Dissemination and Implementation Science Approaches for Occupational Safety and Health Research: Implications for Advancing Total Worker Health

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 21;18(21):11050. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111050.


Total Worker Health® (TWH), an initiative of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related health and safety hazards by promoting efforts that advance worker well-being. Interventions that apply the TWH paradigm improve workplace health more rapidly than wellness programs alone. Evidence of the barriers and facilitators to the adoption, implementation, and long-term maintenance of TWH programs is limited. Dissemination and implementation (D&I) science, the study of methods and strategies for bridging the gap between public health research and practice, can help address these system-, setting-, and worker-level factors to increase the uptake, impact, and sustainment of TWH activities. The purpose of this paper is to draw upon a synthesis of existing D&I science literature to provide TWH researchers and practitioners with: (1) an overview of D&I science; (2) a plain language explanation of key concepts in D&I science; (3) a case study example of moving a TWH intervention down the research-to-practice pipeline; and (4) a discussion of future opportunities for conducting D&I science in complex and dynamic workplace settings to increase worker safety, health, and well-being.

Keywords: Total Worker Health; dissemination and implementation science; evidence-based interventions; health equity; occupational safety and health; translational science.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion
  • Implementation Science
  • Occupational Health*
  • Public Health
  • Workplace