Dissemination of public health research to prevent non-communicable diseases: a scoping review

Apr 24, 2023 | Turon

BACKGROUND: Dissemination is a critical element of the knowledge translation pathway, and a necessary step to ensure research evidence is adopted and implemented by key end users in order to improve health outcomes. However, evidence-based guidance to inform dissemination activities in research is limited. This scoping review aimed to identify and describe the scientific literature examining strategies to disseminate public health evidence related to the prevention of non-communicable diseases. METHODS: Medline, PsycInfo and EBSCO Search Ultimate were searched in May 2021 for studies published between January 2000 and the search date that reported on the dissemination of evidence to end users of public health evidence, within the context of the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Studies were synthesised according to the four components of Brownson and colleagues’ Model for Dissemination of Research (source, message, channel and audience), as well as by study design. RESULTS: Of the 107 included studies, only 14% (n = 15) directly tested dissemination strategies using experimental designs. The remainder primarily reported on dissemination preferences of different populations, or outcomes such as awareness, knowledge and intentions to adopt following evidence dissemination. Evidence related to diet, physical activity and/or obesity prevention was the most disseminated topic. Researchers were the source of disseminated evidence in over half the studies, and study findings/knowledge summaries were more frequently disseminated as the message compared to guidelines or an evidence-based program/intervention. A broad range of dissemination channels were utilised, although peer-reviewed publications/conferences and presentations/workshops predominated. Practitioners were the most commonly reported target audience. CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant gap in the peer reviewed literature, with few experimental studies published that analyse and evaluate the effect of different sources, messages and target audiences on the determinants of uptake of public health evidence for prevention. Such studies are important as they can help inform and improve the effectiveness of current and future dissemination practices in public health contexts.

PubMed Abstract

Turon, H., Wolfenden, L., Finch, M., McCrabb, S., Naughton, S., O'Connor, S. R., . . . Yoong, S. L. (2023). Dissemination of public health research to prevent non-communicable diseases: a scoping review. BMC Public Health, 23(1), 757. doi:10.1186/s12889-023-15622-x