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Welcome to the First SISN Newsletter

Dear Readers, 

I am delighted to bring you SISN's first newsletter which includes an update on the Society’s recent activities and a round-up of some of the key events, news and research in implementation science (IS).

Firstly, I would like to thank our founding members for their continued support and also extend a warm welcome to the very many new members who have recently joined us and those currently in the process of joining. This is a very exciting time for IS and for the Society - we are rapidly gaining momentum and the Society is developing initiatives that can leverage the skills (and passion) of our membership to provide clearer and more tangible knowledge on how best to support efforts to radically scale-up nutrition.

July 13th was an important milestone for the Society with the publication of the Lazio Declaration. The declaration represents the culmination of the tireless efforts of many of the Society's Board and Founding Members and highlights the critical nature of the current situation and why we need to put IS squarely on the map.

July was also when we received feedback from a number of key nutrition stakeholders on the first draft of the Society’s Strategic Plan. We can now announce that, thanks to the inclusion of their expert and extremely valuable input, this is now available for everyone to read on our website here. The 2016-20 Strategic Plan forms the bedrock of the Society’s operations and outlines the framework and values under which the Society can, and will, deliver against its numerous strategic goals to move the IS agenda forward.

Our g
oals have been prioritized and a number of Working Groups have already been set up to develop and execute plans on how they will be delivered. The Working Groups are currently led by Board members with some Founding Member involvement, but we are now inviting participation from the wider membership to support us in delivering on these goals. The first opportunity for which is to join our Communications Working Group (see details below). We look forward to hearing from you if you are interested in becoming involved and will be posting details of opportunities to join other Working Groups very soon.

Multi-sectoral engagement is key to the success of the Society and an opportunity for such engagement is coming up in October at the Micronutrient Forum in Cancun. Many of the Board will be present at the Forum and the Society is hosting two sessions (full details of which are below). If you are attending then we look forward to meeting you and welcome your attendance at, and participation in, the SISN sessions. 

As the first of our quarterly newsletters, this edition is very much a starting point in our communications activity, but as we gain support, swell membership and raise awareness of the Society’s mission the newsletter content and frequency will expand accordingly. The newsletter is one of a range of channels that we are starting to use to foster engagement and highlight key developments in IS (and how they might best be leveraged). The website has been up and running for some time but you will start to see changes over the coming months. The Society is also now active on LinkedIn which, as well as being a vital channel for knowledge dissemination and about creating visibility for the Society, is also an important platform for facilitating connection between members. Hence we ask that you please take a moment go to the LinkedIn page and 'follow' us to link to the Society and then use the page to stay abreast of Society updates between newsletters, form connections with other members and also to encourage your peers to follow us.

Thank you for your support. 

Dr David Pelletier,
SISN President, 2016-17

Leading scientists and nutrition professionals meet in Gandolfo, Italy, in February 2015 to establish the Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition (SISN). 

In This Newsletter

SISN Upcoming Events

SISN's Communication and Fundraising Officer, Luz-Maria de Regil will be speaking about implementation research (IR) at the 7th African Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC), 9-14 October 2016, Marrakesh, Morocco. 

SISN will host two sessions at the Micronutrient Forum Global Conference, 24-28 October 2016, Cancun, Mexico:
Plenary session 13 (Friday Oct 28th, 8:30-10:00)  Implementation science in nutrition: purposes, forms, functions and country examples.
Drawing from the broader literature on IS the session will present a general schema for IS as applied to nutrition. Examples of IR in practice will be provided from India, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Ghana to illustrate the range of research approaches applied to address different implementation issues and to share experiences of how the findings have been used to improve coverage, adherence, quality and/or equity.
Symposium session sponsored by SISN & Sight and Life (Monday Oct 24th, 14:00-15:30)  Implementation research to improve implementation outcomes (coverage, adherence, quality, and equity) of micronutrient/nutrition programs and policies.
The symposium will examine the challenges and opportunities for embracing IR and experiential knowledge from the perspective of stakeholders who are both producers and users of evidence.   

Resource Round-Up
A summary of relevant news, research, resources and events in IR/IS in nutrition and other sectors (where the knowledge is transferable). 

Who's Talking About IR?

Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2016 “From Promise to Impact”. A key finding of this year's Report is "the need to dramatically strengthen the implementation of both policies and programs". The report calls for decisive action to analyse discrepancies between coverage rates achieved by different countries, in order that better practices might be adopted more widely and bottlenecks that impede nutrition implementation can be identified and addressed. Chapter 5 of the Report is dedicated to 'Taking Action' and discusses the progress and challenges for implementation of nutrition policy and programs. The GNR is an annual report that tracks commitments and achievements to reducing malnutrition in all its forms. 

USAID issues RFA for IS in Bangladesh. On July 15 2016, USAID issued an RFA (now closed) for activity in Strengthening Multi-sectoral Nutrition Programming Through Implementation Science  with the objective of conducting “multi-year, mixed method research studies that may be experimental in design or using non-experimental methods, related primarily to advancing implementation of nutrition programs”. Specifically the RFA seeks research to test interventions to define “core essential, realistic and sustainable interventions required to most significantly reduce stunting” (Black et al., Lancet, 2013).

RFAs such as this are critical for advancing the IR knowledge portfolio and SISN calls to its members to advocate for IR in order to influence donors to issue more RFAs of a similar nature.

UNSCN Strategic Plan 2016-20 Learn more about the UNSCN strategy which includes advocacy for engagement and investment in nutrition and accelerating knowledge exchange and dialogue across UN sectors. Although IR is not specifically mentioned, IR domains (such as cross-sector learning and exchange, program guidance, and effectiveness) are embedded in their strategy. 

The first U.S. Government Coordination Plan for improving global nutrition outlines how US government resources will be applied more effectively to increase impact and accelerate progress on shared nutrition goals. The purpose of the Plan is to strengthen the impact of the many diverse nutrition investments across the U.S. Government through better communication, collaboration and linking research to program implementation.


IR Primer: 

Commentaries, Debates and Editorials

A modified theoretical framework to assess implementation fidelity of adaptive public health interventions. Pérez, D., Van der Stuyft, P., Zabala,M.C., Castro, M., & Lefèvre, P. (2016). Implement Sci., Jul 8;11(1):91.

Improving results for nutrition: a commentary on an agenda and the need for implementation research. Garrett, J. L. (2008). The Journal of Nutrition, 138(3), 646-650. 

In this well-argued commentary, Garrett makes a compelling case for why IR is essential in nutrition research. He notes that "to improve results for nutrition, the nutrition research community needs to go beyond ‘‘what’’ works to understand ‘‘how’’ it works. If they do not, "nutrition research risks becoming irrelevant to the needs of those who actually make policies and implement programs".

Implementation research in health: a practical guide.
Peters, D. H., Tran, N. T., & Adam, T. (2014). World Health Organization.

This is an excellent resource guide for scientists and implementers. Although it is written for a health audience, the concepts are fully applicable to nutrition. The first half of the Guide examines concepts and definitions for IR, and the second half examines study design, research questions, and implementation outcomes. This practical guide really is a must-have resource for anyone doing or wanting to learn more about IR. 

Infusing Science into Politics and Policy: The Importance of Legislators as an Audience in Mental Health Policy Dissemination Research. Purple, J., Brownson, R.C. , & Proctor, E.K. (2016). Adm Policy Ment Health.
How to get politicians to listen to science? This article examines the application of dissemination research to advocate for increased budget and informed policy decisions in mental health in the U.S.. 

Research, Case-studies, and Assessments

Understanding implementation and feasibility of tobacco cessation in routine primary care in Nepal: a mixed methods study. Elsey, H., Khanal, S., Manandhar, S., Sah, D., Baral, S.C., Siddiqi, K. & Newell, J.N. (2016). Implement Sci.
In this study, scientists explore the implementation of a behavior support intervention for tobacco cessation. The authors apply the normalization process theory to explore the challenges to implement this intervention in primary care settings in Nepal. Although it deals with tobacco, this mix-method study has many translatable learnings for nutrition interventions. 

Piloting a commercial model for fortified rice: Lessons learned from Brazil. 
Milani, P., Spohrer, R., Garrett, G., & Kreis, K. (2016). Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 
Milani et al., provide an excellent narrative on implementing rice fortification in Brazil. This article gives a 360-degree overview of the policy, institutional, private sector, and consumer issues. Milani et al. conclude - “Food fortification is a proven intervention to increase essential micronutrient availability in diets without requiring consumer behavioral change. Fortification of rice has high potential reach; however, cost, technology, market, and cultural constraints have prevented its wider adoption.”

