Introduction: There is recognition among public health scholars and community practitioners that translating cancer prevention and control research into practice is challenging. This circumstance is particularly germane to medically underserved communities, such as rural Appalachia, where few evidence-based interventions originate and cancer incidence and mortality are elevated.
Methods: A case study approach was selected to examine the collective experience of 13 West Virginia community organizations awarded mini-grants requiring the use of an evidence-based cancer control intervention. Methods included a systematic review of grant applications and final programmatic reports, a faxed survey, and qualitative, in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.
Results: Appalachian grantees reported notable challenges with selecting, adapting, and implementing evidence-based cancer education interventions. Evidence-based programming was viewed as a barrier. Grantees made a range of adaptations to meet constituent needs, thereby jeopardizing intervention fidelity. However, programs were perceived as successful due to community participation and engagement, some element of behavioral change, dissemination of the health message, and establishment of collaborative partnerships.
Conclusions: A descriptive examination provides insights into the challenges of translating research to practice. This Appalachian cancer education grant program also highlights areas of compromise that are important for researchers and practitioners to understand.