnic minorities in health research; and the logistical challenges posed by language and cultural differences. In general, the US researchers were more positive than their UK counterparts about the importance and logistics of including ethnic minorities in health research. Finally, the investigators found that some community leaders had a poor understanding of what research entails and about its aims.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal a large gap between US and UK researchers in terms of policy, attitudes, practices, and experiences in relation to including ethnic minorities in asthma research. However, they also suggest that most UK researchers and community leaders believe that it is both important and feasible to increase the participation of South Asians in asthma studies. Although some of these findings may have been affected by the study participants sometimes feeling obliged to give “politically correct” answers, these findings are likely to be generalizable to other diseases and to other parts of Europe. Given their findings, the researchers warn that a voluntary code of practice that encourages the recruitment of ethnic minority people into health research studies is unlikely to be successful. Instead, they suggest, the best way to increase the representation of ethnic minority people in health research in the UK might be to follow the US lead and introduce a policy that requires their inclusion in such research.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000148.
Families USA, a US nonprofit organization that campaigns for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, has information about many aspects of minority health in the US, including an interactive game about minority health issues
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a section on minority health
The UK Department of Health provides information on health inequalities and a recent report on the experiences of patients in Black and minority ethnic groups
The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology also has a short article on ethnicity and health
Information on the NIH Revitalization Act 1993 is available
NHS Evidences Ethnicity and Health has a variety of policy, clinical, and research resources on ethnicity and health
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000148
PMCID: PMC2752116  PMID: 19823568
6.  Modeling technology innovation: How science, engineering, and industry methods can combine to generate beneficial socioeconomic impacts 
Background
Government-sponsored science, technology, and innovation (STI) programs support the socioeconomic aspects of public policies, in addition to expanding the knowledge base. For example, beneficial healthcare services and devices are expected to result from investments in research and development (R&D) programs, which assume a causal link to commercial innovation. Such programs are increasingly held accountable for evidence of impact—that is, innovative goods and services resulting from R&D activity. However, the absence of comprehensive models and metrics skews evidence gathering toward bibliometrics about research outputs (published discoveries), with less focus on transfer metrics about development outputs (patented prototypes) and almost none on econometrics related to production outputs (commercial innovations). This disparity is particularly problematic for the expressed intent of such programs, as most measurable socioeconomic benefits result from the last category of outputs.
Methods
This paper proposes a conceptual framework integrating all three knowledge-generating methods into a logic model, useful for planning, obtaining, and measuring the intended beneficial impacts through the implementation of knowledge in practice. Additionally, the integration of the Context-Input-Process-Product (CIPP) model of evaluation proactively builds relevance into STI policies and programs while sustaining rigor.
Results
The resulting logic model framework explicitly traces the progress of knowledge from inputs, following it through the three knowledge-generating processes and their respective knowledge outputs (discovery, invention, innovation), as it generates the intended socio-beneficial impacts. It is a hybrid model for generating technology-based innovations, where best practices in new product development merge with a widely accepted knowledge-translation approach. Given the emphasis on evidence-based practice in the medical and health fields and “bench to bedside” expectations for knowledge transfer, sponsors and grantees alike should find the model useful for planning, implementing, and evaluating innovation processes.
Conclusions
High-cost/high-risk industries like healthcare require the market deployment of technology-based innovations to improve domestic society in a global economy. An appropriate balance of relevance and rigor in research, development, and production is crucial to optimize the return on public investment in such programs. The technology-innovation process needs a comprehensive operational model to effectively allocate public funds and thereby deliberately and systematically accomplish socioeconomic benefits.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-44
PMCID: PMC3466157  PMID: 22591638
7.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
8.  Understanding the performance and impact of public knowledge translation funding interventions: Protocol for an evaluation of Canadian Institutes of Health Research knowledge translation funding programs 
Background
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has defined knowledge translation (KT) as a dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the healthcare system. CIHR, the national health research funding agency in Canada, has undertaken to advance this concept through direct research funding opportunities in KT. Because CIHR is recognized within Canada and internationally for leading and funding the advancement of KT science and practice, it is essential and timely to evaluate this intervention, and specifically, these funding opportunities.
Design
The study will employ a novel method of participatory, utilization-focused evaluation inspired by the principles of integrated KT. It will use a mixed methods approach, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, and will elicit participation from CIHR funded researchers, knowledge users, KT experts, as well as other health research funding agencies. Lines of inquiry will include an international environmental scan, document/data reviews, in-depth interviews, targeted surveys, case studies, and an expert review panel. The study will investigate how efficiently and effectively the CIHR model of KT funding programs operates, what immediate outcomes these funding mechanisms have produced, and what impact these programs have had on the broader state of health research, health research uptake, and health improvement.
Discussion
The protocol and results of this evaluation will be of interest to those engaged in the theory, practice, and evaluation of KT. The dissemination of the study protocol and results to both practitioners and theorists will help to fill a gap in knowledge in three areas: the role of a public research funding agency in facilitating KT, the outcomes and impacts KT funding interventions, and how KT can best be evaluated.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-57
PMCID: PMC3485627  PMID: 22726821
9.  Interdisciplinarity and Systems Science to Improve Population Health 
American journal of preventive medicine  2008;35(2 Suppl):S211-S224.
