Navigating the road ahead: public health challenges and the interactive systems framework for dissemination and implementation

Am J Community Psychol. 2012 Dec;50(3-4):572-80. doi: 10.1007/s10464-012-9534-6.


Public health is currently faced with an array of critical challenges and disconnects. Research and evaluation have identified a number of evidence-based strategies for effecting behavior change at individual, group, organizational, and environmental levels, all of which hold promise for leading to substantial reductions in morbidity and mortality, and increased quality of life. Unfortunately, there is huge variability across the public health system in awareness of the value of using evidence to inform decision making, let alone in capacity to locate, assess, compare, select, justify, adapt, implement, and evaluate evidence-based strategies, or to participate in building the evidence base for practice-based innovations. As a result, many communities may not be benefitting from research-tested and practice-based strategies that could help them to meet their public health goals more efficiently and effectively. CDC's Interactive Systems Framework for Dissemination and Implementation (ISF), released in 2008, was designed to help close this gap between research and practice. This commentary identifies the ways in which the ISF framework is useful in addressing the research practice gap; revisits the elements of the framework that have continued to guide research and practice in fruitful ways; and highlights areas that need further development to meet current public health challenges.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Public Health / methods*
  • United States