Purpose: This article illustrates the process by which the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (www.NationalDentalPBRN.org) fosters collaboration among practitioners and researchers in study concept development through protocol development groups (PODs). The Southwest Region begins this process by engaging PODs, which comprise dentists, hygienists, and/or academic faculty who share research interests related to improving dental care.
Method: The PODs use the Tuckman four-stage model of group development (forming, storming, norming, and performing) to develop study concepts. This well-structured model encourages engagement among group members and enables quality discussion through organized sessions. This model provides milestones for the group's progression and for the members' interactions. The Southwest Region Directors play a crucial role in guiding and directing the development of PODs by aligning the members' research interests with the goals of the National Network.
Results: POD engagement using Tuckman's stages has been successful in developing study concepts for submission to the National Network. Between 2012 and 2014, the Southwest Region has developed 14 PODs from 275 research ideas. Five of these study concepts have been submitted to the National Network for approval, including the Novel Tobacco Products POD, which showcases the applicability of Tuckman's model.
Conclusion: Overall, the POD concept is a collaborative effort that brings together practitioners and academicians through shared research interests and capitalizes on participants' expertise and experiences. The Southwest Region will continue to develop PODs to foster new ideas for future studies in the Network.
Keywords: collaboration; engagement; health research; oral health; partnerships/coalitions; practice-based; practitioner; protocol development; research design.
© 2016 Society for Public Health Education.