Fueled by the rapid pace of discovery, humankind's ability to understand the ultimate causes of preventable common disease burdens and to identify solutions is now reaching a revolutionary tipping point. Achieving optimal health and well-being for all members of society lies as much in the understanding of the factors identified by the behavioral, social, and public health sciences as by the biological ones. Accumulating advances in mathematical modeling, informatics, imaging, sensor technology, and communication tools have stimulated several converging trends in science: an emerging understanding of epigenomic regulation; dramatic successes in achieving population health-behavior changes; and improved scientific rigor in behavioral, social, and economic sciences. Fostering stronger interdisciplinary partnerships to bring together the behavioral–social–ecologic models of multilevel “causes of the causes” and the molecular, cellular, and, ultimately, physiological bases of health and disease will facilitate breakthroughs to improve the public's health.
The strategic vision of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is rooted in a collaborative approach to addressing the complex and multidimensional issues that challenge the public's health. This paper describes OBSSR's four key programmatic directions (next-generation basic science, interdisciplinary research, systems science, and a problem-based focus for population impact) to illustrate how interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives can foster the vertical integration of research among biological, behavioral, social, and population levels of analysis over the lifespan and across generations. Interdisciplinary and multilevel approaches are critical both to the OBSSR's mission of integrating behavioral and social sciences more fully into the NIH scientific enterprise and to the overall NIH mission of utilizing science in the pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2008.05.018
PMCID: PMC2587290  PMID: 18619402
10.  How funding structures for HIV/AIDS research shape outputs and utilization: a Swiss case study 
Background
Research policy in the field of HIV has changed substantially in recent decades in Switzerland. Until 2004, social science research on HIV/AIDS was funded by specialized funding agencies. After 2004, funding of such research was “normalized” and integrated into the Swiss National Science Foundation as the main funding agency for scientific research in Switzerland. This paper offers a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between the changing nature of funding structures on the one hand and the production and communication of policy-relevant scientific knowledge in the field of HIV on the other hand.
Methods
The analysis relies on an inventory of all social sciences research projects on HIV in Switzerland that were funded between 1987 and 2010, including topics covered and disciplines involved, as well as financial data. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 stakeholders.
Results
The analysis highlights that the pre-2004 funding policy ensured good coverage of important social science research themes. Specific incentives and explicit promotion of social science research related to HIV gave rise to a multidisciplinary, integrative and health-oriented approach. The abolition of a specific funding policy in 2004 was paralleled by a drastic reduction in the number of social science research projects submitted for funding, and a decline of public money dedicated to such research. Although the public administration in charge of HIV policy still acknowledges the relevance of findings from social sciences for the development of prevention, treatment and care, HIV-related social science research does not flourish under current funding conditions.
Conclusions
The Swiss experience sheds light on the difficulties of sustaining social science research and multidisciplinary approaches related to HIV without specialized funding agencies. Future funding policy might not necessarily require specialized agencies, but should better take into account research dynamics and motivations in the field of social sciences.
doi:10.1186/1758-2652-14-S2-S7
PMCID: PMC3194166  PMID: 21968292
11.  Fulfillment of the Brazilian Agenda of Priorities in Health Research 
This commentary describes how the Brazilian Ministry of Health's (MoH) research support policy fulfilled the National Agenda of Priorities in Health Research (NAPHR). In 2003, the MoH started a democratic process in order to establish a priority agenda in health research involving investigators, health managers and community leaders. The Agenda was launched in 2004 and is guiding budget allocations in an attempt to reduce the gap between scientific knowledge and health practice and activities, aiming to contribute to improving Brazilian quality of life. Many strategies were developed, for instance: Cooperation Agreements between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology; the decentralization of research support at state levels with the participation of local Health Secretariats and Science and Technology Institutions; Health Technology Assessment; innovation in neglected diseases; research networks and multicenter studies in adult, women's and children's health; cardiovascular risk in adolescents; clinical research and stem cell therapy. The budget allocated by the Ministry of Health and partners was expressive: US$419 million to support almost 3,600 projects. The three sub-agenda with the higher proportion of resources were "industrial health complex", "clinical research" and "communicable diseases", which are considered strategic for innovation and national development. The Southeast region conducted 40.5% of all projects and detained 59.7% of the resources, attributable to the concentration of the most traditional health research institutes and universities in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The second most granted region was the Northeast, which reflects the result of a governmental policy to integrate and modernize this densely populated area and the poorest region in the country. Although Brazil began the design and implementation of the NAPHR in 2003, it has done so in accordance with the 'good practice principles' recently published: inclusive process, information gathering, careful planning and funding policy, transparency and internal evaluation (an external independent evaluation is underway). The effort in guiding the health research policy has achieved and legitimated an unprecedented developmental spurt to support strategic health research. We believe this experience is valuable and applicable to other countries, but different settings and local political circumstances will determine the best course of action to follow.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-9-35
PMCID: PMC3189161  PMID: 21884575
12.  Current Status and Future Prospects of Clinical Psycholog 
SUMMARY
The escalating costs of health care and other recent trends have made health care decisions of great societal import, with decision-making responsibility often being transferred from practitioners to health economists, health plans, and insurers. Health care decision making increasingly is guided by evidence that a treatment is efficacious, effective–disseminable, cost-effective, and scientifically plausible. Under these conditions of heightened cost concerns and institutional–economic decision making, psychologists are losing the opportunity to play a leadership role in mental and behavioral health care: Other types of practitioners are providing an increasing proportion of delivered treatment, and the use of psychiatric medication has increased dramatically relative to the provision of psychological interventions.
Research has shown that numerous psychological interventions are efficacious, effective, and cost-effective. However, these interventions are used infrequently with patients who would benefit from them, in part because clinical psychologists have not made a convincing case for the use of these interventions (e.g., by supplying the data that decision makers need to support implementation of such interventions) and because clinical psychologists do not themselves use these interventions even when given the opportunity to do so.