This Fogarty article highlights IS application in eliminating pediatric HIV and links to 16 open-access articles.

The roles of system and organizational leadership in system-wide evidence-based intervention sustainment: A mixed-method study. Aarons, G.A., Green, A.E., Trott, E., Willging, C.E., Torres, E.M., Ehrhart, M.G. , & Roesch, S.C. (2016). Adm Policy Ment Health. 

The role of researchers in disseminating evidence to public health practice settings: a cross-sectional study.
 McVay, A.B, Stamatakis, A.K, Jacobs, J.A., Tabak, R.G. , & Brownson, R.C. (2016). Health Res Policy Syst. 14: 42.
Uptake and usability of evidence into public health setting - a concern everywhere! In this insightful study, McVay et al., survey American scientists to find out who is sharing their research findings with public health practice sector. 

Implementation research for the control of infectious diseases of poverty- strengthening the evidence base for the access and delivery of new and improved tools, strategies and interventions. World Health Organization (2011).
A sophisticated 156 pages report giving very specific details of ‘how to’  increase access to health interventions via strengthening health systems, improving patient safety, expanding community-based interventions and local implementation capacity, and improving the outcomes of public-private partnerships and global health initiatives. 

Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks. Nilsen, P. (2015). Implement Sci, 10(1),1. 
Nilsen offers a taxonomy for distinguishing between categories of theories, models and frameworks in IS. He discusses the differences among process models, determinant frameworks, and evaluation frameworks. 

Operational research as implementation science: definitions, challenges and research priorities. Monks, T. (2016). Implement Sci. Jun 6;11(1):81.
A concise overview, along with case studies, on the applications of operations research to IS.  

The Adaptome: Advancing the science of intervention adaptation. Chambers, D.A. , &  Norton, W.E.(2016). Am J Prev Med. pii: S0749-3797(16)30181-7.
A key outcome for implementation research is fidelity of implementation. But implementing an intervention in a new context requires adaptation, which poses challenges for fidelity. Chambers et al., “argue for the development of strategies to advance the science of adaptation in the context of implementation that would more comprehensively describe the needed fit between interventions and their settings…”

Do you have any soon-to-be released peer-reviewed articles that you want to share? We are happy to post them in our 'New Releases' Section. Please send a link to PubMed or to the journal webpage, along with a 1-2 sentence descriptor as to the article’s relevance to IR/IS to

Funding Opportunities 

Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (R01). The National Institutes of Health have put out a call for proposals for Dissemination and Implementation Research. NIH welcome grant applications that will “identify, develop, test, evaluate and/or refine strategies to disseminate and implement evidence-based practices (e.g. behavioral interventions; prevention, early detection, diagnostic, treatment and disease management interventions; quality improvement programs) into public health, clinical practice, and community settings. In addition, studies to advance dissemination and implementation research methods and measures are encouraged”. Foreign institutions are eligible to apply. Cycle III due date is October 5.


National Institute of Cancer offer an interesting range of webinars on IS.

Get Involved

Expert communication is central to the Society’s strategy and there is now an opportunity for a member to become involved as a key asset in the Communications Working Group. This is a great opportunity to network and stay abreast of the latest advancements in implementation research and practice.
The Working Group consists of four board member and Communications Consultants and has a mandate that includes:
  • Advising the Board on Communications and overseeing/guiding the development and delivery of the communications strategy and activities conducted by the Communications Consultant
  • Ensuring the Society is at the forefront of the IS/IR nutrition agenda and collates and disseminates high quality, relevant information via the appropriate channels
  • Supporting content development for specified channels (including Social Media) e.g. highlighting key initiatives, data, events, supporting with technical briefs, etc..
Current channels include the newsletter, LinkedIn and the website with Twitter to be added in due course. 

We need about 6 hours of your time per month in a voluntary capacity (non-paid position). Your responsibilities would include:
  • Participation in teleconference of 1 hour, bi-weekly
  • Written material review and developing by-lines for web media (1-3 hours per month)
  • Technical content for blogs or website (1-2 hours per month).
Skills required: 
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Collaborative, strong team player
  • Literacy with IR content.
What Next?
We encourage members with the skills and passion for advancing IR to apply. Apply now to by forwarding an up-to-date copy of your CV along with a supporting statement by September 23rd 2016. 

Upcoming Dates and Events - 2016

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