Implementation science is the study of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of health program selection, delivery, and uptake—in order to bridge the gap between proven interventions and clinical/community practices in real-world settings. The overall goal of implementation science is to advance the adoption and integration of evidence-based interventions and change practice patterns. Interdisciplinary methods utilized can include monitoring and evaluation, operations research, mathematical modeling, impact evaluation, and comparative effectiveness research, in order to identify the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to implementation and operational problems. Implementation science examines all points on the causal pathway from program to impact.
In this two-day workshop, participants learned how to apply an implementation science framework to improve HIV prevention, treatment and care programs. Drawing faculty from academia, international institutions, and government agencies and a number of disciplines (from epidemiology to social, economic and management sciences), this workshop gave participants the benefit of a variety of perspectives.
Day 1: Implementation Research and Program Science
The first day of the workshop focused on program selection, delivery, and coverage. It specifically addressed implementation challenges for prevention of mother-to-child transmission, linkage to care, retention in care, testing and counseling, and prevention interventions. The purpose was to review state-of-the-science in these domains, discuss important next steps for research and practice, and identify high-priority research gaps.
The afternoon session focused on strategic approaches to coverage expansion and scale-up, and their role in maximizing population impact and return on investment of STI/HIV prevention programs.
Day 2: Impact Evaluation
The second day presented methods for causal attribution of clinical, economic, and socio-behavioral outcomes to a specific program. Faculty discussed “gold standard” randomization approaches and quasi-experimental designs, which allow for attribution even when randomization is not feasible. In the afternoon, participants broke into small groups to discuss impact evaluation in the context of specific topics related to HIV prevention, treatment and care.
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