Clinical psychologists’ failure to achieve a more significant impact on clinical and public health may be traced to their deep ambivalence about the role of science and their lack of adequate science training, which leads them to value personal clinical experience over research evidence, use assessment practices that have dubious psychometric support, and not use the interventions for which there is the strongest evidence of efficacy. Clinical psychology resembles medicine at a point in its history when practitioners were operating in a largely prescientific manner. Prior to the scientific reform of medicine in the early 1900s, physicians typically shared the attitudes of many of today’s clinical psychologists, such as valuing personal experience over scientific research. Medicine was reformed, in large part, by a principled effort by the American Medical Association to increase the science base of medical school education. Substantial evidence shows that many clinical psychology doctoral training programs, especially PsyD and for-profit programs, do not uphold high standards for graduate admission, have high student–faculty ratios, deemphasize science in their training, and produce students who fail to apply or generate scientific knowledge.
A promising strategy for improving the quality and clinical and public health impact of clinical psychology is through a new accreditation system that demands highquality science training as a central feature of doctoral training in clinical psychology. Just as strengthening training standards in medicine markedly enhanced the quality of health care, improved training standards in clinical psychology will enhance health and mental health care. Such a system will (a) allow the public and employers to identify scientifically trained psychologists; (b) stigmatize ascientific training programs and practitioners; (c) produce aspirational effects, thereby enhancing training quality generally; and (d) help accredited programs improve their training in the application and generation of science. These effects should enhance the generation, application, and dissemination of experimentally supported interventions, thereby improving clinical and public health. Experimentally based treatments not only are highly effective but also are cost-effective relative to other interventions; therefore, they could help control spiraling health care costs. The new Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) is intended to accredit clinical psychology training programs that offer highquality science-centered education and training, producing graduates who are successful in generating and applying scientific knowledge. Psychologists, universities, and other stakeholders should vigorously support this new accreditation system as the surest route to a scientifically principled clinical psychology that can powerfully benefit clinical and public health.
doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01036.x
PMCID: PMC2943397  PMID: 20865146
13.  Reinterpreting Ethnic Patterns among White and African American Men Who Inject Heroin: A Social Science of Medicine Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e452.
Background
Street-based heroin injectors represent an especially vulnerable population group subject to negative health outcomes and social stigma. Effective clinical treatment and public health intervention for this population requires an understanding of their cultural environment and experiences. Social science theory and methods offer tools to understand the reasons for economic and ethnic disparities that cause individual suffering and stress at the institutional level.
Methods and Findings
We used a cross-methodological approach that incorporated quantitative, clinical, and ethnographic data collected by two contemporaneous long-term San Francisco studies, one epidemiological and one ethnographic, to explore the impact of ethnicity on street-based heroin-injecting men 45 years of age or older who were self-identified as either African American or white. We triangulated our ethnographic findings by statistically examining 14 relevant epidemiological variables stratified by median age and ethnicity. We observed significant differences in social practices between self-identified African Americans and whites in our ethnographic social network sample with respect to patterns of (1) drug consumption; (2) income generation; (3) social and institutional relationships; and (4) personal health and hygiene. African Americans and whites tended to experience different structural relationships to their shared condition of addiction and poverty. Specifically, this generation of San Francisco injectors grew up as the children of poor rural to urban immigrants in an era (the late 1960s through 1970s) when industrial jobs disappeared and heroin became fashionable. This was also when violent segregated inner city youth gangs proliferated and the federal government initiated its “War on Drugs.” African Americans had earlier and more negative contact with law enforcement but maintained long-term ties with their extended families. Most of the whites were expelled from their families when they began engaging in drug-related crime. These historical-structural conditions generated distinct presentations of self. Whites styled themselves as outcasts, defeated by addiction. They professed to be injecting heroin to stave off “dopesickness” rather than to seek pleasure. African Americans, in contrast, cast their physical addiction as an oppositional pursuit of autonomy and pleasure. They considered themselves to be professional outlaws and rejected any appearance of abjection. Many, but not all, of these ethnographic findings were corroborated by our epidemiological data, highlighting the variability of behaviors within ethnic categories.
Conclusions
Bringing quantitative and qualitative methodologies and perspectives into a collaborative dialog among cross-disciplinary researchers highlights the fact that clinical practice must go beyond simple racial or cultural categories. A clinical social science approach provides insights into how sociocultural processes are mediated by historically rooted and institutionally enforced power relations. Recognizing the logical underpinnings of ethnically specific behavioral patterns of street-based injectors is the foundation for cultural competence and for successful clinical relationships. It reduces the risk of suboptimal medical care for an exceptionally vulnerable and challenging patient population. Social science approaches can also help explain larger-scale patterns of health disparities; inform new approaches to structural and institutional-level public health initiatives; and enable clinicians to take more leadership in changing public policies that have negative health consequences.
Bourgois and colleagues found that the African American and white men in their study had a different pattern of drug use and risk behaviors, adopted different strategies for survival, and had different personal histories.
Editors' Summary
Background.
