Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Health Funders Forum: Creating Opportunities and Breaking Down Barriers to Adoption


Private foundations that support health related projects have a wide range of missions and resources. Increasingly, these foundations seek to ensure that their initiatives are grounded in rigorous evidence. The bulk of their investments have supported the development and testing of new and innovative health services, public health practices and clinical interventions. Few invest in initiatives designed to foster translation, integration and dissemination of proven models. Those that do, often find that these efforts require much more time and resources than anticipated.

As a result, even the most effective and promising discoveries fail to reach widespread adoption. Evidence-based “best practices” still take an average of 17 years to have an impact in the real world of health care delivery. To shorten the gap between the generation and adoption of proven interventions, several Foundations are turning their attention to gaining a better understanding of the forces that move new knowledge into action.

Although there is an increasing number of stakeholders addressing the adoption of drugs and medical devices, including academic technology transfer offices, pharma companies, venture investors and organizations such as Faster Cures, there is far less attention paid to the adoption of innovations focused on individual and system change. Even less is understood about the mechanisms to accelerate and ensure the uptake of research into the world of health practice, policy, and consumer behavior.


The purpose of this funders’ forum is to bring together a group of private health funders to:

  • Gain and share information on established and emerging conceptual and theoretical models related to adoption (E.g. Roger’s innovation/diffusion theory, Implementation Science, the role of interactive media, etc.)
  • Explore the definitions, perceived value and use of research “evidence” to inform funding decisions
  • Review successful examples from realms of new knowledge adoption (e.g. agriculture/IT/education and discuss their applicability to health)
  • Share individual foundation learnings, strategies and challenges in being effective in this area
  • Identify attributes and examples of success in adoption in the health realm
  • Identify opportunities for cross foundation collaboration to promote adoption of proven approaches to health care.


  • Identify major facilitators and barriers to research translation
  • Understand how funders provide opportunities for and create barriers to adoption
  • Identify the potential to collaborate with sister funders and other sectors to speed and leverage adoption
  • Propose/recommend ways that funders can be more effective in advancing adoption of health innovations

1 comment:

  1. Dear Colleagues - Thanks for putting together this conference and this innovative approach to preparation. I'm sure that having this mechanism to share ideas and get oriented in advance will make our time more productive.

    Chris Langston, John A. Hartford Foundation