There are stark differences in the health of different ethnic groups in America. For example, the life expectancy for white men is 75.4 years, but it is only 69.2 years for African-American men. The reasons behind these disparities are unclear, though there are several possible explanations. Perhaps, for example, different ethnic groups are treated differently by health professionals (with some groups receiving poorer quality health care). Or maybe the health disparities are due to differences across ethnic groups in income level (we know that richer people are healthier). These disparities are likely to persist unless we gain a better understanding of how they arise.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to study the health of a very vulnerable community of people: heroin users living on the streets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The health status of this community is extremely poor, and its members are highly stigmatized—including by health professionals themselves. The researchers wanted to know whether African American men and white men who live on the streets have a different pattern of drug use, whether they adopt varying strategies for survival, and whether they have different personal histories. Knowledge of such differences would help the health community to provide more tailored and culturally appropriate interventions. Physicians, nurses, and social workers often treat street-based drug users, especially in emergency rooms and free clinics. These health professionals regularly report that their interactions with street-based drug users are frustrating and confrontational. The researchers hoped that their study would help these professionals to have a better understanding of the cultural backgrounds and motivations of their drug-using patients.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Over the course of six years, the researchers directly observed about 70 men living on the streets who injected heroin as they went about their usual lives (this type of research is called “participant observation”). The researchers specifically looked to see whether there were differences between the white and African American men. All the men gave their consent to be studied in this way and to be photographed. The researchers also studied a database of interviews with almost 7,000 injection drug users conducted over five years, drawing out the data on differences between white and African men. The researchers found that the white men were more likely to supplement their heroin use with inexpensive fortified wine, while African American men were more likely to supplement heroin with crack. Most of the white men were expelled from their families when they began engaging in drug-related crime, and these men tended to consider themselves as destitute outcasts. African American men had earlier and more negative contact with law enforcement but maintained long-term ties with their extended families, and these men tended to consider themselves as professional outlaws. The white men persevered less in attempting to find a vein in which to inject heroin, and so were more likely to inject the drug directly under the skin—this meant that they were more likely to suffer from skin abscesses. The white men generated most of their income from panhandling (begging for money), while the African American men generated most of their income through petty crime and/or through offering services such as washing car windows at gas stations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Among street-based heroin users, there are important differences between white men and African American men in the type of drugs used, the method of drug use, their social backgrounds, the way in which they identify themselves, and the health risks that they take. By understanding these differences, health professionals should be better placed to provide tailored and appropriate care when these men present to clinics and emergency rooms. As the researchers say, “understanding of different ethnic populations of drug injectors may reduce difficult clinical interactions and resultant physician frustration while improving patient access and adherence to care.” One limitation of this study is that the researchers studied one specific community in one particular area of the US—so we should not assume that their findings would apply to street-based heroin users elsewhere.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030452.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a web page on HIV prevention among injection drug users
The World Health Organization has collected documents on reducing the risk of HIV in injection drug users and on harm reduction approaches
The International Harm Reduction Association has information relevant to a global audience on reducing drug-related harm among individuals and communities
US-focused information on harm reduction is available via the websites of the Harm Reduction Coalition and the Chicago Recovery Alliance
Canada-focused information can be found at the Street Works Web site
The Harm Reduction Journal publishes open-access articles
The CDC has a web page on eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities
The Drug Policy Alliance has a web page on drug policy in the United States
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030452
PMCID: PMC1621100  PMID: 17076569
14.  What pharmacy practitioners need to know about ethics in scientific publishing 
Pharmacy practice is an ever-changing science and profession. We are witnessing many advancement of pharmacy technology, drug-related information and applied clinical pharmacy literature, which influence our every day's life. Thus, new knowledge generated by research and clinical experience widen the knowledge; change the understanding of drugs and their application in therapeutics and every days life. Thus, policy makers, pharmacists, clinicians and researchers must evaluate and use the information existing in the literature to implement in their healthcare delivery. This paper is prepared for pharmacy researchers and pharmacy students and analyzes the major principles of ethical conduct in general science and also closely related topics on ghost authorship, conflict of interest, assigning co-authorship, redundant/repetitive and duplicate publication. Furthermore, the paper provides an insight into fabrication and falsification of data, as the most common form of scientific fraud. Scientific misconduct goes against everything that normal scientific method wants to reach for and pharmacy practitioners as one the first line available health care professionals all round the world should be enough aware of its importance and details when they want to evaluate the medical and pharmaceutical literature and deliver unbiased and ethically published knowledge of drugs both for the research or during consultations for patients care.
doi:10.4103/2279-042X.145356
PMCID: PMC4262856  PMID: 25535618
Authorship; bioethical issues; conflict of interest; duplicate publication; plagiarism
15.  Clinical Research Directions In Pediatric Cardiology 
Current opinion in pediatrics  2009;21(5):585-593.
Purpose of review
Clinical research in pediatric cardiology is under-appreciated and under-funded, yet it has enormous implications for cardiovascular health and healthcare over the entire life-course. Renewed interest in federally funded clinical research makes it timely to propose a comprehensive research agenda that, with its associated rationale, will attract public funds for research into child cardiovascular health and disease.
Recent findings
We propose here a comprehensive pediatric cardiology research agenda consisting of 22 topics and associated research questions. We describe the following five topics in more detail: 1) the need for life-course studies of pediatric cardiac disease and epigenetic factors for later onset of cardiovascular effects; 2) the need to study cardiometabolic disease risk in children; 3) recent pediatric cardiology clinical trials and observational studies; 4) the need to explore the role of physical activity in preventing and treating pediatric cardiology patients; and 5) the need to develop and implement evidence-based interventions to manage pediatric cardiovascular problems.
Summary
If the field of pediatric cardiology can adopt a comprehensive research agenda that identifies the most-needed studies, then research could be better coordinated, long-term and collaborative studies would be more readily organized and funded, and the overall financial and scientific efficiency of research in pediatric cardiology would be improved. Targeted research efforts are more likely to realize potential breakthroughs in areas such as genetic and epigenetic screening, biomarkers, cardioprotective strategies, life-course studies, long-term monitoring technologies, environmental influences on disease, evidence-based practice guidelines, and more rapid and safer development of drugs.
doi:10.1097/MOP.0b013e32832e48df
PMCID: PMC2892901  PMID: 19584723
cardiology; epigenetics; clinical trials; late effects; pediatric; child
16.  "Harnessing genomics to improve health in India" – an executive course to support genomics policy 
Background
The benefits of scientific medicine have eluded millions in developing countries and the genomics revolution threatens to increase health inequities between North and South. India, as a developing yet also industrialized country, is uniquely positioned to pioneer science policy innovations to narrow the genomics divide. Recognizing this, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics conducted a Genomics Policy Executive Course in January 2003 in Kerala, India. The course provided a forum for stakeholders to discuss the relevance of genomics for health in India. This article presents the course findings and recommendations formulated by the participants for genomics policy in India.
Methods
The course goals were to familiarize participants with the implications of genomics for health in India; analyze and debate policy and ethical issues; and develop a multi-sectoral opinion leaders' network to share perspectives. To achieve these goals, the course brought together representatives of academic research centres, biotechnology companies, regulatory bodies, media, voluntary, and legal organizations to engage in discussion. Topics included scientific advances in genomics, followed by innovations in business models, public sector perspectives, ethics, legal issues and national innovation systems.
Results
Seven main recommendations emerged: increase funding for healthcare research with appropriate emphasis on genomics; leverage India's assets such as traditional knowledge and genomic diversity in consultation with knowledge-holders; prioritize strategic entry points for India; improve industry-academic interface with appropriate incentives to improve public health and the nation's wealth; develop independent, accountable, transparent regulatory systems to ensure that ethical, legal and social issues are addressed for a single entry, smart and effective system; engage the public and ensure broad-based input into policy setting; ensure equitable access of poor to genomics products and services; deliver knowledge, products and services for public health. A key outcome of the course was the internet-based opinion leaders' network – the Indian Genome Policy Forum – a multi-stakeholder forum to foster further discussion on policy.
Conclusion
We expect that the process that has led to this network will serve as a model to establish similar Science and Technology policy networks on regional levels and eventually on a global level.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-2-1
PMCID: PMC434533  PMID: 15151698
17.  Impact of clinical and health services research projects on decision-making: a qualitative study 
Background
This article reports on the impact assessment experience of a funding program of non-commercial clinical and health services research. The aim was to assess the level of implementation of results from a subgroup of research projects (on respiratory diseases), and to detect barriers (or facilitators) in the translation of new knowledge to informed decision-making.
Methods
A qualitative study was performed. The sample consisted of six projects on respiratory diseases funded by the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia between 1996 and 2004. Semi-structured interviews to key informants including researchers and healthcare decision-makers were carried out. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed on an individual (key informant) and group (project) basis. In addition, the differences between achieved and expected impacts were described.
Results
Twenty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted. Most participants indicated changes in health services or clinical practice had resulted from research. The channels used to transfer new knowledge were mainly conventional ones, but also in less explicit ways, such as with the involvement of local scientific societies, or via debates and discussions with colleagues and local leaders. The barriers and facilitators identified were mostly organizational (in research management, and clinical and healthcare practice), although there were also some related to the nature of the research as well as personal factors. Both the expected and achieved impacts enabled the identification of the gaps between what is expected and what is truly achieved.
Conclusions
In this study and according to key informants, the impact of these research projects on decision-making can be direct (the application of a finding or innovation) or indirect, contributing to a more complex change in clinical practice and healthcare organization, both having other contextual factors. The channels used to transfer this new knowledge to clinical practice are complex. Local scientific societies and the relationships between researchers and decision-makers can play a very important role. Specifically, the relationships between managers and research teams and the mutual knowledge of their activity have shown to be effective in applying research funding to practice and decision-making. Finally the facilitating factors and barriers identified by the respondents are closely related to the idiosyncrasy of the human relations between the different stakeholders involved.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-11-15
PMCID: PMC3660213  PMID: 23663364
Informed decision-making; Qualitative research; Research impact; Respiratory diseases; Payback model
18.  Toward the Assessment of Scientific and Public Health Impacts of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Extramural Asthma Research Program Using Available Data 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(7):1147-1154.
Background
In the past 15 years, asthma prevalence has increased and is disproportionately distributed among children, minorities, and low-income persons. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Division of Extramural Research and Training developed a framework to measure the scientific and health impacts of its extramural asthma research to improve the scientific basis for reducing the health effects of asthma.
Objectives
Here we apply the framework to characterize the NIEHS asthma portfolio’s impact in terms of publications, clinical applications of findings, community interventions, and technology developments.
Methods
A logic model was tailored to inputs, outputs, and outcomes of the NIEHS asthma portfolio. Data from existing National Institutes of Health (NIH) databases are used, along with publicly available bibliometric data and structured elicitation of expert judgment.
Results
NIEHS is the third largest source of asthma-related research grant funding within the NIH between 1975 and 2005, after the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Much of NIEHS-funded asthma research focuses on basic research, but results are often published in journals focused on clinical investigation, increasing the likelihood that the work is moved into practice along the “bench to bedside” continuum. NIEHS support has led to key breakthroughs in scientific research concerning susceptibility to asthma, environmental conditions that heighten asthma symptoms, and cellular mechanisms that may be involved in treating asthma.
Conclusions
If gaps and limitations in publicly available data receive adequate attention, further linkages can be demonstrated between research activities and public health improvements. This logic model approach to research impact assessment demonstrates that it is possible to conceptualize program components, mine existing databases, and begin to show longer-term impacts of program results. The next challenges will be to modify current data structures, improve the linkages among relevant databases, incorporate as much electronically available data as possible, and determine how to improve the quality and health impact of the science that we support.
doi:10.1289/ehp.0800476
PMCID: PMC2717143  PMID: 19654926
asthma; children; evaluation methodology; health impact analysis; minorities; policy; pulmonary organ systems/disease processes; susceptible populations
19.  Bridging Research and Environmental Regulatory Processes: The Role of Knowledge Brokers 
Environmental science & technology  2013;47(21):10.1021/es4025244.
Federal funding agencies increasingly require research investigators to ensure that federally-sponsored research demonstrates broader societal impact. Specifically, the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program (SRP) requires research centers to include research translation and community engagement cores to achieve broader impacts, with special emphasis on improving environmental health policies through better scientific understanding. This paper draws on theoretical insights from the social sciences to show how incorporating knowledge brokers in research centers can facilitate translation of scientific expertise to influence regulatory processes and thus promote public health. Knowledge brokers connect academic researchers with decision-makers, to facilitate the translation of research findings into policies and programs. In this article, we describe the stages of the regulatory process and highlight the role of the knowledge broker and scientific expert at each stage. We illustrate the cooperation of knowledge brokers, scientific experts and policymakers using a case from the Brown University (Brown) SRP. We show how the Brown SRP incorporated knowledge brokers to engage scientific experts with regulatory officials around the emerging public health problem of vapor intrusion. In the Brown SRP, the knowledge broker brought regulatory officials into the research process, to help scientific experts understand the critical nature of this emerging public health threat, and helped scientific experts develop a research agenda that would inform the development of timely measures to protect public health. Our experience shows that knowledge brokers can enhance the impact of environmental research on public health by connecting policy decision-makers with scientific experts at critical points throughout the regulatory process.
doi:10.1021/es4025244
PMCID: PMC3875357  PMID: 24083557
Regulations; Hazardous Waste Sites; Vapor Intrusion; Knowledge Brokers
20.  Technology adoption and implementation in organisations: comparative case studies of 12 English NHS Trusts 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000872.
Objectives
To understand organisational technology adoption (initiation, adoption decision, implementation) by looking at the different types of innovation knowledge used during this process.
Design
Qualitative, multisite, comparative case study design.
Setting
One primary care and 11 acute care organisations (trusts) across all health regions in England in the context of infection prevention and control.
Participants and data analysis
121 semistructured individual and group interviews with 109 informants, involving clinical and non-clinical staff from all organisational levels and various professional groups. Documentary evidence and field notes were also used. 38 technology adoption processes were analysed using an integrated approach combining inductive and deductive reasoning.
Main findings
Those involved in the process variably accessed three types of innovation knowledge: ‘awareness’ (information that an innovation exists), ‘principles’ (information about an innovation's functioning principles) and ‘how-to’ (information required to use an innovation properly at individual and organisational levels). Centralised (national, government-led) and local sources were used to obtain this knowledge. Localised professional networks were preferred sources for all three types of knowledge. Professional backgrounds influenced an asymmetric attention to different types of innovation knowledge. When less attention was given to ‘how-to’ compared with ‘principles’ knowledge at the early stages of the process, this contributed to 12 cases of incomplete implementation or discontinuance after initial adoption.
Conclusions
Potential adopters and change agents often overlooked or undervalued ‘how-to’ knowledge. Balancing ‘principles’ and ‘how-to’ knowledge early in the innovation process enhanced successful technology adoption and implementation by considering efficacy as well as strategic, structural and cultural fit with the organisation's context. This learning is critical given the policy emphasis for health organisations to be innovation-ready.
Article summary
Article focus
Despite policy support and the development of a dedicated evidence dissemination infrastructure in the NHS, why is technology adoption and implementation still a challenge?
We need to understand better how the innovation process unfolds in organisations to build on what we know about individual behaviours. In particular, how the use of different types of knowledge about an innovation impacts its adoption and implementation.
Key messages
In our study, centralised dissemination of evidence had minimal to moderate impact on organisational innovation adoption decisions. Practice-based, peer-mediated and local dissemination systems were perceived more relevant.
In contrast to technology adoption by individuals, organisational adoption required a wider multifaceted conceptualisation of ‘how-to’ knowledge in line with the more complex dynamics in organisations. When ‘how-to’ knowledge was undervalued and considered late, important strategic, structural and cultural elements of the trust's context were overlooked. This had negative implications for technology adoption and implementation.
Professional backgrounds of those involved in the process influenced the types of innovation knowledge considered, which had implications for implementation. The involvement of diverse professionals in decision-making improves the chances of successful implementation through a balanced consideration of the strength of scientific evidence and practical application.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The scale of the study, its real time and longitudinal nature provide a rich data set. Our study is theory driven and comprises multisite comparative case studies, which enhance the generalisability of findings beyond the context of the studied trusts.
We explicitly studied cases of non-adoption and discontinuation after initial adoption to provide important learning often missing from innovation diffusion research.
On limitations, we were not able to follow implementation past the end of August 2010 and therefore do not have information on routinised use of the implemented technologies.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000872
PMCID: PMC3329608  PMID: 22492183
21.  Clinical Cancer Advances 2008: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention, and Screening—A Report From the American Society of Clinical Oncology 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;27(5):812-826.
A MESSAGE FROM ASCO'S PRESIDENT
Nearly 40 years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, mobilizing the country's resources to make the “conquest of cancer a national crusade.” That declaration led to a major investment in cancer research that has significantly improved cancer prevention, treatment, and survival. As a result, two thirds of people diagnosed with cancer today will live at least 5 years after diagnosis, compared with just half in the 1970s. In addition, there are now more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States—up from 3 million in 1971.
Scientifically, we have never been in a better position to advance cancer treatment. Basic scientific research, fueled in recent years by the tools of molecular biology, has generated unprecedented knowledge of cancer development. We now understand many of the cellular pathways that can lead to cancer. We have learned how to develop drugs that block those pathways; increasingly, we know how to personalize therapy to the unique genetics of the tumor and the patient.
Yet in 2008, 1.4 million people in the United States will still be diagnosed with cancer, and more than half a million will die as a result of the disease. Some cancers remain stubbornly resistant to treatment, whereas others cannot be detected until they are in their advanced, less curable stages. Biologically, the cancer cell is notoriously wily; each time we throw an obstacle in its path, it finds an alternate route that must then be blocked.
To translate our growing basic science knowledge into better treatments for patients, a new national commitment to cancer research is urgently needed. However, funding for cancer research has stagnated. The budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute have failed to keep pace with inflation, declining up to 13% in real terms since 2004. Tighter budgets reduce incentives to support high-risk research that could have the largest payoffs. The most significant clinical research is conducted increasingly overseas. In addition, talented young physicians in the United States, seeing less opportunity in the field of oncology, are choosing other specialties instead.
Although greater investment in research is critical, the need for new therapies is only part of the challenge. Far too many people in the United States lack access to the treatments that already exist, leading to unnecessary suffering and death. Uninsured cancer patients are significantly more likely to die than those with insurance, racial disparities in cancer incidence and mortality remain stark, and even insured patients struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of cancer therapies.
As this annual American Society of Clinical Oncology report of the major cancer research advances during the last year demonstrates, we are making important progress against cancer. But sound public policies are essential to accelerate that progress. In 2009, we have an opportunity to reinvest in cancer research, and to support policies that will help ensure that every individual in the United States receives potentially life-saving cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Sincerely, Richard L. Schilsky, MD President American Society of Clinical Oncology
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.21.2134
PMCID: PMC2645086  PMID: 19103723
22.  How research funding agencies support science integration into policy and practice: An international overview 
Background
Funding agencies constitute one essential pillar for policy makers, researchers and health service delivery institutions. Such agencies are increasingly providing support for science implementation. In this paper, we investigate health research funding agencies and how they support the integration of science into policy, and of science into practice, and vice versa.
Methods
We selected six countries: Australia, The Netherlands, France, Canada, England and the United States. For 13 funding agencies, we compared their intentions to support, their actions related to science integration into policy and practice, and the reported benefits of this integration. We did a qualitative content analysis of the reports and information provided on the funding agencies’ websites.
Results
Most funding agencies emphasized the importance of science integration into policy and practice in their strategic orientation, and stated how this integration was structured. Their funding activities were embedded in the push, pull, or linkage/exchange knowledge transfer model. However, few program funding efforts were based on all three models. The agencies reported more often on the benefits of integration on practice, rather than on policy. External programs that were funded largely covered science integration into policy and practice at the end of grant stage, while overlooking the initial stages. Finally, external funding actions were more prominent than internally initiated bridging activities and training activities on such integration.
Conclusions
This paper contributes to research on science implementation because it goes beyond the two community model of researchers versus end users, to include funding agencies. Users of knowledge may be end users in health organizations like hospitals; civil servants assigned to decision making positions within funding agencies; civil servants outside of the Ministry of Health, such as the Ministry of the Environment; politicians deciding on health-related legislation; or even university researchers whose work builds on previous research. This heterogeneous sample of users may require different user-specific mechanisms for research initiation, development and dissemination. This paper builds the foundation for further discussion on science implementation from the perspective of funding agencies in the health field. In general, case studies can help in identifying best practices for evidence-informed decision making.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-28
PMCID: PMC3939639  PMID: 24565209
Knowledge management system; Knowledge funding agencies; Knowledge use/utilization; International; Science; Policy; Funding agency
23.  Implementation Science for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS 
Implementation science is the scientific study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence-based interventions into healthcare policy and practice and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. Implementation science is distinguished from monitoring and evaluation by its emphasis on the use of the scientific method. The origins of implementation science include operations research, industrial engineering, and management science. Today, implementation science encompasses a broader range of methods and skills including decision science and operations research, health systems research, health outcomes research, health and behavioral economics, epidemiology, statistics, organization and management science, finance, policy analysis, anthropology, sociology, and ethics. Examples of implementation science research are presented for HIV prevention (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, male circumcision) and HIV and drug use (syringe distribution, treating drug users with antiretroviral therapy (ART) and opioid substitution therapy). For implementation science to become an established field in HIV/AIDS research, there needs to be better coordination between funders of research and funders of program delivery and greater consensus on scientific research approaches and standards of evidence.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181f9c1da
PMCID: PMC3058234  PMID: 21045596
24.  Public health research systems in the European union 
Background
Strengthening health research is an important objective for international health organisations, but there has been less attention to support for health research in Europe. We describe the public-health (population and organisational level) research systems in the 27 European Union countries.
Methods
We developed a typology for describing health research structures based on funding streams and strategies. We drew data from internet sources and asked country informants to review these for consistency and completeness. The structures were described as organograms and narratives in country profiles for each of the 27 EU member states. National public-health research structures included public and independent funding organisations, 'mixed' institutions (which receive funds, and both use and allocate them) and provider institutions.
Results
Most health research is funded through ministries of science or science councils (and sometimes foundations), while parliaments and regions may also contribute. National institutes of public health are usually funded by ministries of health. Many national research organisations both determine research programmes and undertake health research, but there is a move towards public-health sciences within the universities, and a transition from internal grants to competitive funding. Of 27 national research strategies, 17 referred to health and 11 to public health themes. Although all countries had strategies for public health itself, we found little coherence in public-health research programmes. The European Commission has country contact points for both EU research and health programmes, but they do not coordinate with national health-research programmes.
Conclusions
Public-health research is broadly distributed across programmes in EU countries. Better understanding of research structures, programmes and results would improve recognition for public health in Europe, and contribute to practice. EU ministries of health should give greater attention to national public-health research strategies and programmes, and the European Union and the World Health Organisation can provide coordination and support.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-9-38
PMCID: PMC3215171  PMID: 21970897
25.  United States Private-Sector Physicians and Pharmaceutical Contract Research: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001271.
Jill Fisher and Corey Kalbaugh describe their findings from a qualitative research study evaluating the motivations of private-sector physicians conducting contract research for the pharmaceutical industry.
Background
There have been dramatic increases over the past 20 years in the number of nonacademic, private-sector physicians who serve as principal investigators on US clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. However, there has been little research on the implications of these investigators' role in clinical investigation. Our objective was to study private-sector clinics involved in US pharmaceutical clinical trials to understand the contract research arrangements supporting drug development, and specifically how private-sector physicians engaged in contract research describe their professional identities.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a qualitative study in 2003–2004 combining observation at 25 private-sector research organizations in the southwestern United States and 63 semi-structured interviews with physicians, research staff, and research participants at those clinics. We used grounded theory to analyze and interpret our data. The 11 private-sector physicians who participated in our study reported becoming principal investigators on industry clinical trials primarily because contract research provides an additional revenue stream. The physicians reported that they saw themselves as trial practitioners and as businesspeople rather than as scientists or researchers.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that in addition to having financial motivation to participate in contract research, these US private-sector physicians have a professional identity aligned with an industry-based approach to research ethics. The generalizability of these findings and whether they have changed in the intervening years should be addressed in future studies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Before a new drug can be used routinely by physicians, it must be investigated in clinical trials—studies that test the drug's safety and effectiveness in people. In the past, clinical trials were usually undertaken in academic medical centers (institutes where physicians provide clinical care, do research, and teach), but increasingly, clinical trials are being conducted in the private sector as part of a growing contract research system. In the US, for example, most clinical trials completed in the 1980s took place in academic medical centers, but nowadays, more than 70% of trials are conducted by nonacademic (community) physicians working under contract to pharmaceutical companies. The number of private-sector nonacademic physicians serving as principal investigators (PIs) for US clinical trials (the PI takes direct responsibility for completion of the trial) increased from 4,000 in 1990 to 20,250 in 2010, and research contracts for clinical trials are now worth more than USṩ11 billion annually.
Why Was This Study Done?
To date, there has been little research on the implications of this change in the conduct of clinical trials. Academic PIs are often involved in both laboratory and clinical research and are therefore likely to identify closely with the science of trials. By contrast, nonacademic PIs may see clinical trials more as a business opportunity—pharmaceutical contract research is profitable to US physicians because they get paid for every step of the trial process. As a result, pharmaceutical companies may now have more control over clinical trial data and more opportunities to suppress negative data through selective publication of study results than previously. In this qualitative study, the researchers explore the outsourcing of clinical trials to private-sector research clinics through observations of, and in-depth interviews with, physicians and other research staff involved in the US clinical trials industry. A qualitative study collects non-quantitative data such as how physicians feel about doing contract research and about their responsibilities to their patients.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between October 2003 and September 2004, the researchers observed the interactions between PIs, trial coordinators (individuals who undertake many of the trial activities such as blood collection), and trial participants at 25 US research organizations in the southwestern US and interviewed 63 informants (including 12 PIs) about the trials they were involved in and their reasons for becoming involved. The researchers found that private-sector physicians became PIs on industry-sponsored clinical trials primarily because contract research was financially lucrative. The physicians perceived their roles in terms of business rather than science and claimed that they offered something to the pharmaceutical industry that academics do not—the ability to carry out a diverse range of trials quickly and effectively, regardless of their medical specialty. Finally, the physicians saw their primary ethical responsibility as providing accurate data to the companies that hired them and did not explicitly refer to their ethical responsibility to trial participants. One possible reason for this shift in ethical concerns is the belief among private-sector physicians that pharmaceutical companies must be making scientifically and ethically sound decisions when designing trials because of the amount of money they invest in them.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that private-sector physicians participate as PIs in pharmaceutical clinical trials primarily for financial reasons and see themselves as trial practitioners and businesspeople rather than as scientists. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be limited by the small number of PIs interviewed and by the time that has elapsed since the researchers collected their qualitative data. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to other regions of the US or to other countries. Nevertheless, they have potentially troubling implications for drug development. By hiring private-sector physicians who see themselves as involved more with the business than the science of contract research, pharmaceutical companies may be able to exert more control over the conduct of clinical trials and the publication of trial results than previously. Compared to the traditional investigatorinitiated system of clinical research, this new system of contract research means that clinical trials now lack the independence that is at the heart of best science practices, a development that casts doubt on the robustness of the knowledge being produced about the safety and effectiveness of new drugs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001271.
The ClinicalTrials.gov website is a searchable register of federally and privately supported clinical trials in the US; it provides information about all aspects of clinical trials
The US National Institutes of Health provides information about clinical trials, including personal stories about clinical trials from patients and researchers
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information for patients about clinical trials and medical research, including personal stories about participating in clinical trials
The UK Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit also provides information for patients about clinical trials and links to information on clinical trials provided by other organizations
MedlinePlus has links to further resources on clinical trials (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001271
PMCID: PMC3404112  PMID: 22911055

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